This is a common side effect, occurring in a minority of people on all available antidepressants, especially in warm weather.


When low blood pressure is beginning, you may feel dizzy, especially when you stand up from sitting, or get out of bed, or bend over and straighten.  This phenomenon is due to low blood pressure, so that the blood cannot get to your brain adequately quickly when you change position, and is technically described as postural hypotension. It can also happen when you are exercising.


When low blood pressure becomes worse, you may feel unusually tired and weak, and may feel strangely very cold in warm weather.


Of course, it is only by taking a proper reading of your blood pressure that it can be known for certain whether or not your blood pressure is significantly below what is normal for you.


Treatment of low blood pressure:-

  1. Drinking a lot of fluid tends to increase the amount of fluid within your blood vessels and therefore raises your blood pressure. (This does not apply to alcohol, which actually lowers blood pressure in the short term in many people.)
  2. Salt will have a slight effect in raising your blood pressure.
  3. Caffeine in drinks or in tablet form will slightly raise your blood pressure
  4. Raising the head of your bed, such as by putting blocks under the legs of the bed in which you sleep, drops your blood pressure while you are asleep.  Your body automatically tries to compensate, and the compensation will continue throughout the next day, so that your blood pressure next day will be slightly higher than it otherwise would be.
  5. Wearing tight stockings over your legs forces blood from the lower part of your legs back up into the general circulation and may help your blood pressure.  However, theoretically such stockings would have to be put on before you change from the horizontal position in bed, and would of course be very uncomfortable in warm weather.



PUMPING YOUR CALF MUSCLES – when standing, tightening and releasing your calf muscles in your lower leg repeatedly causes blood to be pumped back up into your body, raising your blood pressure.  When getting up from a chair, it is a good idea to do this a number of times before actually standing, and to then hang on to a solid object for about 30 seconds, while your blood pressure adjusts.  Before getting out of bed, it is wise to sit on the edge of the bed and carry out this manoeuvre for about 60 seconds, so that your blood pressure has time to adapt to the changes involved in lying down, sitting down, and then standing.


FLUDROCORTISONE (tradename = Florinef) – this medication, prescribed by your doctor, is a variety of steroid medication, which retains sodium in your body, thus raising your blood pressure.  Taking 0.1 mg tablets three times per day is very useful in some people in markedly raising their blood pressure.  A number of patients take this medication in warm weather, with the need for this medication disappearing in colder weather.  However, as this mechanism of retaining sodium to raise your blood pressure is actually at the expense of causing your body to lose potassium, it is necessary to take Potassium tablets at the same rate as you take Florinef tablets, to keep your potassium levels steady.  As very low levels of potassium make you feel weak, and could even cause your heart to stop if it was extremely low, your doctor should test your potassium levels from time to time while you are taking the combination of Fludrocortisone and Potassium.


DIZZINESS NOT DUE TO LOW BLOOD PRESSURE – a minority of people taking any of the currently available antidepressants will experience dizziness as a side effect.  If this side effect is severe, you will probably have to stop the antidepressant and try to restart at a lower dose, or try a different antidepressant.  In most people, side effects progressively get less as your body gets used to the medication, but this can take up to six weeks.


This information is intended to improve your knowledge of the treatment you are receiving.  Any further points can be discussed at your next consultation with your doctor.


Important Disclaimer:  This site is medical information only, and is not to be taken as diagnosis, advice or treatment, which can only be decided by your own doctor.

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