Question: What groups of medications may be effective for treating depression in adults?
Answer: There are many types of medication that can be helpful for treating depression. There are several types of antidepressants available.
And for the most part, they're very similar in terms of their ability to treat depression. But there are different classes of antidepressants that can vary in terms of their side effect profiles, and in terms of what types of symptoms they may best address.
One of the most commonly prescribed classes of antidepressants is a class of medications called SSRIs, which stands for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. And this is a class of antidepressant that includes some of the most well known antidepressant medications such as Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa, and Lexapro. And they're commonly prescribed because they tend to be well-tolerated. And they're very effective for treating depression and other types of mental illness. But there are many other classes of antidepressants available. There are older classes of antidepressants called tricyclic antidepressants and MAO inhibitors, or monoamine oxidase inhibitors. They're used less commonly nowadays because their side effects profiles tend to be a little more troublesome. But they're also very effective and there's somewhat of a misconception that older antidepressants are less effective, and that's actually not true.
All of these antidepressants have been shown to be very effective, but typically we prefer the newer ones, just because in terms of side effects they're easier to tolerate.