Pharmacology Antidepressants #5

Question

A client reports, “I have been taking this new antidepressant for a full week and it is not working!” The client requests a prescription for a different antidepressant. Which response is most appropriate for the nurse to give to the client?

Answers

  1. "I will let the provider know so we can call in another prescription for you."
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because the client needs to continue to take the new antidepressant since antidepressants generally take from 2-6 weeks to become effective and therapeutic. It is not appropriate for the nurse to report this to the provider since the medication has not had adequate time to be therapeutic.

  2. "Keep taking the medication as prescribed. It could take 2-6 weeks to work."
    • Rationale:

      This answer is correct because antidepressants can take from 2-6 weeks to become effective and therapeutic. Clients should be educated about this concept so to know what to expect and facilitate compliance. Clients often think antidepressants will begin to make them “all better” in a few days to a week and may become frustrated if depression is lingering. The nurse should assure the client to be client since this class of medication can take a number of weeks to begin to make the client feel better.

  3. "Your new medication could take 2-4 months to work so try to be client."
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because antidepressants can take from 2-6 weeks to become effective and therapeutic. The time frame of 2-4 months is too long for the client to wait before reporting the medication is not helping their depression symptoms.

  4. "You should have felt better in 2-3 days, let me schedule you to see the provider."
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because the client needs to continue to take the new antidepressant since antidepressants generally take from 2-6 weeks to become effective and therapeutic. It is not appropriate for the nurse to schedule this client to see the health care provider since the medication has not had adequate time to be therapeutic.

Overview

Antidepressants generally take 2-6 weeks to become therapeutic for the depressed client.

Explanation

Learning Outcomes

Antidepressants can take from 2-6 weeks to become effective and therapeutic. Clients should be educated about this concept so to know what to expect and facilitate compliance. Clients often think antidepressants will begin to make them “all better” in a few days to a week and may become frustrated if depression is lingering. The nurse should assure the client to be client since this class of medication can take a number of weeks to begin to make the client feel better. Family members should also be cautioned to monitor the client carefully for suicide. As the client begins to feel a little better, energy levels may increase enough to allow the client to have the energy to actually act on their suicidal intentions.

Test Taking Tip

Client education is extremely important. Therefore, nurses should understand many details about medications being prescribed, including the class, what to expect, how to take the medication, and what to report.

Video Rationale