Tricyclic antidepressants have been proven to be quite effective, but often cause severe side effects. For this reason, they are often not prescribed unless you have already tried SSRIs without seeing any improvement.
Tricyclic antidepressants are among the first developed antidepressants and include:
- Imipramine (Tofranil)
- Nortriptyline (Pamelor)
- Amitriptyline (Elavil)
- Trimipramine (Surmontil)
- Desipramine (Norpramin or Pertofrane)
- Protriptyline (Vivactil)
Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)
Like tricyclic antidepressants, MAOIs are often only prescribed when other medications have failed to work, as they can cause serious side effects. They are also among the first antidepressants developed.
Many individuals prescribed MAOIs must also follow a strict diet, as using these medications can have dangerous or deadly interactions with certain foods. Pickles, wine, and cheese tend to be on the list of foods to avoid while taking MAOIs.
MAOIs can also negatively interact with other medications or herbal supplements. You must divulge to your doctor the full list of medications, supplements, and vitamins that you are taking before starting these antidepressants.
MAOIs cannot be combined with SSRIs. Some MAOIs include:
- Tranylcypromine (Parnate)
- Phenelzine (Nardil)
- Isocarboxazid (Marplan)
- Selegiline (Emsam)
These medications are called "atypical," not because they are rarely prescribed as antidepressants, but because they do not fit into the other classification groups for antidepressants.
Some atypical antidepressants include:
- Bupropion (Wellbutrin, Aplenzin, Zyban, or Forfivo)
- Vortioxetine (Trintellix or Brintellix)
- Nefazodone (Serzone, Dutonin, or Nefadar)
- Mirtazapine (Remeron)
Although there are many medication options available for the treatment of depression, everyone presents a unique case that requires personalized treatment. If one medication isn't quite working, your doctor may choose to add another medication to the mix, rather than trying something completely new.
These other medications are taken with antidepressants to enhance their effects.
Such additions can include other antidepressants, mood stabilizers, or antipsychotics. In some cases, anti-anxiety medications or stimulants may be added for a short period of time.
Using Medication to Treat Depression
It is important to keep in mind that although many individuals take medication as part of their treatment, every case is unique. What works for one may not work for another.
Finding the correct medication and dosage to treat your depression can be a long and frustrating process, but ultimately, it may help you cope with your symptoms. You may need to try several different types of medications or even a combination of medications before finding something that works.
Most antidepressants and other medications used in the treatment of depression take weeks or even months to take full effect, and also for the side effects to ease as your body responds to the treatment.
Using medication to treat depression takes patience, but when the correct medications are finally discovered, they can make a world of difference to those suffering.
Many who find relief of their symptoms through medication begin to believe that they've been cured and can, therefore, stop taking the medications prescribed. This can be dangerous, as stopping treatment abruptly or missing several doses often leads to withdrawal symptoms, which include the worsening of depression.
Always work directly with your doctor to adjust the dosages or switch your medications. Using medications for depression treatment is an ongoing process, not a quick fix.