How do selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors work

by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR

Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.

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Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are used to treat depression as well as other conditions.

They are often used to treat chronic pain disorders such as fibromyalgia.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, also known as SSRIs work by correcting chemical imbalances in the brain. Chemicals called neurotransmitters carry signals from one nerve cell to another. These chemicals are constantly being released from one nerve cell, then taken back up at the ends of another.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors act on one particular neurotransmitter, serotonin, reducing its re-entry into nerve cells and thus allowing serotonin to build up. Serotonin is involved in the control of moods, as well as other functions such as sleep, body temperature, and appetite for sweets and other carbohydrates.

Withdrawal effects may occur if SSRI's stopped suddenly after several weeks of continuous use.

SSRIs may impair performance of tasks requiring skill and coordination

Examples of available SSRI drugs include Paxil , Prozac, Celexa, Lexapro and Zoloft.

Newer SSNIs- drugs that block reuptake of both serotonin as well as nor-epinephrine may be more effective for fibromyalgia.

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