Are vitamins and supplements OK with my anxiety & depression meds?

We all want to be healthier. And if you are experiencing anxiety or depression, you might think supplements or vitamins can help. But If you’re taking prescription medications for anxiety or depression, some natural options may not play nicely with your prescribed medications. 

If you have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder or depression your doctor may have prescribed a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). Common SSRIs are Lexapro, Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft. These are safe for most people, but when taken with supplements or vitamins, the results can be risky. 

Here’s a list of some of the most common supplements and information on how they can interact with prescription anxiety or antidepressant medications: 

St. Johns Wort: Taking St. John’s Wort can help you feel better. But, and this is a big but, when taken with prescription medications it can cause fever, diarrhea, chills, and even seizures. To be safe, if you are taking prescription medication for a mental health issue you should avoid it until you can discuss it with your doctor. 

Kava: Some say Kava can have a calming effect. But, when taken with antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications, it can seriously increase feelings of sedation- making it hard to do even daily tasks.

Valerian: If your anxiety or depression keeps you from sleeping, you may have taken valerian, a natural sleep aid.  Beware, if mixed with prescription medication, it can trigger extreme drowsiness making it very hard to wake-up. Never combine it with anti-anxiety medications.

Multivitamins: Just because you avoid certain supplements it doesn’t mean that you should stop taking vitamins all together. It is perfectly ok to take a multi-vitamin while taking prescription medications for depression and anxiety. But never take more than the recommended daily allowance of any vitamin. 

B Vitamins: Vitamins in this family (most commonly B-6 and B-12) are essential to brain health and energy. There are no specific warnings about taking anti-anxiety or depression medication and B vitamins. In fact, many people feel these are helpful because they produce chemicals that can improve your mood. 

Remember that every individual is different so the way your body may interact with supplements or vitamins can be different. If you are suffering from anxiety or depression, a good rule of thumb is to check with your doctor before taking any supplements or vitamins.