Hill Health Magazine
Antidepressants Pack a Pain-Relieving Punch
Q: I have shooting pains and my doctor recommended I take an antidepressant, but I’m not depressed. Why should I take an antidepressant?
A: Many antidepressants have been found to be useful in treating conditions other than depression that involve the nervous system. Conditions such as shooting nerve pain, hot flashes, premenstrual syndrome, fibromyalgia, migraines and even irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) have been shown to improve on antidepressant therapy. Antidepressants interact with messengers called neurotransmitters to regulate the nervous system. The various classes of antidepressants work differently on these neurotransmitters and thus may work better for one condition than another.
Antidepressants that have been used more commonly in these conditions are the tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline, the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as fluoxetine and paroxetine and the dual reuptake inhibitors such as venlafaxine and Cymbalta®.
Katherine Ramos, PharmD