Antidepressants List

Antidepressants are medications which are primarily used in the treatment of depression, although they may have other applications as well, such as treating anxiety disorders, eating disorders, chronic pain, painful periods, snoring, migraines, drug abuse and sleep disorders.

They are believed to work by affecting levels of mood-regulating substances in the brain called neurotransmitters.

They are generally sorted into classes based on which neurotransmitters they affect, although certain older antidepressants, such as the tricyclics, are designated based on their chemical structure.

The following is a list of antidepressants, sorted by class, which might be prescribed in the United States for the treatment of depression. Generic names, as well as common brand names (listed in parentheses), are provided for each antidepressant. If you would like to learn more about an individual medication, you may follow the link to view more detailed information about that drug.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)

Anti Depressants
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Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are believed to exert their antidepressant effects by temporarily preventing nerve cells from reabsorbing serotonin, which allows more serotonin to remain in the synapse between the cells where it can be used.

The following antidepressants are classified as SSRIs:

  • Citalopram (Celexa)
  • Escitalopram (Lexapro, Cipralex)
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • Fluvoxamine (Luvox)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil, Seroxat)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft, Lustral)

Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)

Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are believed to work in a similar fashion to SSRIs, except that they are also able to block the reuptake of a second neurotransmitter called norepinephrine.

The following SNRI antidepressants are currently approved for treating depression in the United States:

  • Desvenlafaxine (Pristiq)
  • Duloxetine (Cymbalta)
  • Venlafaxine (Effexor)

Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)

Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) work by inhibiting the enzyme monoamine oxidase. Because monoamine oxidase breaks down the neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, its inhibition leads to more of these chemicals being present in the brain, where they can presumably regulate mood.

MAOIs come in two types: reversible and irreversible. Which category they fall into depends on upon whether they permanently block the activity of monoamine oxidase. Those of the irreversible type, which does permanently block monoamine oxidase, are rarely prescribed due to potentially lethal interactions with a substance called tyramine, which is found in certain foods, such as aged cheeses and cured meats.

Irreversible monoamine oxidase inhibitors:

  • Isocarboxazid (Marplan)
  • Phenelzine (Nardil)
  • Selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam)
  • Tranylcypromine (Parnate)

Reversible monamine oxidase inhibitors:

  • Moclobemide (Aurorix, Manerix)
  • Pirlindole (Pirazidol)


The tricyclics are an older class of antidepressants which block the reuptake of norepinephrine and serotonin. Unlike the other antidepressant classes, their name is derived from their chemical structure, which consists of three interconnected rings of atoms.

This class of antidepressant can be further divided, depending upon the structure of their attached functional groups, called amines.

Tertiary amine tricyclic antidepressants:

  • Amitriptyline (Elavil, Endep)
  • Clomipramine (Anafranil)
  • Doxepin (Adapin, Sinequan)
  • Imipramine (Tofranil)
  • Trimipramine (Surmontil)

Secondary amine tricyclic antidepressants:

  • Desipramine (Norpramin)
  • Nortriptyline (Pamelor, Aventyl, Noritren)
  • Protriptyline (Vivactil)


The following antidepressants do not fall into any distinct category and have modes of action which are unique to them.

  • Bupropion (Alpenzin, Budeprion SR, Budeprion XL, Buproban, Wellbutrin, Wellbutrin SR, Wellbutrin XR, Zyban)
  • Maprotiline
  • Mirtazapine (Remeron, RemeronSolTab)
  • Reboxetine (Edronax, Vestra)
  • Trazodone (Desyrel, DesyrelDividose, Oleptro, Trazodone D)
  • Vilazodone (Viibryd)


"Drugs, Diseases and Procedures : Drugs, OTC and Herbals: Psychiatrics." Medscape Reference. WebMD LLC. 2013. Accessed: May 22, 2013.

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