Many treatments exist today for common health conditions like anxiety and panic disorder. One of the most modern medications, however, is a drug by the name of mirtazapine. It has been used throughout the United States for nearly 30 years successfully.
Although you might not consider an anti-anxiety or antidepressant medicine to have high abuse potential, some of these drugs do contain the potential for misuse. That may beg the question – what happens if you abuse mirtazapine? Our experts chime in about its potential for misuse and abuse.
What Is Mirtazapine?
Although the medication has existed for nearly 30 years, Mirtazapine is not as common as other drugs. Although it boasts antidepressant properties, it has also proven itself to be useful for treating anxiety. The medication was synthesized in 1989 and approved in 1996, and due to it being a newer medication, scientists are still learning about its reaction in our bodies.
Mirtazapine is considered a serotonergic drug, which is a way of saying it interacts directly with our serotonin. Although it is deemed to be serotonergic, a study released in 2006 disputed these findings. The review showed little evidence of its apparent serotonergic effects in the human body. What we do know for sure, however, is that it acts as a histamine receptor agonist, which binds to histamine receptors and slows down activity.
These receptors are commonly used in allergy medications, and it is known to cause sedative effects. Mirtazapine may slow down the nervous system, which makes it sought out to treat disorders relating to over excitement in the nervous system, such as insomnia or anxiety.
Does Mirtazapine Have High Abuse Potential?
Anxiety is most commonly remedied by using medication like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or benzodiazepines. In some cases, individuals may take more of the drug(s) than prescribed for their euphoric effects. Drugs that cause sedation as a side effect are commonly misused, and benzodiazepines impact our body similarly to alcohol making them desirable. You may wonder, does mirtazapine cause similar effects that cause people to abuse it?
When you compare SSRI drugs and benzodiazepines, the chances of developing a substance use disorder are much lower. Benzos are regulated by the government tighter than SSRIs, and they are considered Schedule IV drugs, meaning there are accepted medical uses and a low risk of abuse. Benzos cause limited psychological and physical dependence when they are abused. SSRIs like mirtazapine are RX-only, meaning they are not a controlled substance but require a prescription for use.
Mirtazapine is considered non-addictive, but there are few situations where someone could abuse the drug to achieve mind-boosting effects. Other medications, such as benzos, opioids, or barbiturates, may be more likely candidates when it comes to abuse because of the pronounced intoxicating results they produce.
What Happens If You Abuse Mirtazapine?
Abusing drugs like mirtazapine may cause mild euphoria, but it’s more likely to result in uncomfortable side effects. You will experience drowsiness and sleepiness more so from mirtazapine than other antidepressant drugs, and abuse will likely cause fatigue.
Mirtazapine may also cause weight gain because it increases appetite. Other common symptoms you should expect may be dizziness, weakness, and confusion. Despite it being a well-tolerated drug, abusing any drug can cause adverse side effects.