Antidepressants: drugs used to treat "depression." (NCIt) Mood-stimulating drugs used primarily in the treatment of affective disorders and related conditions. (MeSH)

Prescription drugs that are used to reduce the symptoms associated with "depression" - hopelessness, guilt, dejection, suicidal thoughts, difficulty concentrating, and disruptions in sleep, energy, appetite, and sexual desire. (Hockenbury 579) (They) elevate the mood of people suffering from depression. (Cardwell, 198)


First Generation Antidepressants: alleviate depression by increasing the availability of “norepinephrine” and “serotonin” in the brain. Can produce numerous side effects such as weight gain, dizziness, dry mouth and eyes, and sedation. (Hockenbury, 579)

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor (MAO Inhibitor): a type of drug used to treat depression. It stops the breakdown of certain chemicals in the brain that help improve a person's mood. A monoamine oxidase inhibitor is a type of antidepressant. (NCIt) Can interact with a chemical found in many foods that can result in dangerously high blood pressure, leading to stroke or even death. (Hockenbury, 579)

Tricyclics: substances used in the treatment of depression. These drugs block the uptake of norepinephrine and serotonin into “axon terminals” and may block some subtypes of serotonin, (“adrenaline”), and “histamine” receptors. However the mechanism of their antidepressant effects is not clear because the therapeutic effects usually take weeks to develop and may reflect compensatory changes in the “central nervous system.” (MeSH) Because tricyclics affect the “cardiovascular system,” an overdose can be fatal. (Hockenbury, 579)

Second Generation Antidepressants: includes ‘trazodone’ and ‘buproprion.’ Although chemically different, these were no more effective than the 1st generation ones, and they turned out to have many of the same side effects. (Hockenbury, 579) 

Wellbutrin: trade name for ‘buproprion.’ (Hockenbury, 579) Used to treat depression. It is also used as part of a support program to help people stop smoking. This medicine may be used to prevent depression in patients with “seasonal affective disorder,” which is sometimes called ‘winter depression.’ Bupropion is sold under different brand names for different uses. (PubMedHealth1)

Third Generation Antidepressants: “selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.” Primarily affect the availability of serotonin. Act much more selectively in targeting specific serotonin pathways in the brain. (Hockenbury, 579)

Cymbalta: new antidepressant that is best classified as a ‘dual-reuptake inhibitor.’ Affects levels of both serotonin and norepinephrine. (Hockenbury, 579) Used to treat depression and anxiety. Used for pain caused by nerve damage associated with “diabetes.” Also used to treat “fibromyalgia” and “chronic pain” that is related to muscles and bones. (PubMed Health1) Editor’s note - generic name ‘duloxetine.’

Effexor: a dual-reuptake inhibitor. Affects levels of both serotonin and norepinephrine. (Hockenbury, 579) Used to treat depression. It is also used to treat “general anxiety disorder,”  “social anxiety disorder,” and panic disorder. (PubMedHealth1) Inhibits neuronal reuptake of norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin. (NCIt) Editor’s note - generic name ‘venlafaxine hydrochloride.’

Paxil: antidepressant drug that acts by prolonging the action of serotonin. Taken for the treatment of depression, "obsessive-compulsive disorder,"  "panic disorder,"  "post-traumatic stress disorder," and some other anxiety disorders. (OxfordMed) a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) with antidepressant and (antianxiety) properties. (NCI2) Trade name for the SSRI is ‘paroxetine.’ (Hockenbury, 579) 

Prozac: first released selective seratonin reuptake inhibitor. Has less side effects than the 1st and 2nd generation drugs, but can have headaches, nervousness, difficulty sleeping, loss of appetite, and sexual dysfunction. By the early 1990’s, Prozac had become the best-selling antidepressant in the world. Trade name for ‘fluoxetin.’ (Hockenbury, 579) May help control anxiety by reducing the ability of inputs to the “amygdala” to activate 'fear circuits.' Drugs like Prozac may reduce exaggerated fear and anxiety in psychiatric disorders by enhancing the ability of serotonin to facilitate "GABA”  “inhibition" in the presence of elevated “cortisol.” (LeDoux, 63-64)

Zoloft: an antidepressant drug that acts by prolonging the action of serotonin. (OxfordMed) Trade name for the SSRI ‘sertraline.’  (Hockenbury, 579) Used to treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder,  post-traumatic stress disorder, and social anxiety disorder. Belongs to a group of medicines known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. It works by increasing the activity of a chemical called serotonin in the brain. (PubMedHealth1) Also referred to as ‘sertraline.’