Antidepressants Medications List

Antidepressants Medications List

For the past 30 years the psychiatric community has relied on antidepressant drug therapy as the first-line treatment protocol for major depressive disorder. When Prozac burst on the scene in 1987 it was hailed as a miracle fix for this vexing mental health disorder. The idea of manipulating serotonin in the brain made so much sense that few doubted that this was the breakthrough so long awaited for treating depression

To date there are about 30 different antidepressants on the market. These drugs are big business, with upwards of $17 billion a year spent on these medications globally, according to an article in Time magazine. In the U.S., the rate of Americans taking antidepressants has nearly doubled since 2000, jumping from 7% of the population to 13% in 2014, the most recent data available. These drugs are typically used as a long-term treatment intervention, with 68% taking them for two years or more, and 25% taking antidepressants for 10 years or longer.

Controversy continues to swirl around just how effective these medications really are. In 2008 the results of an important clinical study called STAR*D was released. STAR*D, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health, revealed that antidepressant drug therapy is not as cut and dry as initially believed. It reported that only 30% of patients who trial the first antidepressant actually experience a reduction of symptoms. As continuing trials and dosage tweaks ensure, 50%-70% of patients may experience some relief.

Another drawback associated with antidepressant drug therapy is the long list of potential adverse effects attached to the drugs. These side effects may be so difficult to endure that the trial is discontinued altogether. However, the severity and number of side effects varies substantially among patients, with some patients tolerating the medications well.

Antidepressant drug therapy has a valid role to play in treating the symptoms of several different mental health conditions in addition to depression, such as anxiety disorders like panic disorder, phobias, OCD and social anxiety, trauma, as well as bulimia, and chronic pain. There is a very long antidepressants medications list, each drug designed to work slightly differently, offering mental health practitioners a multitude of treatment options.

Antidepressants Medications List

Antidepressants are broken down into classes. These classes include:

  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI)
  • Selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI)
  • Tricyclic antidepressants (TCA)
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI)
  • Atypical antidepressants


SSRIs are the most common class of drugs prescribed, and tend to have fewer side effects than other antidepressants. SSRIs affect serotonin levels but not the levels of other neurotransmitters, which is why they are considered “selective.”

Side effects of SSRIs include:

  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Agitation
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Weight gain or loss

The list of SSRIs includes:

  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • Paroxetine (paxil)
  • Fluvoxamine (Luvox)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft)
  • Escitalopram (Lexapro)
  • Volazodone (Viibrid)
  • Vortioxetine (brintellix)


SNRIs block the reabsorption of both serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain.

Side effects of SNRIs include:

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors

The list of SNRIs includes:

  • Desvenlafaxine (Pristiq)
  • Duloxetine (Cymbalta)
  • Venlafaxine (Effexor)
  • Venlafaxine XR (Effexor XR)
  • Milnacipran (Savella)
  • Levomilnacipran (Fetzima)


TCAs were among the first antidepressants on the market, and tend to have more side effects associated with them. TCAs work by blocking the reabsorption of serotonin and norepinephrine, as well as muscarinic M1, histamine H1, and alpha-adrenergic receptors.

Side effects of TCAs include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Tachycardia
  • Delirium
  • Memory problems
  • Urinary retention
  • Weight gain
  • Seizures
  • Bone fractures
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Sweating
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Orthostatic hypotension

The list of TCAs includes:

  • Desipramine (Norpramin)
  • Doxepine (Sinequan)
  • Amitriptyline (Elavil)
  • Amoxapine
  • Clomipramine (Anafranil)
  • Protriptyline (Vivactil)
  • Maprotiline (Ludiomil)
  • Trimipramine (Surmontil)


MAOIs are an older class of antidepressants. These block the activity of monoamine oxidase, which is an enzyme that breaks down serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine in the brain and body.

Side effects of MAOIs include:

  • Weight gain
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Postural hypotension
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior
  • Food and drug interactions that cause hypertensive crisis

Atypical Antidepressants

Atypical antidepressants are a group of drugs each having a unique mechanism, therefore cannot be included in the other classes of antidepressants. These drugs also affect the levels of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin in the brain.

Side effects of atypical antidepressants vary according to the specific drug, but side effects among these drugs includes:

  • Drowsiness
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dry mouth
  • Weight gain
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Liver failure
  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors

List of Atypical antidepressants includes:

  • Bupropion (Wellbutrin)
  • Nefazodone (Serzone)
  • Trazodone (Desyrel, Oleptro)
  • Vortioxetine (Brintellix_
  • Vilazodone (Viibryd)

TMS Therapy Provides a Drug-Free Option to Antidepressants

As is evident when reviewing the antidepressants medications list and their side effects, these drugs can potentially cause serious adverse effects that can be difficult to bear. Considering the fairly tepid rate of efficacy with antidepressant therapy, it is to be noted that a drug-free depression treatment option is available to individuals who were not helped with antidepressants.

This treatment is called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). TMS is a brain stimulation technique that has been shown in a large number of worldwide clinical studies to help those patients who are medication-resistant. TMS is noninvasive, safe, well tolerated, and effective in reducing the symptoms of depression.

Holistic Treatment Options

For individuals seeking natural methods for treating depression, here are some recommendations:

  • Exercise. The many physical and mental health benefits attributed to regular exercise are well documented. Exercise increases the level of endorphins, as well as dopamine and serotonin, all which impact mood, sleep quality, and energy level.
  • Diet. A diet rich in foods that have high omega-3 fatty acids can increase serotonin levels. These foods include fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, and tuna, as well as Brussels sprouts, spinach, soybeans, eggs, and dairy.
  • Supplements. Some supplements may help with depression symptoms, such as St. John’s Wort, SAMe, L-theanine, and fish oil.

Anew Era Psychiatry Leading Mental Health Provider

Anew Era Psychiatry is a provider of expert mental health services iin Southern California and Austin, Texas. The team of psychiatrists and therapists are dedicated to helping individuals manage the symptoms associated with a mental health disorder, using a variety of treatment elements, including antidepressant drug therapy, psychotherapy, and TMS therapy. For more information about how our team can help you, please reach out to Anew Era Psychiatry today at (949) 577-6853.

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