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What Is Mianserin?

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  • Written By: Andy Josiah
  • Edited By: Nancy Fann-Im
  • Last Modified Date: 27 November 2016
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Mianserin is a medication used for a variety of effects, although it is chiefly seen as an antidepressant. Despite its vast application and established reputation in the international market, the drug is currently being phased out. Mianserin is also known as Bolvidon, Depnon, Norval or Tolvon.

First synthesized in 1966, mianserin was one of the first entries in a category of drugs collectively known as tetracyclic antidepressants (TeCA). These are drugs named after their chemical structure, which consist of four atom rings. Mianserin is specifically placed in a TeCA category known as noradrenergic and specific serotonergic antidepressants (NaSSAs). These are medications that imitate the actions of chemicals; in this case, serotonin and norepinephrine, or noradrenaline.

Notably, mianserin can also be considered a psychoactive drug. This is because it works in the central nervous system, where it alters the function of the brain to change certain emotional aspects of the person. Coincidentally, serotonin and norepinephrine are produced in the brain.

Serotonin in particular is a neurotransmitter identified as a “feel good” chemical, or an agent that contribute to one’s good mood. Thus an imitation of this substance increases the sense of well-being. This is the reverse of clinical depression, which is characterized by low moods and a lack of interest in activities that are normally pleasurable. Clinical depression is also known as unipolar disorder since the patient only exhibits one type of mood, as opposed to bipolar disorder, in which the patient experiences extremely high and low moods.

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Besides depression, mianserin is used for other medical conditions. It acts as an anxiolytic, which means that it battles anxiety disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It can be used to treat sleep disorders such as insomnia, therefore making it a hypnotic. The medication can also function as an antiemetic for nausea and vomiting; an orexigenic for increasing appetite; or an antihistamine for fighting allergies.

Mianserin does have several side effects. They include weight gain as a result of increased appetite, constipation, blurred vision, dizziness and drowsiness. Additionally, some takers of mianserin may experience withdrawal effects upon abrupt or rapid discontinuation of medication, some of which include the very ailments that the drug aims to fight: anxiety and depression.

By the end of the 20th century, more countries were abandoning mianserin for another NaSSAs named mirtazapine. Also known as Remeron, Avanza or Zispin, it was introduced in 1990, covering the same ground as its predecessor. Mirtazapine possesses more advanced biological properties than mianserin.

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John57
Post 6

I have never taken any antidepressants, but have some friends who take them on a regular basis.

One thing I found interesting is this same drug that is used for depression and anxiety is also prescribed for PTSD.

When my nephew came back from fighting in the war, he was diagnosed with PTSD and began taking medications for it.

I don't know if Mianserin is one that was prescribed to him or not. It seems like some of the symptoms that often go along with PTSD include depression and anxiety.

I wonder if this newer drug Mirtazapine is also given for those who struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder?

andee
Post 5

Years ago my sister was prescribed Mianserin to help her sleep. It really worked well for this, but she put on about 20 pounds over the course of a few months.

Since she hadn't changed anything else, she is pretty sure it was the Mianserin. Today they have a lot more choices for treating insomnia than they used to.

She recently began taking a different medication to help her sleep and hasn't had the weight gain she experienced when she was taking Mianserin.

SarahSon
Post 4

I was taking Minaserin for depression for several months after losing close friends and family members in a short amount of time.

This wasn't a very high dosage, but it did help quite a bit in keeping my moods stable. I knew this was something I didn't want to stay on long term, but at that time, needed some extra help.

One thing I would recommend if you quit taking Mianserin, or any antidepressant, is to do it very slowly. You also want to make sure this is something your doctor recommends and knows you are doing.

If you abruptly quit taking something like this, it can really cause problems. When I was ready to quit taking this, I was too anxious and didn't take it slow enough.

Even though it might feel like a very slow process, your body will adapt so much better if you wean yourself off very gradually.

bear78
Post 3

@burcidi-- Yea, I'm on Tolvon 20mg, to help with panic attacks and difficulty sleeping. I like it. It hasn't caused any irritability with me, although I do still have panic attack related anxiety from time to time. And I think I've gained a pound or two.

By the way, which brand name are you using? Even though Tolvon, Boldivon and Norval are all mianserin hydrochloride, I've heard that different people can tolerate different ones better.

So if you're experiencing a lot of side effects with one, you can ask your doctor to switch you to a different one in the same group. I've done that before with a different drug I was using. It made all the difference for me.

burcidi
Post 2

I didn't know that mianserin isn't used as often anymore. My doctor prescribed it to me though, I've been on Mianserin 30mg/day for the past two months. I'm not taking it alone, I'm also taking another antidepressant called alprazolam with it.

Does mianserin being less advanced than the newer versions mean that it is not as good? Or does it just mean that they're beneficial in different ways?

Is anyone else on mianserin hydrochloride right now? How has it been working for you?

I think it's working okay for me, although I've been having some side effects with it. Irritation and agitation is my main issue. Although it seems to be getting better as my body gets used to the drug.

burcinc
Post 1

I worked in Italy for a year where mianserin antidepressant is still used, or at least it was still used when I was there two years ago. It was prescribed to me under the name "Lantanon." I used it for about 9 months to treat a mild depression I was experiencing.

When I returned, my doctor in the States switched me to its successor Mirtazapine. I took Mirtazapine for about six months and was able to end my treatment.

I know Mirtazapine is more advanced than Mianserin and works a little differently. But in terms of how they made me feel, I didn't notice much of a difference. My doctor said that I would experience less side effects

on Mirtazapine. I was on a very low dose though, so I didn't experience too many side effects with either drug. Both made me gain a little weight, but my mood was enhanced and my anxiety ceased when I was using them.

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