Take agomelatine once a day at bedtime.
It can take a week or two after starting these tablets before the effect builds up and you start to feel the benefit. If you do not feel you have improved after this time, go back and talk with your doctor.
The most common side-effects are feeling dizzy or sick - these are usually mild and soon pass. Rarely, agomelatine may affect the way your liver works. If you develop dark urine, pale stools, any yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes, pain in your abdomen, or feel unusually tired, you must let your doctor know about this straightaway.
|Type of medicine||Antidepressant|
Our bodies have a number of important physical and behavioural processes which are controlled by the cycling of day and night. These are called circadian rhythms and, if disrupted, may result in depression. Agomelatine works by helping to restore the balance of these biological rhythms.
Before taking agomelatine
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking agomelatine it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you are under 18 or over 65 years of age.
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
- If you have liver or kidney problems.
- If you have ever had abnormally 'high' moods or dementia.
- If you are taking or using any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
How to take agomelatine
- Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The leaflet will give you more information about agomelatine and a full list of side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
- Take agomelatine exactly as your doctor has told you. The usual dose is one tablet daily. This may be increased in some people to two tablets daily (taken together) after a couple of weeks. You should take the tablets at bedtime. It is not important whether you take them before or after food.
- If you forget to take a dose, do not worry, just take the next dose when it is due.
Getting the most from your treatment
- It can take a week or two after starting these tablets before the effect begins to build up, and maybe even longer before you feel the full benefit. Do not stop taking agomelatine after a few days, thinking it is not helping.
- Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is because your doctor will want you to have blood tests while you are taking these tablets to check that they are not interfering with the way your liver is working.
- Taking agomelatine and alcohol is not recommended, so do not drink alcohol during your treatment with this medicine.
- There are several types of antidepressants and they differ in their possible side-effects. If you find that agomelatine does not suit you then let your doctor know, as another may be found that will.
- While you feel depressed or are taking agomelatine, you may have thoughts about harming yourself or ending your life. It is very important that you tell your doctor about this if it happens.
- If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.
- If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with your other medicines.
- Your doctor will ask you to carry on taking agomelatine for a while after you feel better. This is to stop your symptoms from returning.
Can agomelatine cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.
|Common agomelatine side-effects - these affect less than 1 in 10 people who take this medicine||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Feeling sick, diarrhoea||Stick to simple foods and drink plenty of water|
|Feeling dizzy, tired or sleepy||If this happens, do not drive or use tools or machines. Do not drink alcohol|
|Headache||Ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller. If the headache continues, speak with your doctor|
|Constipation, abdominal pain||Try to eat a well-balanced diet containing fresh fruit and vegetables. Drink plenty of water|
|Difficulty sleeping, feeling anxious, increased sweating, back pain||These effects are usually mild and soon pass but if any become troublesome, speak with your doctor|
Important: if you experience any of the following rare but possibly serious symptoms, stop taking agomelatine and contact your doctor for advice straightaway. These may be signs that your liver is not working as it should.
- Dark urine, pale stools, jaundice (yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes), pain in the upper part of your abdomen, and feeling unusually tired.
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store agomelatine
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that someone has taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital at once. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
Never keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.
Further reading & references
- Manufacturer's PIL, Valdoxan®; Servier Laboratories Limited, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated March 2012.
- British National Formulary; 64th Edition (Sep 2012) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.
Dr Hannah Gronow