How do the side effects of different antidepressants compare?

The table below shows some differences in side effects between antidepressants. Talk to your doctor about which side effects are more important for you to avoid.

Keep in mind that insomnia, headaches and nausea will often get better with time, but other side effects (e.g. sexual dysfunction) may not.

Difference in side effects
Higher rates of stopping due to side effects than with SSRIs
More weight gain than with SSRIs
Highest rate of discontinuation symptoms (equal to venlafaxine)
Highest rate of sexual dysfunction
Highest rate of diarrhoea among the SSRIs

More nausea and vomiting than with SSRIs

Highest rate of discontinuation symptoms (equal to paroxetine)

Higher rates of stopping due to side effects than with SSRIs

See the individual antidepressant medicine page for more side effects of antidepressants included in the Table, and for side effects of antidepressants not included. Follow the links in the Antidepressants A – Z list to the individual antidepressant pages.

For more information

  • Psychotropic Expert Group. Therapeutic Guidelines: Psychotropic, Version 6. In: eTG complete [internet]. [link to] Melbourne: Therapeutic Guidelines Limited; 2008. (accessed 9 February 2012)
  • Rossi S, ed. eAMH [online]. Adelaide: Australian Medicines Handbook, 2012.[link] (accessed 9 February 2012).
  • Gartlehner G, Hansen RA, Morgan LC, et al. Comparative Benefits and Harms of Second-Generation Antidepressants for Treating Major Depressive Disorder: An Updated Meta-analysis. Ann Intern Med 2011;155:772-85. [PubMed]