Conditions the medication is used for: Depression

Other names for the medication: Valdoxan®

What is this medication used for?

Agomelatine (also known as Valdoxan®) is mainly used to help treat the symptoms of depression. It is made as tablets.

What is the usual dose for this medication?

The usual dose of agomelatine is 25mg once day at bedtime, although some people need 50mg a day.

How and when should I take the medication?

How to take:

Swallow the tablets with at least half a glass of water whilst sitting or standing. This is to make sure that they reach the stomach and do not stick in your throat.  

When to take:

Take your agomelatine at night. If you are a shift-worker, take your agomelatine at bedtime. There is no problem about taking agomelatine before, with, or after food.  

What are the alternatives to this medication?

There are many other medicines (e.g. SSRIs, mirtazapine, venlafaxine) and talking therapies for depression. See our website and “Handy chart” to help you compare the medicines, how they work and their side effects.

How long does the medication take to work?

For depression, it seems that agomelatine either works or it doesn't. You should usually know within about four weeks if it has worked. If it has not started working in two weeks, the dose may be increased from 25mg (one tablet) at night to 50mg (two tablets) at night. Then give it another two weeks.

How long will I need to keep taking this medication for?

Please speak to your doctor as each person is different

Can I just stop taking this medication?

There is no problem stopping agomelatine suddenly. However, you should make sure you have taken agomelatine long enough, even if you feel better, because your depression can return if treatment is stopped too early.

What should I do if I forget to take a dose or overdose?

Start again as soon as you remember. If you forget a dose one night, there is no point in taking it next morning so just wait until the next evening. If you have problems remembering your doses (as many people do) ask your pharmacist, doctor or nurse about this. There are some special packs, boxes and devices which can be used to help you remember.

Can I drink alcohol while on this medication?

It is not thought that alcohol will make the side effects of agomelatine worse. If you drink a lot of alcohol it might increase your chances of getting liver damage.

Will this medication affect my other medications Including the Contraceptive pill?

Agomelatine has very few drug interactions. The effects of agomelatine can sometimes be increased by fluvoxamine (an unlikely combination) and ciprofloxacin (an antibiotic). It does not necessarily mean that this will happen, just that you may need to follow your doctor's instructions carefully.  

 

You should have no problems with "The Contraceptive Pill"

What sort of side-effects might I get from taking this medication?

Side effect

What happens

What to do about it

COMMON (less than about 1 in 10 people might get these)

Dizziness

Feeling dizzy an hour or so after your evening dose

Take the evening dose just before you go to bed. The effect usually wears off in a couple of weeks.

UNCOMMON (less than about 1 in 100 people might get these)

Raised LFTs

An increase in some tests of your liver

This happens in about 1 in 250 people, has no symptoms and usually wears off in a few weeks.

RARE (fewer than about 1 in 1000 people might get these)

Liver damage

Dark urine, pale poo, jaundice (yellow-looking skin), stomach pain (especially just below the ribs), feeling very tired for no good reason.

See your doctor as soon as possible (at least in the next 2 days) and have a blood test straight away. This may happen in less than 1 in a thousand people.

 

Do not be worried by this list of side effects. Some people get no side effects at all and others may get some effects that are not listed in this table. If you think you might have a side effect to your medicine, you should ask your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Will agomelatine cause me to put on weight?

Agomelatine does not usually cause changes in weight. If you do start to put on weight or have problems with your weight, your doctor can arrange for you to see a dietician for advice. Any weight you put on can be controlled while you are still taking this medication, with expert advice about diet.

 Will agomelatine affect my sex life?

Medicines can affect desire (libido), arousal (erection) and orgasm. Agomelatine is not thought to affect any of these three stages. Lack of desire and impotence has been reported rarely. If this does seem to have happened, you should discuss this with your doctor. Any problem will go away if the agomelatine is stopped.

 

Will I need to have blood tests?

You will need a blood test when you start agomelatine, after 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 12 weeks and 6 months. This is because about 1 in 250 people have a slight rise in LFTs (liver function tests). This is almost certainly not a problem but as agomelatine is fairly new, until it is proven to be safe these tests are needed. If you have bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or other long-term mental health problem, it is important to look after your physical health as well.

National guidelines recommend that you should at least have your blood pressure, weight, blood glucose and blood fats (e.g. lipids, cholesterol) checked regularly. This may be done by a hospital to start with, but after that your doctor should arrange for all these to be checked at least every year. And then to do something about it if there is anything that needs treating.

Can I drive or cycle while on this medication?

Agomelatine should not affect your ability to drive, but it can cause a little dizziness and lightheadedness. So, until you know how agomelatine affects you, be careful about driving or operate machinery. You should be careful as it may slow down your reaction times.

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