Mirtazapine: What Is Remeron? Is It Addictive?

Last Updated: February 19, 2020

Authored by Sharon Levy, MD, MPH

Remeron is a prescription medication. Generically known as mirtazapine, it is a tetracyclic antidepressant. Despite numerous Americans using the drug, many people do not understand Remeron’s benefits and risks.

What Is Mirtazapine?

Mirtazapine (Remeron) is a drug primarily used to treat depression. The Remeron drug class is antidepressant, or more specifically, a tetracyclic antidepressant. In addition to treating depression, doctors also prescribe mirtazapine for sleep, anxiety, PTDS, and OCD. However, these are not FDA-approved uses.

Remeron medication contains active and inactive ingredients, with the inactive ones varying depending on the exact medicine being taken. The active ingredient is mirtazapine. Potential inactive ingredients include:

  • Starch (corn)
  • Hydroxypropyl cellulose
  • Magnesium stearate
  • Colloidal silicon dioxide
  • Lactose
  • Hypromellose
  • Polyethylene
  • Glycol 8000
  • Titanium dioxide
  • Ferric oxide (yellow)
  • Ferric oxide (red)

Generic Availability Of Mirtazapine

Remeron, the mirtazapine brand name drug, is manufactured by Merck and Organon USA. It has been on the market since 1997. Companies currently approved for manufacturing generic versions of the medication include:

  • Apotex INC
  • Aurobindo
  • Mylan
  • Sun Pharm Inds INC
  • TEVA
  • Upsher Smith Labs

manufacturer of generic remeron

In most cases, the generic version of the medication is called by its active ingredient: mirtazapine. However, sometimes mirtazapine generic names vary. They can include:

  • Soltab
  • 6-Azamianserin
  • Mepirzapine
  • Org 3770
  • Mirtazapinum

Casually, these may be referred to with the brand name. For example, Remeron Soltab. However, these are not official names.

Mirtazapine Abuse

The Remeron med is not officially considered to have any notable abuse potential. However, Remeron abuse still occurs. In most cases, this is because people assume that since it treats depression, it must have mood-boosting effects that are similar to a high. Despite this, it is not known to easily produce a sense of euphoria. The mirtazapine benefits with treating depression are not the same as those that cause people to get high. The mirtazapine high is not easy to achieve, if possible, to feel at all.

Is Mirtazapine Addictive?

This brings up the question of if Remeron addiction exists. The answer can vary based on how a person looks at the concept of addiction.

According to the medical community, mirtazapine is not addictive. However, the body can become dependent on it, and stopping the medication suddenly might result in Remeron withdrawal. There is also the concern of psychological addiction. It is possible for users to feel afraid to stop using mirtazapine or even to crave it.

How Long Does Mirtazapine Stay In One’s System?

Mirtazapine Metabolism

The first thing to look at in terms of mirtazapine staying in the system is how it is metabolized. This refers to how the medication is processed and eliminated by the body. The basics of how mirtazapine is metabolized by the system are as follows:

  • Mirtazapine half-life: The medication has a long half-life, coming in at 40 hours.
  • Absorption: This is done through the liver and gut wall, with peak blood concentration occurring two hours after the dose.
  • Volume of distribution: This has been measured at 107 ± 42L.
  • Protein binding: The drug is about 85% bound to plasma proteins.
  • Route of elimination: It is primarily excreted through the kidneys, with 75% eliminated in the urine and 15% eliminated in the feces.

Mirtazapine Drug Test

Many users may be worried about mirtazapine showing up on a drug test as this could expose abuse or the medical condition it is meant to treat. However, having Remeron in the system should not show up on a drug screening unless it is specifically designed to detect the drug. It is also not known to cause false-positive results.

remeron alternative drugs

What Are Mirtazapine Alternatives?

If someone is worried that mirtazapine is not right for them, they can look into Remeron alternatives. In general, alternate drugs are not inherently better or worse than Remeron. With that said, a patient might find certain mirtazapine alternatives to be better than the drug or not.

Trazodone vs. Mirtazapine

Trazodone is an antidepressant that works by modulating serotonin, while mirtazapine is a tetracyclic antidepressant, meaning it enhances monoamine neurotransmission. Both work for the treatment of depression and sleep disorders, but mirtazapine has more off-label uses. Trazodone tends to have more side effects.

Remeron vs. Zoloft

Zoloft is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, making it a different type of antidepressant than Remeron. The two treat many of the same conditions, but Remeron also stimulates appetite, which means which one is better might depend on the weight and eating habits of the user.

Mirtazapine vs. Xanax

Both of these drugs can treat anxiety but are from two different drug classes. Mirtazapine is an antidepressant, while Xanax is a benzodiazepine. When selecting between the two for anxiety treatment, it is critical to consider the potential for abuse and addiction, which is much greater with Xanax.

Remeron vs. Lexapro

Lexapro is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, making it a different type of antidepressant than Remeron. Overall, Lexapro has more side effects than Remeron. However, the increased appetite Remeron causes may be the reason to opt for Lexapro instead in certain patients.

man choosing remeron alternative

Remeron vs. Seroquel

Both Remeron and Seroquel treat depression. However, as Seroquel is an antipsychotic, it is generally used when depression is severe, or there are multiple mood disorders presenting at the same time. It is unusual for Remeron and Seroquel to be equally viable choices for treatment.

Remeron vs. Wellbutrin

Neither Remeron or Wellbutrin belongs to common antidepressant classes, with the former being a tetracyclic and Wellbutrin being an aminoketone. Both are similarly effective, but given its numerous side effects, many will opt not to use Wellbutrin.

Remeron vs. Prozac

Prozac is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, making it different from Remeron. However, Prozac is known to treat more conditions. The trade-off is that Prozac has more side effects.

Remeron vs. Effexor

Effexor is a selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, making it different from Remeron in its mechanism of action. Effexor is known to be effective in its depression treatment. However, it had many side effects, including sexual ones, which stops many users from taking it.

Remeron vs. Ambien

Ambien is a sedative hypnotic that is known to help people with insomnia sleep. Ultimately, Remeron and Ambien are equally effective at treating insomnia but are used in different ways. Ambien is meant to address it in the short term and should not be taken for more than a few weeks. Remeron, however, can be used over the long term.

Mirtazapine Prices

The Remeron cost can vary depending on where a person lives and how the manufacturer chooses to set their prices for a given quarter. Below is a comparison chart showing what a supply of the medication may cost.

Mirtazapine cost: tablets

Dose 15 tablets 30 tablets 60 tablets 90 tablets
7.5mg $27-$52 $45-$100 $71-$200 $97-$300
15mg $15-$65 $18-$105 $20-$186 $23-$226
30mg $13-$51 $22-$103 $27-$207 $32-$310
45mg $19-$42 $22-$76 $27-$143 $33-$148

Mirtazapine cost: orally disintegrating tabs

Dose 15 tablets 30 tablets 60 tablets 90 tablets
15mg $16-$40 $23-$82 $122-$184 $181-$285
30mg $26-$48 $33-$83 $49-$164 $64-$228
45mg $22-$43 $63-$86 $126-$185 $189-$294

Getting Help With Remeron Misuse

Remeron is a medication with legitimate therapeutic applications, but that does not stop people from abusing it. If someone is misusing the medication or considering it, they should seek help. Drug rehab centers offer the therapies needed for people to reframe their thinking and stop their abuse. Treatment for substance abuse is not easy, both mentally and physically. However, with the right help, it worth the resultant sober future.


Page Sources

  1. Mirtazapine. South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. 2015. https://www.slam.nhs.uk/media/510537/Mirtazapine.pdf.
  2. Remeron (Mirtazapine) Tablets: Drug Approval Package. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/nda/97/20-415s003_Remeron.cfm.
  3. Medication Guide REMERON®. Organon. 2009. https://www.fda.gov/media/72891/download.
  4. Remeron® (mirtazapine) Tablets. Schering Corporation. 2009. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2010/020415s023s024.pdf.
  5. Mirtazapine. Drug Bank. https://www.drugbank.ca/drugs/DB00370.

Published on: November 25th, 2019

Updated on: February 19th, 2020

About Author

Sharon Levy, MD, MPH

After successful graduation from Boston University, MA, Sharon gained a Master’s degree in Public Health. Since then, Sharon devoted herself entirely to the medical niche. Sharon Levy is also a certified addiction recovery coach.

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