Intrusive thoughts and repetitive habits to relieve anxiety make living with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) difficult. Treatment for OCD may include medication as well as therapy and lifestyle changes.
This page discusses OCD medication side effects. We will also search for the finest medications to treat OCD, intrusive thoughts, and anxiety. Understanding medication and its effects helps patients and doctors make informed decisions to increase well-being and overcome OCD.
At We Level Up Treatment Center, we offer comprehensive and compassionate OCD medication treatment options designed to relieve the distressing symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder effectively.
Medications for OCD
Here is a list of common medications used for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD):
OCD Medication List:
|SSRIs||Fluoxetine (Prozac), Sertraline (Zoloft), Paroxetine (Paxil), and more|
|SNRIs||Venlafaxine (Effexor), Duloxetine (Cymbalta)|
|Tricyclic Antidepressants||Clomipramine (Anafranil)|
|Atypical Antidepressants||Bupropion (Wellbutrin)|
|Antipsychotic Medications||Aripiprazole (Abilify), Risperidone (Risperdal), Quetiapine (Seroquel)|
|Anti-Anxiety Medications||Benzodiazepines (e.g., Clonazepam, Lorazepam)|
|Augmentation Agents||Lamotrigine (Lamictal), Buspirone (Buspar)|
|Experimental and Off-Label Medications||N-acetylcysteine, Memantine|
Side Effects of Medication for OCD
Like any other medicine, OCD medicine can have side effects. These side effects of OCD medications can differ depending on the drug type, how the person reacts to it, and how much is given. It’s important to remember that not everyone will have these side effects; some may only have slight or temporary effects. Here are some of the most common side effects of OCD medications:
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- Nausea and upset stomach: Many medicines can make your stomach hurt, which can lead to nausea, vomiting, or an upset stomach.
- Drowsiness or tiredness: Some OCD medicines, especially those that change serotonin levels, can make you sleepy or tired.
- Sleep Problems or Insomnia: Some medicines can make it hard to fall asleep or stay asleep in a restful way.
- Dry Mouth: A dry mouth is a common side effect, especially of medicines that affect neurotransmitters.
- Headache: As the body changes to the medicine, headaches can happen. They usually only last a short time, but they can be painful.
- Dizziness or Lightheadedness: Changing positions quickly can make you feel dizzy or lightheaded.
- Sexual Dysfunction: Some OCD medicines, especially selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), can affect sexual desire, arousal, and effectiveness.
- Weight changes: Some medicines can cause you to gain or lose weight, which can upset some people.
- Agitation or Restlessness: Sometimes, OCD medicines can make you agitated or restless.
- Sweating: One side effect for some people is more sweating, especially at night.
- Tremors: Some people may feel shaking or shaking in their hands or other body parts.
- Changes in Blood Pressure: Some medications can cause blood pressure to go up and down, which can have different effects.
- Digestion Problems: Besides feeling sick, some people may have constipation, diarrhea, or other digestion problems.
- Allergic Reactions: Allergic reactions are rare but can happen with any medicine. They can cause signs like a rash, itching, swelling, or trouble breathing.
- Mood changes: In some cases, OCD medications can affect mood, which could lead to more worry, irritability, or other changes in how you feel.
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Discover Effective OCD Medications at We Level Up Treatment Centers
Conquering OCD can feel isolating and arduous. Many individuals struggle to navigate this condition without support and frequently relapse in their efforts to manage symptoms.
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OCD Fact Sheet
Obsessions with excessive ideas trigger recurrent behaviors (compulsions). Unreasonable worries and obsessions (compulsive behaviors) are hallmarks of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
OCD frequently centers on ideas like a dread of germs or the requirement to organize objects in a certain way. Symptoms typically appear gradually and change over time. Both conversation therapy and medication are used as treatments.
Behavioral: compulsive behavior, agitation, compulsive hoarding, hypervigilance, impulsivity, meaningless repetition of own words, repetitive movements, ritualistic behavior, social isolation, or persistent repetition of words or actions.
Mood: Anxiety, apprehension, guilt, or panic attack.
Whole body: fatigue or sweating.
Also standard are food aversion, nightmares, or rumination.
Types of OCD Disorders
- Contamination OCD.
- Checking OCD.
- Harm OCD.
- Hoarding OCD.
- Pure-O (Purely Obsessional) OCD.
- Symmetry and Ordering OCD.
- Sexual Orientation OCD.
- Relationship OCD.
- Religious OCD (Scrupulosity).
- Health Anxiety OCD.
OCD Medication Statistics
Delve into OCD medication statistics to shed light on the prevalence of medication usage, trends in prescription practices, and the broader impact of these medications on those with OCD. By examining these statistics, we aim to understand better medication’s role in the comprehensive management of OCD.
- Prevalence of Medication Usage: According to recent studies, approximately 60% to 70% of individuals diagnosed with OCD receive medication as part of their treatment plan. This underscores medication’s significant role in the multifaceted approach to managing OCD.
- Primary Medication Class – SSRIs: Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most commonly prescribed class of medications for OCD. Statistics reveal that around 50% to 60% of OCD patients are prescribed SSRIs as a first-line pharmacological intervention.
- Effectiveness of Medication in Combination with Therapy: Research indicates that combining medication and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) yields the most effective results in treating OCD. Studies show that up to 70% of individuals experience noticeable improvements when medication and therapy are employed.
- Dosage Adjustments: It is not uncommon for healthcare providers to adjust medication dosages to achieve optimal therapeutic effects. Statistics indicate that around 30% of patients may undergo dosage modifications during their treatment.
OCD affects 2.5 million adults or 1.2% of the U.S. population.
Source: National Institute on Mental Health
The average age of onset is 19, with 25% of cases occurring by age 14. One-third of affected adults first experienced symptoms in childhood.
Women are 3x more likely to be affected than men.
Risks of OCD Medications
While OCD medications can effectively reduce the symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), like any medication, they also come with potential risks and side effects. It’s important to comprehensively understand these risks before starting any medication. Here are some potential risks associated with OCD medications:
- Side Effects: Nausea, drowsiness, dry mouth, dizziness, and more.
- Aggravation of Symptoms: Initial worsening of OCD before improvement.
- Sexual Dysfunction: Impact on sexual desire and performance.
- Emotional Changes: Mood swings and increased anxiety.
- Withdrawal Symptoms: Discontinuation can lead to withdrawal effects.
- Interaction with Other Medications: Possible harmful interactions.
- Risk of Suicidality: Slight increase in risk, especially at the start.
- Allergic Reactions: Rare but possible allergic responses.
- Long-Term Effects: Potential effects on health over time.
- Individual Variation: Different responses for each person.
Best Medication for OCD Intrusive Thoughts
Determining the best medication for OCD intrusive thoughts can vary from person to person, as individual responses to medications differ. However, certain medications have been commonly prescribed and found effective for managing OCD symptoms, including intrusive thoughts. It’s crucial to consult a qualified healthcare professional before making any decisions about medication. Here are some medications that are often considered:
- Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs): SSRIs are typically the first-line medications for OCD. They work by increasing serotonin levels in the brain, which can help reduce intrusive thoughts and anxiety. Examples include Fluoxetine (Prozac), Sertraline (Zoloft), and Paroxetine (Paxil).
- Clomipramine (Anafranil): This is a tricyclic antidepressant and is often considered the most effective medication for treating OCD, including intrusive thoughts. However, it may have more side effects compared to SSRIs.
- Augmentation Agents: Sometimes, a medication like Aripiprazole (Abilify) or Risperidone (Risperdal), which are antipsychotic medications, might be added to an SSRI to enhance the effects. These can be particularly useful if intrusive thoughts are not responding well to SSRIs alone.
- Combination Therapy: In some cases, different medications may be prescribed to target different aspects of OCD symptoms, including intrusive thoughts. A healthcare provider should closely monitor this.
- Personalized Approach: Individual responses vary, and what works for one person might not work for another. Working closely with a healthcare provider to find the most effective medication while considering potential side effects is essential.
Remember that medication is usually just part of a comprehensive treatment plan for OCD. Therapy, particularly Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), is often recommended with medication to achieve the best results. Ultimately, the best medication for you should be made in consultation with a psychiatrist or another qualified healthcare professional specializing in mental health.
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Best Medication for Anxiety and OCD
People with anxiety and OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) choose their medicine based on several factors, such as the severity of their symptoms, how they respond to medications and possible side effects. For personalized advice, talk to a health expert. Still, some drugs are often thought of as ways to treat both anxiety and OCD:
- Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs): SSRIs are often prescribed as a first-line treatment for anxiety disorders and OCD. They work by increasing serotonin levels in the brain, which can help alleviate symptoms of both conditions. Examples include Fluoxetine (Prozac), Sertraline (Zoloft), and Escitalopram (Lexapro).
- Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs): SNRIs are another class of antidepressants that can effectively treat anxiety and OCD. Venlafaxine (Effexor) and Duloxetine (Cymbalta) are examples of SNRIs.
- Tricyclic Antidepressants: Tricyclic antidepressants like Clomipramine (Anafranil) are sometimes used to target symptoms of both anxiety and OCD. However, they tend to have more potential side effects compared to newer medications.
- Combination Therapy: In some cases, healthcare providers might prescribe a combination of medications to address anxiety and OCD symptoms. For instance, an SSRI could be combined with a low-dose antipsychotic like Aripiprazole (Abilify).
- Benzodiazepines: While not typically the first choice due to the risk of dependence and withdrawal, short-term benzodiazepines like Clonazepam or Lorazepam might help manage acute anxiety symptoms. These are usually prescribed for a short duration and under close supervision.
- Personalized Approach: Finding the best medication often involves a trial-and-error process, as individual responses can vary. What works for one person might not work for another.
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Fast-Acting OCD Medication
Currently, there is no medication specifically labeled as “fast-acting” for OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) in the way that pain relievers might be fast-acting. It usually takes a while for the full effects of anti-OCD medication to kick in. Most antidepressants and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) used for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) take a few weeks to show their full therapeutic effects.
Remember that getting well while being treated for OCD is a slow process. Treatments may not provide instantaneous relief like other treatments but can relieve symptoms dramatically over time. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can help you learn to manage and cope with your OCD symptoms before the meds take effect.
Let’s say you’re seeking a way to deal with a sudden emotional crisis as soon as possible. In that scenario, it’s best to talk to a doctor about how to proceed with treatment, whether that involves counseling, possible short-term measures, or medication.
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OCD Treatment Medication
The primary classes of medications used for treating Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) are antidepressants, particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and in some cases, other medications. It’s important to note that medication is usually just one part of a comprehensive treatment plan for OCD, which often includes therapy such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Here are some commonly used OCD treatment medications:
- Antipsychotic Medications (used as augmenting agents):
- Aripiprazole (Abilify).
- Risperidone (Risperdal).
- Quetiapine (Seroquel).
- Anti-Anxiety Medications (for short-term relief):
- Benzodiazepines (e.g., Clonazepam, Lorazepam).
- Augmentation Agents (used in combination with antidepressants):
- Lamotrigine (Lamictal).
- Buspirone (Buspar).
- Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs):
- Fluoxetine (Prozac).
- Sertraline (Zoloft).
- Paroxetine (Paxil).
- Fluvoxamine (Luvox).
- Escitalopram (Lexapro).
- Citalopram (Celexa).
- Tricyclic Antidepressant:
- Clomipramine (Anafranil) – Particularly effective for OCD, though it may have more side effects than SSRIs.
- Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs):
- Venlafaxine (Effexor).
- Duloxetine (Cymbalta).
- Atypical Antidepressant:
- Bupropion (Wellbutrin).
OCD Treatment Without Medication
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) can be treated effectively through various approaches, even without medication. While medication is an option, therapy is often a central component of OCD treatment. Here are some non-medication treatment options for OCD:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT is the most widely recommended therapy for OCD. Specifically, Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) is a form of CBT that gradually exposes the person to their obsessive thoughts and prevents the associated compulsive behaviors. Over time, this helps to reduce anxiety and weaken the link between the obsessions and the need to perform rituals.
- Mindfulness and Acceptance-Based Therapies: Mindfulness techniques can help individuals become more aware of their thoughts and feelings without trying to control or suppress them. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a mindfulness-based approach that encourages accepting distressing thoughts while focusing on values and committed actions.
- Behavioral Therapy: Apart from ERP, other behavioral strategies can help address specific behaviors associated with OCD. These might include habit reversal training or techniques to manage specific compulsions.
- Support Groups: Support groups, either in-person or online, provide a platform for individuals with OCD to connect, share experiences, and learn from others who are going through similar challenges.
- Psychoeducation: Learning about OCD, its mechanisms, and effective coping strategies can empower individuals to manage their symptoms better.
- Lifestyle Changes: Regular exercise, a balanced diet, getting adequate sleep, and reducing stress can contribute to overall mental health and symptom management.
- Self-Help Books and Resources: Many self-help books, online resources, and apps are designed to guide individuals through various OCD treatment techniques.
- Professional Guidance: Consulting a trained therapist or psychologist experienced in treating OCD is crucial for developing a tailored treatment plan that suits your needs.
It’s essential t to note that the effectiveness of treatment can vary based on individual factors. Many individuals with OCD respond well to therapy alone, while some might benefit from a combination of therapy and medication. Working closely with a mental health professional is recommended to determine your situation’s most appropriate treatment plan.
If you’re seeking professional help managing your OCD, consider the specialized OCD medication treatment programs available at We Level Up Treatment Center, where our experienced team is dedicated to supporting your journey of improved mental well-being.
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Popular OCD Medication FAQs
Is There Medication for OCD?
Yes, there are medications available for treating OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder).
What Does OCD Mean in Medical Terms?
In medical terms, “OCD” stands for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, which is a mental health condition characterized by recurring obsessions (intrusive, unwanted thoughts) and compulsions (repetitive behaviors) that individuals feel driven to perform in response to those obsessions.
What Is the Best Medication for OCD?
The best medication for OCD can vary for each individual. Commonly prescribed medications include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like Fluoxetine (Prozac) and Sertraline (Zoloft), as well as Clomipramine (Anafranil), a tricyclic antidepressant. The most suitable medication depends on factors such as the individual’s specific symptoms, medical history, and response to treatment. Consulting a healthcare professional is essential to determine the best option for you.
Does OCD Medication Change Your Personality?
OCD medication generally does not change your core personality; it aims to alleviate OCD symptoms and improve your quality of life.
Watch and Learn About What Is OCD and Take a look at the 4 Most Common Types of OCD
Search We Level Up The Most Effective OCD Medication for Treatments & Recovery Resources
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 Mental health medications. National Institute of Mental Health. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/mental-health-medications/index.shtml#part_149856. Accessed Aug. 13, 2019. Learn More: ocd meaning medical
 AskMayoExpert. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Mayo Clinic; 2019. Learn More: Types of OCD
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 Obsessive-compulsive disorder. National Alliance on Mental Illness. https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Obsessive-compulsive-Disorder/Overview. Accessed Sept. 3, 2019. Learn More: what does ocd mean in medical terms
 Suicidality in children and adolescents being treated with antidepressant medications. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/drugs/postmarket-drug-safety-information-patients-and-providers/suicidality-children-and-adolescents-being-treated-antidepressant-medications. Accessed Aug. 13, 2019. Learn More: Types of OCD, ocd ruining relationship
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