Definition of Antidepressants

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:

Examples of MAOIs or monoamine oxidase inhibitors include:

  • phenelzine (Nardil)
  • tranylcypromine (Parnate)

Examples of tricyclic antidepressants include:

The tetracyclic antidepressant is maprotiline (Ludiomil).

Other antidepressant drugs include:

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.


Last Editorial Review: 6/14/2012

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