Remeron has little name recognition. When you mention Prozac, Zoloft, Wellbutrin or Cymbalta to the average person, they can automantically tell you a thing or two about the medication or the commercial they saw, not so with Remeron (mirtazepine). Remeron's patent time was up sooner than most and it went generic earlier, something about it not getting marketed soon enough. Because it is out in generic form it will never get as much flashy advertising as the next new kid on the block. Antidepressants represent a large sector of pharmaceutiical monies so ads to promote them are quite prevalent.
Remeron is a great medication in my opinion. It works quicker than most (for severe anxiety I have seen results within one or two days and for antidepressant effects 10-14 days), it is very effective, even with previous medication failures, it doesn't seem to induce mania as much bipolar patients, it's great for anxiety and great when insomnia is problematic. I have had great sucess with both depression and anxiety. I have seen significant improvement in panic attacks that have been resistant to other treatments. One aspect that is unusual about this medication is that it seem to "plug up" anxiety receptors in the brain (competitive inhibition, for those of you who want a more technical term) and therefore approach anxiety in a different way than other medication. Like the SSRI's (Prozac, et al), it also increases seratonin. Unlike the SSRI's, however it doesn't adversely affect sex drive or function.
The downside to this medication is that it can be quite sedating and weight gain is possible. As far as the sedation is concerned, I didn't like the medication at first because my patients called me up the next day and told me that they had to call in to work beccause they couldn't wake up until noon the next day. I heard this so often I gave up on the medication. I was convinced to give it another chance when researchers were finding that the higher the dose of the medication the LESS sedation there was and that the extreme sedation was typically just a couple of days. It was therefore now recommended to be started at the middle dose (30mg) and not the low dose (15mg) and if sedation occurred, an increase of dose was recommended. It was counter-intuitive, but you know, it worked! It is typicially recommended to be started on a Friday night with the admonition that not much be scheduled for Saturday or Sunday morning in case it was too hard to get up. By Monday it should be better. Indeed, the strategy works! The increase in appetite was also supposed to be better at the higher doses but I really don't think that's true, at least in my patients. Appetite increases are the exception rather than the rule, however, so don't let that possible side effect get in the way of trying out a potentially great medication.