DEAR DOCTOR K: I've been on an SSRI antidepressant for a few months, and it has really helped improve my depression. How long do I need to take this medication?
DEAR READER: If you're fortunate enough to find an antidepressant that lifts your dark mood, and you aren't too troubled by its side effects, your doctor likely will renew the prescription indefinitely. As long as you continue taking the medication, you are unlikely to suffer a relapse of your depression. But perhaps you're having bothersome side effects. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) drugs, like fluoxetine (Prozac) or sertraline (Zoloft), sometimes cause side effects.