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Related to Anti-depressants: Zoloft, Lexapro


any of a wide range of drugs used to treat psychic depressiondepression,
in psychiatry, a symptom of mood disorder characterized by intense feelings of loss, sadness, hopelessness, failure, and rejection. The two major types of mood disorder are unipolar disorder, also called major depression, and bipolar disorder, whose sufferers are
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. They are given to elevate mood, counter suicidal thoughts, and increase the effectiveness of psychotherapypsychotherapy,
treatment of mental and emotional disorders using psychological methods. Psychotherapy, thus, does not include physiological interventions, such as drug therapy or electroconvulsive therapy, although it may be used in combination with such methods.
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. Before the introduction of such drugs in the late 1950s, most patients with major depression had no recourse but hospitalization; only 45% improved after one year. In contrast, 80%–90% of such patients can expect significant relief from depression with one of the medications now prescribed.

Antidepressants act on the flow of the neurotransmitters epinephrineepinephrine
, hormone important to the body's metabolism, also known as adrenaline. Epinephrine, a catecholamine, together with norepinephrine, is secreted principally by the medulla of the adrenal gland.
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, serotoninserotonin
, organic compound that was first recognized as a powerful vasoconstrictor occurring in blood serum. It was partially purified, crystallized, and named in 1948, and its structure was deduced a year later.
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, and norepinephrinenorepinephrine
, a neurotransmitter in the catecholamine family that mediates chemical communication in the sympathetic nervous system, a branch of the autonomic nervous system.
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 across neural synapsessynapse
, junction between various signal-transmitter cells, either between two neurons or between a neuron and a muscle or gland. A nerve impulse reaches the synapse through the axon, or transmitting end, of a nerve cell, or neuron.
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. Common antidepressants include monamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), tricyclics such as imipramine (Tofranil) and amitriptyline (Elavil), and the newer selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) as fluoxetine (Prozac) and sertraline HCL (Zoloft). Venlafaxine (Effexor) inhibits both serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake.

The choice of antidepressant often has more to do with its side effects (variously sedation, constipation, hypotension, tachycardia, weight gain, sexual dysfunction) than efficacy, as they are generally regarded to be equally effective. The newer drugs, especially SSRIs, are tolerated better and are currently by far the most widely prescribed, but SSRIs also appear to be less effective in children and teenagers and may cause some of them to become suicidal.


A drug, such as imipramine and tranylcypromine, that relieves depression by increasing central sympathetic activity.


any of a class of drugs used to alleviate depression
References in periodicals archive ?
What the researchers found is that anti-depressants have negative health effects on all processes normally regulated by serotonin.
The number of people in the region taking anti-depressants has risen by 32% since 2008 and now costs the region's health services more than pounds 15.
Tricyclic drugs, which account for almost a third of all prescriptions for anti-depressants, cut the risk of bowel cancer by between 16% and 21%, according to a study.
Figures obtained by the BBC under the Freedom of Information Act showed the rate of prescribing anti-depressants was just under one in 10 of patients in Rhondda Cynon Taf, Blaenau Gwent and Merthyr Tydfil.
But in some serious cases anti-depressants can transform youngsters' lives - and it doesn't mean they will be on medication forever.
He said there was a "timeline of bodily output", based on known rates of hair growth, that ruled out any use of anti-depressants by Kate in the last eight months.
The researchers looked at four commonly-used anti-depressants and the clinical trials submitted to gain licensing approval.
He said that the absence of effective, long-term treatments meant that doctors were now prescribing anti-depressants in record numbers.
But Dr John Canning, secretary of Cleveland Local Medical Committee, said the high levels of anti-depressants do not mean the area is the most depressed.
Toxicologist Dr Simon Elliott said high levels of anti-depressants were found in Mrs Barry's blood.
Pointers supporting use of anti-depressants would be constant, unremitting anxiety that's interfering with her ability to live normally, sleep disturbance, lack of appetite and weight loss, inability to work, loss of motivation and energy, sadness and tearfulness and further episodes of panic.
She had been prescribed the anti-depressant Clomipramine, which she regularly took herself.

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