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The Comprehensive List of Antidepressants

Note: Further reading on depression and depressive disorders is available at the bottom of this page.

Antidepressants are a class of drugs that reduce symptoms of depressive disorders by correcting chemical imbalances of neurotransmitters in the brain. Chemical imbalances may be responsible for changes in mood and behavior.

Neurotransmitters are vital, as they are the communication link between nerve cells in the brain. Neurotransmitters reside within vesicles found in nerve cells, which are released by one nerve and taken up by other nerves. Neurotransmitters not taken up by other nerves are taken up by the same nerves that released them. This process is called "reuptake." The prevalent neurotransmitters in the brain specific to depression are serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine (also called noradrenaline).

In general, antidepressants work by inhibiting the reuptake of specific neurotransmitters, hence increasing their levels around the nerves within the brain, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), antidepressants that will affect serotonin levels in the brain.

Monoamime Oxidase Inhibitor (MAOIs)
Monoamine oxidase inhibitors are medications included in one of a potent class of medications used to treat depression by increasing the amount of norepinephrine and serotonin in the brain. Patients who take medications in this class must avoid certain foods and medications to avoid dangerous interactions as directed by a doctor. Serious side effects may include: headache, heart racing, chest pain, neck stiffness, nausea and vomiting. If a patient should experience any of these symptoms, seek medical care immediately.

Brand Name Generic Name
Parnate tranylcypromine sulfate
Nardil phenelzine sulfate
Marplan isocarboxazid

Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCAs)
The following medicines fall under a class of drugs called tricyclic antidepressants, or TCAs. TCAs are one of a class of medications used to treat depression. The tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) are also used for some forms of anxiety, fibromyalgia, and the control of chronic pain. Potential side effects of TCAs are: dry mouth, blurred vision, increased fatigue and sleepiness, weight gain, muscle twitching (tremors), constipation, bladder problems such as urine retention, dizziness, daytime drowsiness, increased heart rate, sexual problems. Learn more about how TCAs help.

Brand Name Generic Name
Anafranil clomipramine hydrochloride
Elavil (discontinued, US) amitriptyline hydrochloride
Norpramin desipramine hydrochloride
Pamelor nortriptyline hydrochloride
Sinequan doxepin hydrochloride
Surmontil trimipramine maleate

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
The following drugs fall under a class of antidepressant medications called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. Potential side effects of SSRIs are sexual problems including low sex drive or inability to have an orgasm (common but reversible), dizziness, headaches, nausea right after a dose, insomnia and jitters. SSRIs and what they do.

Brand Name Generic Name
Celexa citalopram hydrobromide
Lexapro escitalopram oxalate
Luvox fluvoxamine maleate
Paxil paroxetine hydrochloride
Prozac fluoxetine hydrochloride
Zoloft sertraline hydrochloride

Other Common Antidepressant Medications
The drugs in the table below increase the levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain. For these medications common side effects are: drowsiness, blurred vision, lightheadedness, strange dreams, constipation, fever/chills, headache, increased or decreased appetite, tremor, dry mouth, nausea. Remeron can be sedating. Cymbalta may increase sweating and blood pressure and also cause fatigue and reduced energy.

Brand Name Generic Name
Cymbalta duloxetine hydrochloride
Effexor venlafaxine hydrochloride
Remeron mirtazapine

Wellbutrin may increase the amounts of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain. Weight loss, decreased appetite, restlessness, insomnia, anxiety, constipation, dry mouth, diarrhea, dizziness Wellbutrin is much less likely to cause the weight gain or sexual problems seen with other antidepressants.

Brand Name Generic Name
Wellbutrin bupropion hydrochloride

Desyrel is a drug that blocks various neurotransmitter chemicals to some degree. Desyrel may cause drowsiness, fatigue, tremor, headache, dry mouth, nausea and vomiting.

Brand Name Generic Name
Desyrel trazodone hydrochloride

Further Reading: Common Depressive Disorders and Related Conditions

Last Editorial Review: 12/28/2009 3:46:33 PM

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