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OCD Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Support Group & Information

OCD Introduction How Common is OCD What Causes OCD? Symptoms of OCD
Other Features of OCD Co-existing Illnesses with OCD Treatment for OCD Getting Help for OCD
Research for OCD Medications for OCD Side effects of OCD Medications Behavior Therapy and OCD
Psycotherapy and OCD Back to Home Page

OCD Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Chat Support Group

Side Effects of OCD Medications

Most any medication will have side effects, especially the medications prescribed for mental health disorder such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, (OCD) and it is quite unusual for a patient not to have one or more from some of the medications.  As with all medications, the patient and mental health care physician should have a discussion and weigh benefits of the drug against the side effects. It is important for the patient to be open and in some cases, forceful, about problems that may be caused by a medication. In some cases, just an adjustment in dosage or switch in time of taking the medication is all that is required.

Some of the medications prescribed for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) commonly produce sexual side effects in both sexes that may range from lowering of sexual drive to delayed ability to have an orgasm to complete inability to have an erection or orgasm. Occasional patients report increased interest in sexual activity.

Even though it may seem embarrassing, you should tell your mental health care physician about sexual difficulties so that he or she can help you figure out how best to deal with them. These side effects are so common that your psychiatrist will not be surprised.  Be honest about the symptoms, these are important factors to your well being.

SSRIs commonly cause nausea, inability to sit still, sleepiness in some individuals, insomnia in others, and a heightened sense of energy. Some tricyclics may cause pronounced effects like drowsiness, dry mouth, racing heart, memory problems, concentration difficulties, and problems with urination (mostly in men).

A side effect not a lot of people are really happy about with some of these medications is weight gain, a strict diet may be a consideration when taking them, and if you continue to gain weight, and it becomes a problem, talk to your doctor, discuss the issues you have and do not be afraid to tell them you do not want to take it anymore if there is another alternative. 

There are many other less common side effects with these drugs that your mental health care physician may discuss with you. As a general rule, these drugs are very safe, even with long term use, and all of the side effects completely reverse when the drugs are stopped; and as far as scientists know, there are no irreversible side effects caused by the standard anti-obsessional drugs. Many patients have used them for years without difficulties. Some of the drugs that are occasionally used such as the antipsychotic (or sometimes called neuroleptic) drugs like haloperidol (Haldol), chlorpromazine (Thorazine), thioridazine (Mellaril), and trifluoperazine (Stelazine) can produce irreversible neurologic problems, such as persistent tremor or tongue thrusting. These drugs are best avoided in patients with the usual forms of OCD; if they are used, it should generally be for only a few weeks. Occasionally, patients need to remain on these potentially troublesome drugs for longer periods of time. If you fear these medications, do NOT be afraid to tell your mental health physician you do. It is YOUR body after all.  Weigh all options.

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