Asentra – medicine for depression treatment
Asentra is a drug that contains an active substance called sertraline. It belongs to the group of antidepressants (medicines used to treat depression) called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI).
It is used to treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social phobia, as well as to relieve stress after trauma.
- Asentra should be avoided in patients who are allergic to the active substance sertraline or other similar drugs.
- It should be avoided in combination with other drugs used for the treatment of depression known as MAO inhibitors, such as:
- tranylcypromine, and others. Concomitant use with these medications can cause very dangerous serotonin syndrome. Symptoms of serotonin syndrome include:
- irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia),
- high blood pressure,
- unconsciousness and others. These symptoms usually occur a few hours after Asentra intake. If you are experiencing any of abovementioned symptoms, contact your doctor immediately. If you are already taking some of the MAO inhibitors, you should stop using these medicines at least two weeks before you start taking Asentra.
- This drug should be avoided in the following condition:
- Schizophrenia. This medication may worsen condition in these patients.
- Patients with bleeding.
- Low level of sodium in the blood (hyponatremia).
- In patients under the age of 18, except for the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
- Liver disorders.
Do not stop using this drug suddenly. You will need to gradually reduce the dose of Asentra. If you suddenly stop using Asentra, “withdrawal syndrome” may occur. Symptoms of withdrawal syndrome include:
- vomiting and others.
These symptoms may be very serious, and therefore you should stop using this medicine in the way recommended by doctor.
Use during pregnancy and breastfeeding
According to the US Agency for Food and Drug Administration, Asentra belongs to the group C (FDA: Group C). This means that animal studies have shown adverse effects on fetus, but there are no studies on humans. It can be used during pregnancy only if the benefit to the mother outweighs the risk to the child.
It is excreted in breast milk in low concentrations. Despite that it is advised to avoid breastfeeding while using Asentra. Instead of breast milk, you can give your baby formula milk.
- It is found in the form of pills at a dose of Asentra 50 mg and 100 mg.
- It should be taken regardless of food, once a day (in the morning or in the evening).
- Initial dose used for the treatment of depression and obsessive compulsive disorders, is a 50 mg once a day. Dose may be gradually increased until you reach desired effect. It is always advisable to use the smallest dose that is effective for the patients. The maximum daily dose is 200 mg.
- Asentra dose in treatment of panic attacks, is 25 mg once a day.
- Keep in mind that it will take at least 10 days for the drug to begin working.
- Treatment with this drug is usually long-term and should last for several months.
- If you need to stop using medication, it is necessary to do so gradually reducing the dose.
- Example: If you are taking 75 mg per day, first it is necessary to reduce the dose to 50 mg per day. Then, you will need to take 50 mg for 7-10 days. After that, it is necessary to reduce the dose to 25 mg per day. Then, 25 mg should be taken for 7-10 days. After that you will need to reduce the dose to 12.5 mg per day. Dose of 12.5 mg should be used for another 7-10 days and finally you may completely stop using Asentra.
- If you suddenly stop using Asentra, withdrawal syndrome may develop.
Use with other drugs (Interactions)
It should be avoided in combination with the following drugs:
- MAO inhibitors, medicines used to treat depression, such as:
- phenelzine and others. Concomitant use with these drugs may cause serotonin syndrome (serious condition).
- Pimozide, a medicine used to treat psychiatric disorders. It may increase concentration of pimozide in the blood and can cause adverse effects.
- Warfarin, drug used to treat blood-clotting disorders (blood thinner).
- Lithium, medicine used for the treatment of depression. Concomitant use with lithium increases the risk of side effects.
Tell your doctor about all medications and herbal products you are taking.
Asentra side effects
It may cause the following side effects:
- nausea (occurs frequently),
- irregular heartbeat,
- ejaculatory problems,
- suicidal thoughts,
- slurred speech,
- difficulty urinating,
- weights changes,
- Steven-Johnson syndrome (occurs very rarely),
- allergy and others.
Tell your doctor if you are experiencing any side effects.