The Most Popular Antidepressants Doctors Are Prescribing in 2022
Category: Drug Information
Posted on September 30, 2022
Scott is passionate about health and wellness, and enjoys writing on various topic surrounding these fields. Scott lives in Seattle and spends his free time restoring old furniture and playing pickleball with his friends.
The Most Popular Antidepressants Doctors Are Prescribing in 2022
Antidepressants are one of the most frequently prescribed medications, with over 17 million people prescribed in the US alone.
These medications can be a life-changing drug for those that experience depression. Although there are many recognizable brand names like Prozac, there are several other popular brand names that doctors prescribe.
In this article, we'll cover all of the most popular antidepressants to help you make an informed choice for your medication.
Keep reading to learn more.
What Are Antidepressants?
Antidepressants are medications that is used to treat clinical depression. It is also used for obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Antidepressants fall into five different categories that all have different functionalties. They include:
- Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs)
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
- Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
- Atypical antidepressants
Although they work differently, one thing that they have in common is that they allow the brain to have more space for monoamine neurotransmitters. This helps regulate your emotions, mood, and behavior. People with depression have low levels monomamine neurotransmitters.
The Most Popular Antidepressants In Each Category
Let's take a look at the different types of antidepressants and the most commonly used ones in each class.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) do just what their name describes: they prevent the reuptake of serotonin. This lets the chemical become more readily available. It helps relieve depression by boosting low levels of serotonin.
SSRIs that are most commonly prescribed by doctors include the following:
- Prozac (fluoxetine)
- Celexa (citalopgram)
- Zoloft (sertraline)
- Paxil (paroxetine)
- Lexapro (escitalopram)
Most of these drugs are very similar when it comes to their function in the body. However, they have subtle differences that might make one more well-suited for your needs than others.
It's important to note that SSRIs take a while to build up in the body to have a noticeable effect. It can take weeks or even months to find the right drug and dosage that helps you the most.
Another class of common antidepressants are serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). These drugs block the reuptake of two different neurotransmitters: norepinephrine and serotonin.
The most commonly prescribed antidepressants in this category include:
- Pristiq (desvenlafaxine)
- Strattera (atomoxetine)
- Ultram (tramadol)
- Fetzima (levomilnacipran)
- Cymbalta (duloxetine)
- Effexor (venlafaxine)
- Savella (milnacipran)
Although Stratterra falls under the SNRI class, it is used to treat ADHD, not anxiety or depression.
Effexor (venlafaxine) is one of the most commonly prescribed SNRIs. Although it is very effective, it also causes nausea and vomiting at a higher rate than others. It may also increase heart rate and blood pressure.
Cymbalta (duloxetine) has also been known to cause liver failure, so those that have liver problems should avoid it. This also goes for people who drink alcohol a lot.
One of the first antidepressants that came on the market are trycyclics. Although most antidepressant users use SSRIs and SNRIs, TCAs are still a viable option for those that don't respond well to other types.
The most common types of tricyclics available are:
- Silenor (doxepin)
- Surmontil (trimipramine)
- Tofranil (imipramine)
- Norpramin (desipramine)
- Pamelor (nortriptyline)
- Vivactil (protriptyline)
- Asendin (amoxapine)
- Elavil (amitriptyline)
These medications work on depression by blocking the absorption of norepinephrine and serotonin. By doing this, it can help raise the levels of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain. This helps relieve symptoms of depression and improve mood.
The first medication that was developed to help treat depression are monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). Since their inception, they have mostly been replaced with more effective and safer drugs, but a few are still used to treat depression.
The most commonly used ones include:
- Parnate (tranylcypromine)
- Marplan (isocarboxazid)
- Nardil (phenelzine)
- Emsam (selegiline)
These drugs inhibit monoamine oxidase. This is an enzyme that breaks down dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, which all help control mood. This helps raise the levels of each in the brain to reduce anxiety and improve mood.
Nowadays, they are rarely prescribed because of their dangerous effects when eating foods with tyramine. This can cause hypertensive problems.
This class includes antidepressants that don't fit in other classes. They are often prescribed by doctors when other solutions don't work or have side effects that patients can't handle.
The most common ones that are prescribed include:
- Wellbutrin (bupropion)
- Remeron (mirtazapine)
- Desyrel (trazodone)
- Trintellix (vortioxetine)
All of these antidepressants affect depression in different ways. Some of them target dopamine. Others target norepinephrine or serotonin. Because of this, all of them have different side effects.
For example, Desyrel is less likely to cause symptoms that have to do with anxiety, insomnia, or sexual dysfunction.
Of the medications listed above, Wellbutrin is the most commonly prescribed drug. Wellbutrin works by targeting dopamine levels. This in turn affects motivation, energy levels, and attention. It is often combined with another SSRI to raise its effectiveness.
Common Side Effects of Antidepressants
Although antidepressants can be a godsend for people who have depression, they also have a few side effects. These depend on the class and type of medication that is taken.
Some common side effects include:
- Sexual dysfunction
- Sleep disturbances
- Weight gain
They can also raise the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior, most notably in the first few months of treatment.
However, most side effects tend to be mild and disappear after the patient's body becomes used to the drug. If any side effects last longer than a few weeks, talk to a doctor about changing your dosage or the antidepressant.
Find the Best Antidepressant For a Fraction of the Cost
That's everything you need to know about the most popular antidpressants on the market. It's important to remember that everyone is different, so speak to a doctor for help deciding which one is right for you.
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