Mirtazapine is an antidepressant that’s commonly sold under the brand name Remeron. If you’re struggling with depression that’s further complicated by anxiety or insomnia, your doctor may suggest trying mirtazapine to manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
However, when it’s prescribed for the first time, you may have questions regarding the nature of the drug, such as is Remeron a benzo or is mirtazapine a narcotic? You might also ask, is mirtazapine addictive, or do mirtazapine and alcohol interact? Learning about the various Remeron uses and the drug’s role in popular culture can help answer these questions.
What Is Mirtazapine?
Mirtazapine is an antidepressant drug taken in pill form. It’s a newer tetracyclic piperazine-azepine antidepressant that was originally approved in the Netherlands in 1994. It was intended for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD). Today, it’s also used to treat other conditions, such as obsessive-compulsive and anxiety disorders. It’s an SNRI, or serotonin–norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor.
Notably, mirtazapine was found in actor and comedian Robin Williams’ system following his tragic suicide in 2014. While mirtazapine isn’t addictive, users sometimes become physically dependent on it. For those individuals, stopping the drug suddenly can result in unpleasant symptoms over the short term.
As it’s a fairly new antidepressant, MarketWatch predicts that the market for mirtazapine will grow at a steady rate between 2021 and 2027.
How to Identify Mirtazapine aka Remeron
Mirtazapine is a circular pill and beige in color. If you’re unsure what tablet you’re looking at — for instance, if your medication spills in your luggage — use a pill identifier. Never take a drug if you’re not sure what you’re consuming.
Mirtazapine doesn’t have any street or slang names, but its brand names differ from the official drug name. In the United States, mirtazapine is sold under the name Remeron or Remeron SolTab. In Canada, it’s sold as Remeron RD. In the U.K., it goes by the brand name Zispin SolTab. You can only legally purchase this drug by obtaining a prescription from your doctor.
Mirtazapine is taken orally at a dosage prescribed by a health care professional. Typically, it’s taken once a day, but your doctor may prescribe taking half the dosage twice a day. Many people take mirtazapine in the evening before bed because the drug may cause drowsiness.
What Does Mirtazapine Do?
Mirtazapine belongs to a group of drugs called tetracyclic antidepressants. The medication works on your central nervous system to impact chemicals in the brain that may be out of balance, resulting in your depression.
Mirtazapine works by increasing the chemicals serotonin and noradrenaline in the brain. An imbalance of these chemicals can result in various mood disorders, and the drug works to restore a healthy balance. Mirtazapine is suitable for most adults with depression, but there are some individuals who shouldn’t take it.
Mirtazapine can make it more challenging for individuals with diabetes to effectively manage their blood sugar. It can also cause low blood pressure, which may be problematic for individuals with heart conditions. If you have glaucoma, you should discuss the benefits of taking mirtazapine versus the potential risks with your doctor. Mirtazapine can increase eye pressure, potentially worsening the condition.
Taking mirtazapine may also be dangerous for individuals with epilepsy or those who’ve taken other antidepressants recently. Before starting mirtazapine, have an honest conversation with your doctor about other medications you’re taking. If you’re pregnant or trying to become pregnant, you should also consult your doctor before taking mirtazapine.
How Long Does Mirtazapine Stay In Your System?
How long mirtazapine stays in your system depends on various factors, including your kidney and liver function and the dosage consumed. Your drug history and genetics may also play a role. Typically, mirtazapine remains in the body for four to nine days after it’s taken. However, that doesn’t mean you’ll still experience the benefits of the drug nine days after consuming just one dose.
The time the drug stays in your system ultimately depends on how long your body takes to process it. If you skip or miss a dose, it may not work as well or may stop working completely. Consult your doctor if this occurs.
Is Mirtazapine a Benzo? Is It Addictive?
You may be wondering, is mirtazapine benzo or a narcotic? The answer to both questions is no. Mirtazapine belongs to a different drug class than benzodiazepines such as Xanax. That’s why it’s used to treat different mood disorders. While Xanax is often prescribed for anxiety, Remeron is more commonly prescribed for depression.
Mirtazapine also isn’t a narcotic, meaning it’s unlikely to lead to addiction. Like most antidepressants, there are potential side effects with taking mirtazapine. You may experience physical symptoms if you suddenly stop taking it, so you should consult your doctor before doing so.
Possible withdrawal symptoms can include a worsening of your depression, as well as:
- Nausea and vomiting
What Are the Dangers of Abusing Mirtazapine?
While you can’t become addicted to mirtazapine, it is possible to overdose on the drug, although doses below 1000 mg are unlikely to cause toxicity. A mirtazapine overdose may result in:
- Mild hypertension
- Mild central nervous system depression
Before these more serious conditions occur, you may notice other symptoms indicating an overdose:
- Increased heart rate
- Memory problems
If you experience any of these symptoms after exceeding a prescribed dose of mirtazapine, seek medical help immediately. Combining it with other medications, such as benzodiazepines or lithium, can increase the risk of experiencing unpleasant or potentially harmful side effects. You should also avoid consuming alcohol when on mirtazapine.
Signs of Mirtazapine Abuse
To determine if you or someone you know is abusing Remeron and need professional help, watch for these indicators of mirtazapine abuse:
- Taking the medication for longer than prescribed
- Requiring increasingly higher doses to experience the same effects
- Spending significant time thinking about taking mirtazapine
- Lying to a doctor about depression symptoms to get the prescription renewed
- Changes in physical appearance or hygiene habits
- Inability to stop using the medication
Frequently combining mirtazapine and alcohol or other drugs to heighten your experience is another indication of abuse.
What Are the Treatment Options for Mirtazapine Abuse?
If you recognize the signs of mirtazapine abuse, you may need professional support to get through the associated withdrawal symptoms. A facility such as FHE Health can recommend an antidepressant detoxification or outpatient rehab program to help you get your life back on track.
Seek Support for Drug Abuse
If you’re struggling with the abuse of a prescribed medication, you’re not alone. More than 6% of Americans aged 12 and older misused prescription drugs in 2017. If you need caring, professional help to stop using mirtazapine safely, call us today at (844) 299-0618 to start your journey.