Antidepressants News

Antidepressants are medications prescribed to treat depression, as well as some other mental health disorders. Most antidepressants work by controlling the level of certain chemicals in the brain, such as norepinephrine and serotonin. These chemicals impact mood, and often having a larger amount of the chemicals available helps restore the chemical balance in the brain and helps with depression.

There are a variety of types of antidepressants, and often different kinds work best for different people. Finding the right antidepressant (or combination of antidepressants) for an individual can be a trial-and-error process. It might take some time, and a few different approaches, to find the antidepressant that's right for a specific person.

Types of Antidepressants

Antidepressants are classified based on the brain chemicals that they will impact. These categories include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), tricyclic antidepressants and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). Each type of drug affects a different brain chemical or combination of brain chemicals to help with mood and behavior. There are also atypical antidepressants that aren’t as easy to classify but may still help with depression.

Benefits and Risks

When antidepressants are working, they can have a dramatic effect on people’s lives. People taking antidepressants may find that they can sleep better, fulfill their day-to-day obligations, interact with society more easily and even achieve a healthier weight. It’s important to be patient with antidepressants, however, as it takes time for them to be effective, and it may take a few tries before a person finds the right medication. All antidepressants have side effects, which could include anxiety, insomnia, vomiting and weight gain, so it’s important to speak with a doctor if the side effects of a prescribed antidepressant are problematic. The right antidepressant should offer relief from depression symptoms that far outweighs any side effects caused by the drug.

SOURCES: American Academy of Family Physicians; National MS Society

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Antidepressants and Weight

Commonly prescribed antidepressants increase the risk of weight gain for years, study finds.

Mom-to-Be's Antidepressants Tied to Kids' Psychiatric Woes

But study authors say findings need to be interpreted with caution

U.S. Antidepressant Use Jumps 65 Percent in 15 Years

Women nearly twice as likely to use the drugs as men, CDC report finds

Antidepressants in Pregnancy Tied to Slight Increase in Autism

But difference in risk is quite small, experts say

Some Medicines Boost Sensitivity to Sun

When taking medication, check with pharmacist to see if sun exposure is an issue

No Sign That Antidepressants in Pregnancy Harm Kids' Brains: Study

Large Swedish study found no link between mom's use of the drugs and kid's intellectual disability

Med Switch Not Always Best Choice With Tough Depression

Adding an antipsychotic or a second antidepressant may produce better results, researchers say

Depression Can Slow Hospital Patients' Recovery: Study

Screening for the mood disorder is important for successful healing, psychiatrist says

Antidepressants During Pregnancy Safe for Baby: Study

It finds newborns aren't more likely to be irritable, hard to feed or sleepless

What You Need to Know About Antidepressants

They work by affecting brain chemicals that regulate mood, FDA explains

Depression Often a Precursor to Falls in Elderly People

But study found proper dose of psychiatric drugs might erase that danger

Antidepressants and Autism Spectrum Disorder

Two new studies find no link between use of antidepressants during pregnancy and autism spectrum disorder.

Studies Question Link Between Mom's Antidepressant Use, Autism in Kids

After accounting for other factors that raise chances of the disorder, the increased risk disappeared

Patients Often Reject Drug-Only Psychiatric Treatment

Compliance more likely when doctors prescribe talk therapy, study finds

'Off-Label' Antidepressants Common, But Where's the Evidence?

One-third are prescribed for conditions like pain or migraine with little scientific backup, study says

Many Seniors Take Multiple Meds That Can Affect the Brain

Psychiatrist cautions doctors and patients to consider risks and benefits of each drug

Depression Often Untreated in Dialysis Patients

Sometimes it's the kidney doctors who nix antidepressants, study finds

1 in 6 U.S. Adults Takes a Psychiatric Drug: Study

Whether the medicines over-prescribed is up for debate, psychiatrists say

Depressed Women Less Likely to Get Best Breast Cancer Care: Study

Researchers aren't sure why, but urge doctors to monitor these patients carefully

Psychiatric Drugs May Reduce Ex-Prisoners' Violent Crime Rate

Medications used to treat addiction cut risk in half, study says

Mom-to-Be's Antidepressant Use May Be Tied to Speech Issues in Child

Study shows a link but can't prove cause and effect, and experts stress that overall risk is small

Many Depressed Adults Not Getting Treatment: Study

Reasons range from dismissal of symptoms to shame or stigma

Antidepressant No Help to Heart Failure Patients: Study

Depression in these cases may be caused by biological changes from the disease itself, researcher says

3 Treatments Seem to Help Combat Binge-Eating Disorder

Review finds these methods may aid those with the most common eating disorder in the U.S.

Antidepressants and Children

Most antidepressants are ineffective in children and teenagers, study finds.

Study Questions Use of Antidepressants for Children, Teens

They were seen as mostly ineffective and sometimes risky in these age groups

Antidepressants Not Just for Depression Any More

Other uses include insomnia, pain and anxiety, researchers say

Depression Common for Heart Attack Survivors, And More May Need Help

Swedish study found patients were often depressed, but fewer than half got treatment

Study Finds No Heart Risk From SSRI Antidepressants

Prozac actually appeared to protect against heart attack, researchers say

Antidepressant Effexor Linked to Postpartum Bleeding in Study

Other depression drugs known as SSRIs did not show risk, researchers say

Prenatal Antidepressant Use Not Linked to Infant Heart Defects: Study

Obesity, alcohol and illicit drugs are greater threats in pregnancy, researchers find

Did Studies Lack Key Data on Link Between Antidepressants, Youth Suicides?

New analysis finds much greater risk of aggression, self-harm

Certain Antidepressants May Be Linked to Bipolar Disorder: Study

Patients, doctors should discuss possible risk factors, experts say

Antidepressants in Pregnancy May Raise Autism Risk, Study Suggests

But depression, not medication, might be a possible trigger, experts say

Safe to Take Antidepressants With Tamoxifen: Study

No greater risk of breast cancer recurrence seen

Light Box Might Help Nonseasonal Depression, Too

Treatment for seasonal affective disorder could have broader application, study finds