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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 ?
Sales of antidepressant drugs now exceed $20 billion a year, "despite low rates of recovery, high rates of relapse, and an astonishing array of serious side effects.
What we have found is that there are clear synergies between antidepressant drugs and L-methylfolate that result in better patient outcomes earlier in therapy.
Riedel will provide an overview of the company and discuss its two clinical-stage rapid-acting antidepressant drug candidates, GLYX-13 and NRX-1074.
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The court heard he had been taking the antidepressant drug Seroxat, which should not be taken with alcohol.
But they're not comparable in quality to the kinds of studies necessary to have a new antidepressant drug approved.
In-depth analysis of the current and future antidepressant drug class market across the US, Japan, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK.
Interestingly, the manufacturer of a popular antidepressant drug funded a study that appears to have been designed in such a way as to make St.
3 times the risk of suicide attempts, compared with no antidepressant drug treatment.
This is despite the fact that the evidence base for some of this is not impressive: eg antidepressant drug treatment trials often report placebo responses only slightly below active drug responses.
A MERSEYSIDE law firm could be bringing a case on behalf of dozens of people who say they have become hooked on an antidepressant drug.