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Flashcards in SSRI Drugs Deck (6)
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What are SSRI drugs and what are they used for?

- Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors are anti-depressants such as Prozac and Fluoxetine.
- SSRI drugs aim to prevent the reuptake of serotonin and prolong its activity in the synapse. This means the person will feel less anxious and have higher level of serotonin available.


How do they work?

- Low levels of serotonin are implicated in the 'worry circuit' where damage to caudate nucleus in the brain fails to suppress minor worry signals and the message is sent to orbital frontal cortex, making anxiety and worrying worse.
- SSRIs that increase serotonin help regulate mood and reduce anxiety level. It will help normalise and reduce the worry circuit.
- High levels of serotonin help OFC to function at normal levels. OFC has connections with sensory areas and emotion and memory. SSRI drugs help stabilise mood and improve memory so it reduce compulsive behaviour and checking.
- SNRI (Selective Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors) were developed for those who can't take SSRI. Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter released in response to stress.


Strength: Research evidence

- Soomro (2009) reviewed 17 studies that compared SSRI to placebo drugs for treating OCD and found that all 17 studies showed that SSRI drugs were more effective than placebos, especially when combined with CBT.


Strength: Stats

- They are relatively effective and 70% of patients have experienced a decline in OCD symptoms when taking them.
- Remaining 30% tend to opt for psychological therapies or a combination - suggesting that drugs = therapy is very effective.


Weakness: Side effects

- They have terrible side effects which might mean that OCD patients may stop taking the meds.
- Side effects are temporary but include indigestion, blurred vision and loss of sex drive.


Weakness: Don't work for all

- For some patients SSRI drugs will not alleviate their OCD symptoms and they will have to take an alternative drug like Tricyclics instead.