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Definition of Antidepressants

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Antidepressants: Anything, and especially a drug, used to prevent or treat depression.

The available antidepressant drugs include the SSRIs or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, MAOIs or monoamine oxidase inhibitors, tricyclic antidepressants, tetracyclic antidepressants, and others.

Examples of SSRIs or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors include:

  • citalopram (Celexa, Cipramil)
  • escitalopram oxalate (Cipralex, Lexapro)
  • fluvoxamine maleate (Luvox)
  • paroxetine (Paxil, Seroxat, Aropax)
  • fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • sertraline (Zoloft, Lustral)

Examples of MAOIs or monoamine oxidase inhibitors include:

  • phenelzine (Nardil)
  • tranylcypromine (Parnate)

Examples of tricyclic antidepressants include:

  • amitriptyline (Elavil, Endep)
  • clomipramine (Anafranil)
  • desipramine (Norpramin, Pertofrane)
  • doxepin (Adapin, Sinequan)
  • imipramine (Tofranil)
  • nortryptyline (Pamelor)
  • protriptyline (Vivactil)
  • trimipramine (Surmontil)

The tetracyclic antidepressant is maprotiline (Ludiomil).

Other antidepressant drugs include:

  • bupropion (Wellbutrin)
  • buspirone (Buspar)
  • duloxetine (Cymbalta)
  • mirtazapine (Remeron, Zispin, Avanza, Norset, Remergil)
  • nefazodone (Serzone)
  • reboxetine (Edronax, Vestra)
  • trazodone (Desyrel)
  • venlafaxine (Effexor)

Antidepressants should not be used unless the depression is severe and/or other treatments have failed. As with all drugs, the use of antidepressants requires monitoring for side effects, and suicide should be considered a possible side effect of the newer antidepressants.


Depression is a(n) __________ . See Answer
Reviewed on 12/21/2018

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