Types of Antidepressants
There are many different antidepressant types available on the market today. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors are some of the newer (and more commonly used) depression medications. Tricyclic antidepressants and monoamine oxidase inhibitors are older antidepressants that may carry higher risks for side effects and other reactions.
Fortunately, there are many medications available to treat depression. Different types of antidepressants include:
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
- Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
- Tricyclic antidepressants
- Miscellaneous other antidepressants.
SSRIs are usually very effective at treating depression and usually do not have many serious side effects. They are probably the most popular antidepressant type currently available. They work by increasing the level of serotonin available for cells of the brain. SSRIs include:
- Citalopram (Celexa®)
- Escitalopram (Lexapro®)
- Fluoxetine (Prozac®, Sarafem®, Selfemra™)
- Fluvoxamine (Luvox®, Luvox® CR)
- Paroxetine (Paxil®, Paxil CR®, Pexeva®, Brisdelle™)
- Sertraline (Zoloft®).
These antidepressants are very similar to SSRIs, except that they also affect norepinephrine (another chemical in the brain). SNRIs used to treat depression include:
- Duloxetine (Cymbalta®)
- Desvenlafaxine (Pristiq®)
- Levomilnacipran (Fetzima™)
- Venlafaxine (Effexor®, Effexor XR®).
In general, SNRIs tend to be more stimulating than SSRIs. This means that they have more of a tendency to cause insomnia, jitteriness, or other similar side effects. There is one SNRI, milnacipran (Savella®) that is not approved for treating depression, although it may be used "off-label" for this purpose.