The list of depression medications keeps growing and includes Tricyclic antidpressants, MAOI's (monoamine oxidase inhibitors), tetracyclics (TeCAs), SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), and SNRI (serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors).
They are all believed to work by interacting with the brain's neurochemicals that contribute to depressive symptoms.
While they are all used to treat symptoms of depression, they are all chemically diverse and work in different ways by interacting with different brain chemicals.
They have improved over time, and the potential side effects have also improved over time to become less adverse.
A list of popular selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) includes Lexapro (escitalopram oxalate), Celexa, Luvox (fluvoxamine), Paxil (paroxetine), Prozac (fluoxetine), and Zoloft (sertraline).
The list of common monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) includes Nardil (phenelzine), and Parnate (tranylcypromine).
Tricyclic antidepressants include Sinequan/Adapin (doxepin), Anafranil (clomipramine), Elavil (amitriptyline), Ludiomil (maprotiline), Norpramin (desipramine), Pamelor (nortryptyline), Pertofrane (desipramine), Surmontil (trimipramine), Tofranil (imipramine), Endep (amitriptyline), and Vivactil (protriptyline).
All medications, including antidepressants, have side effects, both positive and negative. See this full overview of the effects of antidepressants.
In addition, antidepressants may cause weight changes in a small percentage of folks who take them. See this article for additional information about antidepressants and weight changes.
If you experience any side effects, report them to your prescribing doctor. If you experience a severe reaction, you should seek emergency medical attention.
There are a few points of caution if taking any drug on this list of depression medications. For example, there is an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors when SSRI antidepressants are taken by children, teenagers, and young adults. See this warning about the link between antidepressants and suicide.
In addition, there is an increased risk of birth defects when used by pregnant women during pregnancy. See this warning about antidepressants and pregnancy.
It is not recommended that antidepressants be used in conjunction with alcohol. For specific health risks regarding combining antidepressants with alcohol, see this full warning about mixing antidepressants and alcohol.
Remember that the full effect of antidepressant medications may not be evident for several weeks.
Do not rely on a primary care physician for antidepressants; they are best prescribed by a psychiatrist. Communicate any questions or concerns to your doctor, and remember to attend your medication monitoring sessions.
Follow the prescription exactly as written by your doctor. Do not alter doses. Never share or sell you medications, and never take any medications that were not prescribed for you.