Clinical depression is treated with a wide range of different medications. Zoloft, Prozac, SSRIs, TCAs, MAOIs—the different terms can confuse and bewilder. Antidepressants generally fall into three broad categories, each of which is described below.
Often, one type of medication will help depression, but not enough. It’s not unusual for patients to be prescribed a second medication to help “boost” the first drug’s effectiveness.
While this is especially likely in cases of major depression, combined medications may also be used for milder, but chronic forms, such as dysthymia and cyclothymia.
Common Brand Names of Antidepressants
New Antidepressants Continue to Be Developed
The categories listed above are by no means exhaustive. That is, your doctor could prescribe a drug that does not appear in any of the general categories mentioned.
New drug treatments for depression are being developed and tested in pharmacology and research labs around the world. In the U.S., drugs must receive FDA approval before entering the consumer market.
Your doctor will choose the drug that’s best for you.
When starting a medication, your doctor might adjust the drug dosage, depending on your reaction—this is not unusual. Most medications must be taken for a period of time before results are seen, so it’s important to report any problems or side effects to the prescribing physician.
Because some of these drugs have serious interaction effects—that is, if you take them with other medications, the result could be very damaging to you—never take antidepressants with any other medications or supplements without first consulting your physician, or that were prescribed for someone else.