"If a person asks for a specific antidepressant, I will often prescribe that one, unless there's a clear reason not to," says John Herman, MD, a psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital and associate professor at Harvard Medical School, who says that this is one way to put a patient at ease. "If we can, we'll go with something that they're already familiar with, or that a friend is taking."
"Some people ask me not to put them on an antidepressant that could lead to weight gain, sexual dysfunction, or sleep problems," he says. People react differently to antidepressants, and it's not possible to predict who will experience which side effect.
How long to take an antidepressant
Once you find the drug or drug combination that works, your doctor will probably recommend that you take the drug for another four to six months, if you have not previously had a depressive episode (if you have, you may be on antidepressants for longer). At that point the doctor may wean you off the medication by progressively lowering the dose over the course of several weeks.