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Related to Antidepressants: 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
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They analyzed 26 studies assessing the effects of antidepressants on various plastic surgery risks, including:
Neither depression nor antidepressant use is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer among participants in the Nurses' Health Study, according to an analysis of data from 67,120 women enrolled in the ongoing prospective cohort study.
In general, anxious people and suicidal people don't do as well on antidepressants.
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The results from this study do not support that antidepressants are more effective in the treatment of bipolar disorder.
Maternal use of various types of antidepressants including zoloft, paxil and prozac before and after conceiving the child was analysed and recorded.
An inquest in Chichester last year concluded he took his own life following the prescription of antidepressants.
The study did not conclude whether the widely prescribed medications are responsible because some antidepressants lead to weight gain - a large driver of type 2 diabetes.
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Antidepressant exposure was significantly associated with a shorter gestation, and preterm delivery was more common among women taking antidepressants, whether or not they were compared with all women not exposed to antidepressants or just depressed women who did not take antidepressants during pregnancy.
The adherence study focused on 225 HIV-positive veterans with depression, including 192 (85%) taking antiretrovirals, 146 (65%) taking antidepressants, and 113 (50%) taking both antiretrovirals and antidepressants.
To the extent that antidepressants are being prescribed for uses not supported by clinical evidence, there may be a need to improve providers' prescribing practices, revamp drug formularies, or undertake broad reforms of the healthcare system that will increase communication between primary care providers and mental health specialists," adds Mojtabai.