How Do Dopamine Reuptake Inhibitor Antidepressants Work?

Reviewed on 9/22/2021

How do dopamine reuptake inhibitor antidepressants work?

Dopamine reuptake inhibitor antidepressants are medications prescribed to treat depression. Dopamine reuptake inhibitors increase the levels of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine, also known as the “happy hormone,” is a chemical (neurotransmitter) involved in many functions such as pleasure sensation, memory, and learning.

Dopamine reuptake inhibitor antidepressants improve the mood by raising the levels and activity of dopamine and norepinephrine, another neurotransmitter, by preventing their reabsorption (reuptake), a natural process in the brain.

Dopamine also stimulates certain nerve cells (neurons) known as pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons, which results in reduced appetite and increased metabolic rate and energy expenditure.

Dopamine reuptake inhibitors are also combined with another medication naltrexone, which is an opioid antagonist. Naltrexone binds to proteins known as opioid receptors on the POMC neurons and enhances their activity. The combination regulates the dopamine reward system in the brain and reduces food cravings.

How are dopamine reuptake inhibitor antidepressants used?

Dopamine reuptake inhibitor antidepressants are oral tablets approved by the FDA for the treatment of the following conditions:

Off-label uses include:


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What are side effects of dopamine reuptake inhibitor antidepressants?

Side effects of dopamine reuptake inhibitor antidepressants may include the following:

Information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible side effects, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure these drugs do not cause any harm when you take them along with other medicines. Never stop taking your medication and never change your dose or frequency without consulting your doctor.

What are names of some dopamine reuptake inhibitor antidepressant drugs?

Generic and brand names of dopamine reuptake inhibitor antidepressant drugs include:


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