What is Remeron (mirtazapine) Used For?
Remeron (mirtazapine) was approved primarily for the treatment of MDD or major depressive disorder. MDD symptoms are described in the DSM V and include these diagnostic criteria: symptoms should not be included that are clearly attributable to another medical or pathological condition, and the physiological effects of a substance are not attributable to the depressive episode. As stated, before diagnosing a person with MDD, at least the 2 above elements (along with other diagnostic criteria) must be verified. (1)
Antidepressants are often used in conjunction with multiple medications and electroshock therapy to treat psychiatrically diagnosed conditions. It should be noted that the DSM V diagnostic criteria changes apply to adults as well as to adolescents and children. (6)
It would follow that adequate testing, and investigation would have to be done to rule out these potential root causes for a depressed condition before attempting to medicate the patient. There may even be a list of Remeron alternative therapies, which could be more efficient.
Such investigations would have to include at a minimum, testing for nutritional deficiencies, environmental toxins, food or other allergies, the presence of neurotoxic elements like heavy metals, pathologies, drug use, addiction or dependence, and many other potential agents or influences or substances known to be causal agents in depressed states. These are the exact types of protocols that are used in the Alternative to Meds Center Remeron withdrawal treatment programs.
Remeron’s Many Off-label Uses
PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder): In diagnosing PTSD disorders, some qualifying symptoms listed in the DSM V have been revised, for example in “Criterion A” the scope of the diagnosis was significantly narrowed. The diagnostic criteria no longer include the unexpected death of a family member or close friend, for example, who died of natural causes.
Emotional disorders: The most recent DSM V has now collapsed multiple types of disorders into one over-arching category which it refers to as “emotional disorders”. Emotional disorders, as a group, include the various bipolar disorders, the “distress disorders” which include major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, PTSD, and the “fear disorders” which are the phobias, i.e., social phobia, agoraphobia, etc. Information in the DSM-5 should, in general, be taken with the proverbial grain of salt since calls for reviewing the DSM by independent scientific researchers. The DSM-5 reportedly has unresolved significant credibility issues in recent years. (2)
Other off-label uses include insomnia (3), itching, nausea, and tension headache and as an appetite stimulant (4) (5).
Remeron (mirtazapine) Alternative Names and Slang
As discussed earlier, there are a substantial number of names for mirtazapine around the world. When mirtazapine is combined with venlafaxine it is sometimes called “California Rocket Fuel”, indicating recreational use.
Remeron Side Effects
There can be a wide range of side effects experienced while taking mirtazapine or Remeron.
Common Remeron Side Effects can include:
- Sedation (can be severe)
- Worsened depression
- Suicidal thoughts or behavior (FDA recommends monitoring the patient for emerging suicidal thoughts or behavior (7)
- Swelling (tongue, lips, or other parts of the body)
- Vertigo (spinning sensation, loss of balance, whirling feeling)
- Flu-like symptoms (sore throat, fever, cough, etc.)
- Ulcers (in the mouth or other mucous tissues)
- Abdominal pain
- Back pain
- Muscle pain
- Low blood pressure
- Stupor (loss of consciousness, appears drunken)
- Ataxia (loss of full control of body motions)
- Akathisia (distressed, agitated state of restlessness and compulsive motion caused by antidepressants and other medication)
- Restless legs
- Loss of taste or perversion of sense of taste
- Gum hemorrhage
- Intestinal bleeding
- Intestinal obstruction
- Dyspepsia (indigestion)
- Hot flashes
- Decreased libido
- Skin rash
- Short of breath
- Mental changes (confusion, anger, dispassionate, anxiety, irritability, etc.)
- Unusual dreams
- Interrupted sleep
- Drowsy, tiredness
- Elevated mood
- Anhedonia (inability to feel pleasure, lack of usual or natural pleasurable emotional response)
- Increased appetite
- Cravings (carbohydrates or junk food)
- Weight gain
- Xerostomia (dry mouth)
- Menstrual pain
- Changes in vision
- Enlarged salivary glands
- Excess salivation
- Gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining)
- Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
- Mania (presents as exaggerated self-esteem, decreased need for sleep, racing thoughts, impulsive behavior without regard for consequences, i.e., excessive shopping sprees, a flight of expansive or delusional thoughts, etc.)
Remeron Withdrawal Symptoms
Remeron withdrawal effects during cessation should be observed carefully, even when stopping Remeron slowly, as these include some potentially life-threatening events.
Remeron withdrawal symptoms from Remeron include:
- Suicidal thinking
- Thoughts of harming self
- Negative self-talk
- Disturbed sleep
- Hypomania (a less severe form of mania-like symptoms)
- Nausea, vomiting
- Decrease in appetite
- Increased tiredness
- Flue-like symptoms
- Crying spells
- Mood swings
- Prickling skin sensations
Discontinuing/Quitting Remeron (Mirtazapine)
Talk to a trusted healthcare practitioner who can help you devise and implement a structured, safe plan for Remeron withdrawal over a period of time. Never attempt a “cold turkey” approach to coming off antidepressants of any type. Stopping Remeron can be done most safely with guidance and attentive medical support.
Staying hydrated, getting enough rest, eating well are some of the things you can do to help to stop taking Remeron gently, and without getting extremely sick.