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What Is Antidepressant Augmentation?

How Antidepressant Augmentation Can Help When Depression Symptoms Linger

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Updated May 09, 2013

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Has your antidepressant helped you feel better, but you still feel like you have some lingering symptoms of depression? Antidepressant augmentation may be a good treatment strategy for you.

What Is Antidepressant Augmentation?

"Augmentation" is adding another medication to enhance the effects of the primary medication. The reasoning behind augmentation of your antidepressant is that the add-on medication will affect your brain in a different way, giving potential relief from residual symptoms not resolved by your original medication. For example, such as adding Ability or Ritalin if you're taking an SSRI like Prozac or Lexapro, to aid with residual mood symptoms.

Drugs Which Have Been Used to Augment Antidepressants

Some of the drugs which have been investigated as augments to antidepressants include:

  • Lithium
  • Thyroid Hormone
  • Buspirone
  • Pindolol
  • Dopaminergic agonists
  • Stimulants
  • Modafinil
  • Atypical antipsychotics
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Glutamatergic drugs

Is Augmentation Right for You?

If you feel you are not getting full relief from all of your symptoms, it is very important that you bring this up with your doctor. Your feedback if the most valuable information your doctor has in fine-tuning your treatment plan. Based upon your remaining symptoms, your doctor can determine if augmentation with another medication in addition to your antidepressant can help you get better results than with an antidepressant alone.

Sources:

Stern, Theodore A., et. al. Massachusetts General Hospital Comprehensive Clinical Psychiatry. 1st ed. Philadelphia: Mosby Elsevier, 2008.

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