Types Of Antidepressants
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
SSRIs are the most widely prescribed type of antidepressants. They’re usually preferred over other antidepressants, as they cause fewer side effects. An overdose is also less likely to be serious.
Serotonin-noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
SNRIs are similar to SSRIs. They were designed to be a more effective antidepressant than SSRIs. However, the evidence that SNRIs are more effective in treating depression is uncertain. It seems that some people respond better to SSRIs, while others respond better to SNRIs.
Examples of SNRIs include duloxetine (Cymbalta and Yentreve) and venlafaxine (Efexor).
Noradrenaline and specific serotonergic antidepressants ()
NASSAs may be effective for some people who are unable to take SSRIs. The side effects of NASSAs are similar to those of SSRIs, but they’re thought to cause fewer sexual problems. However, they may also cause more drowsiness at first.
7The main NASSA prescribed in the UK is mirtazapine (Zispin).
Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs)
TCAs are an older type of antidepressant. They’re no longer usually recommended as the first treatment for depression because they can be more dangerous if an overdose is taken. They also cause more unpleasant side effects than SSRIs and SNRIs.
Exceptions are sometimes made for people with severe depression that fail to respond to other treatments. TCAs may also be recommended for other mental health conditions, such as OCD and bipolar disorder.
Examples of TCAs include amitriptyline (Tryptizol), clomipramine (Anafranil), imipramine (Tofranil), lofepramine (Gamanil) and nortriptyline (Allegron).
Some types of TCAs, such as amitriptyline, can also be used to treat chronic nerve pain.
Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
MAOIs are an older type of antidepressant that are rarely used nowadays.
They can cause potentially serious side effects so should only be prescribed by a specialist doctor.
Examples of MAOIs include tranylcypromine, phenelzine and isocarboxazid.