antidepressant

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Related to Antidepressants: Zoloft, Lexapro

antidepressant,

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.

antidepressant

[‚an·tē·di′pres·ənt]
(pharmacology)
A drug, such as imipramine and tranylcypromine, that relieves depression by increasing central sympathetic activity.

antidepressant

any of a class of drugs used to alleviate depression
References in periodicals archive ?
More specifically, the researchers divided the children into four groups depending on the mother's use of antidepressants before and during pregnancy.
Many women continue to be counseled to either stop breastfeeding while using antidepressants or to defer treatment with antidepressants if they wish to breastfeed.
Frequently, we see women with past histories of severe depression who have stopped antidepressants and who have started supplements as a substitute and who then relapse.
All of these findings suggest tricyclic antidepressant cardiotoxicity.
This relative frequency of dispensing of antidepressant prescriptions to this population raises public health concerns, given the high proportion of unplanned pregnancies, the lack of adequate information on the safety or risk of antidepressant use during pregnancy, and the reported possible association between the use of some antidepressants during early pregnancy and the occurrence of some major birth defects (1).
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After adjustment for age, body mass index, and menopausal status, no statistically significant associations were seen between invasive or in situ breast cancer and depression or antidepressant use, Katherine W Reeves, Ph.
Do not use tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) or venlafaxine.
Earlier work has shown the dangers of severe side effects including the serotonin syndrome when combining tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) or exacerbated TCA-related side effects when combining TCAs with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as paroxetine and fluoxetine (which is due to increased plasma TCA levels that result when SSRIs inhibit enzymes that metabolize TCAs).
Key clinical point: Antidepressants do not alter glucose levels in the long term.
The prescribing of antidepressants is making a comeback.