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Doctor Prescribed Medication for Major Depression

IV. Medication: The most effective medication used to treat depression is the antidepressant. An antidepressant needs to be taken for at least 2 to 4 weeks in order to start working and between 6 and 12 weeks to have a full effect.

The role of the antidepressant is to correct the neurotransmitter imbalance involved in depression. These include: serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. The antidepressants used to treat major depression include:

A. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) is a group of antidepressants that correct the serotonin imbalance by blocking the reuptake of the serotonin from the synapse to the nerve and artificially increasing the serotonin that is available in the synapse.

The selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors include: fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), paroxetine (Paxil), citalopram (Celexa), escitalopram (Lexapro), and fluvoxamine (Luvox). The common side effects of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors include: gastrointestinal problems and headaches, and in some cases, can cause insomnia, anxiety, and agitation.

B. Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) is the second most commonly prescribed antidepressants after SSRIs that treat depression. These drugs work by blocking the reuptake of both serotonin and norepinephrine from the synapse into the nerve, and increase the amount of both neurotransmitters that participate in signal transmission.

The serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors include: venlafaxine (Effexor) and duloxetine (Cymbalta).

C. Norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor (NDRI). The most prescribed antidepressant from this group is buspar (Wellbutrin, Buprion), which blocks the reuptake of dopamine and norepinephrine.

D. Mirtazapine (Remeron) is an agent that targets specific serotonin and norepinephrine receptors in the brain increasing (indirectly) the activity of several circuits in the brain.

E. Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) is a group of antidepressants that work similar with the SNRIs, but are not used anymore as a first-line treatment because of their high rate of side effects. These antidepressants are usually prescribed when other antidepressants do not work.

Tricyclic antidepressants include: amitriptyline (Elavil, Limbitrol), desipramine (Norpramin), doxepin (Sinequan), imipramine (Norpramin, Tofranil), nortriptyline (Pamelor, Aventyl), and protriptyline (Vivactil).

Some of the tricyclic side effects include: drowsiness (Elavil), anxiety and restlessness (Vivactil), heart problems, blurred vision, dry mouth, constipation, weight gain, dizziness when changing position, increased sweating, difficulty urinating, changes in sexual desire, decrease in sexual ability, muscle twitches, fatigue, and weakness.

Return to: Main Article: Major Depression.

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Are you suffering from depression? Do you want to get help? Contact Tulsa Therapist Alina Morrow, LPC-S, today to make an appointment and get the help and relief you deserve. You can reach me by texting or calling 918-403-8873 or by Email.

Page Last Updated: June 6, 2021