mirtazapine, Remeron, Soltab
Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD
Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD
Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.
Medical and Pharmacy Editor:
GENERIC NAME: mirtazapine
BRAND NAME: Remeron, Soltab
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Mirtazapine is a tetracyclic antidepressant similar to maprotiline (Ludiomil) and tricyclic antidepressants, for example, desipramine (Norpramin). Depression is an all-pervasive sense of sadness and gloom. It is believed that in some patients with depression, abnormal levels of neurotransmitters (chemicals that nerves use to communicate with each other) may be the cause of their depression. Mirtazapine elevates mood by raising the level of neurotransmitters (norepinephrine and serotonin) in nerves of the brain. Mirtazapine also blocks the effect of histamine. Mirtazapine was approved by the FDA in 1996.
GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes
PREPARATIONS: Tablet (Orally disintergrating): 15, 30, and 45 mg
STORAGE: Tablets should be stored at room temperature, 15-30 C (59-86 F).
DOSING: The usual starting dose for mirtazapine is 15 mg once daily, usually at bedtime. Doses may be increased every 1-2 weeks up to a maximum dose of 45 mg daily. It may be taken with or without food.
DRUG INTERACTIONS: Mirtazapine adds to the sedating effects of alcohol and other drugs that can cause sedation such as:
Fluvoxamine (Luvox), ketoconazole (Nizoral) and cimetidine (Tagamet) may increase the levels of mirtazapine in the blood which may lead to increased side effects from mirtazapine. Carbamazepine (Tegretol) and phenytoin (Dilantin) decrease the blood concentration of mirtazapine by increasing the breakdown of mirtazapine in the liver, possibly reducing the effect of mirtazapine.
Mirtazapine should not be used with monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibiting drugs such as phenelzine (Nardil), procarbazine (Matulane), selegiline (Eldepryl), or tranylcypromine (Parnate). High fever, convulsions, and even death can occur from such combinations. Therefore, an interval of 14 days is recommended between stopping MAO inhibitor therapy and starting mirtazapine, and vice versa. Similar reactions may occur if mirtazapine is combined with other drugs that increase serotonin activity in the brain. Such drugs to avoid include tryptophan, sumatriptan (Imitrex), linezolid (Zyvox), fluoxetine (Prozac), venlafaxine (Effexor), lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid), tramadol (Ultram), and St. John's wort.
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