Fortunately, many medications are available to treat depression. These medications include:
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
- Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
- Other monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
- Tricyclic antidepressants
- Miscellaneous other antidepressants.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
SSRIs are usually effective at treating depression and typically do not have many serious side effects. They work by increasing the level of serotonin available for cells of the brain. Antidepressant medications in this category include:
- Citalopram (Celexa®)
- Escitalopram (Lexapro®)
- Fluoxetine (Prozac®, Sarafem®, Selfemra™)
- Fluvoxamine (Luvox®, Luvox® CR)
- Paroxetine (Paxil®, Paxil CR®, Pexeva®, Brisdelle™)
- Sertraline (Zoloft®).
Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors
These antidepressants are similar to SSRIs, except that they also affect norepinephrine (another chemical in the brain). SNRIs used to treat depression include:
- Desvenlafaxine (Pristiq™)
- Duloxetine (Cymbalta®)
- Levomilnacipran (Fetzima™)
- Venlafaxine (Effexor®, Effexor XR®).
Milnacipran (Savella™) is an SNRI that is not approved for the treatment of depression (although it may be used off-label for this purpose).
Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors
In addition to Nardil, other MAOIs include:
Tricyclic antidepressants are another older class of antidepressants. Due to certain side effects, they are generally not recommended for elderly people. Depression medicines in this category include:
- Amitriptyline (Elavil®)
- Amoxapine (Asendin®)
- Clomipramine (Anafranil®)
- Desipramine (Norpramin®)
- Doxepin (Sinequan®)
- Imipramine (Tofranil®)
- Maprotiline (Ludiomil®)
- Nortriptyline (Pamelor®)
- Protriptyline (Vivactil®)
- Trimipramine (Surmontil®).
Several other antidepressants are available, including:
- Bupropion (Aplenzin™, Budeprion SR®, Budeprion XL®, Buproban®, Forfivo™ XL, Wellbutrin®, Wellbutrin SR®, Wellbutrin XL®, Zyban®), a norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor
- Mirtazapine (Remeron®)
- Nefazodone (Serzone®)
- Trazodone (Desyrel®) or trazodone ER (Oleptro™)
Sometimes, stimulant medications such as methylphenidate (Ritalin®) are used to treat depression when other medications have not helped, although stimulants are not approved for this use.