As of 2015, venlafaxine, amitriptyline, phenelzine, paroxetine and doxepin are antidepressants prescribed in the United States, according to WebMD. Other medications include citalopram, trazodone, fluoxetine, imipramine and amoxapine. To the public, most antidepressants are better known by their brand names, such as Cymbalta, Zoloft, Prozac, Adapin and Lexapro.
Antidepressants are medications that treat symptoms of psychiatric conditions, such as obsessive compulsive disorders and social anxiety, by affecting the balance of neurotransmitter chemicals in the brain, Medical News Today states. Scientists have also discovered many off-label, or secondary, uses for antidepressants, including eating disorders, neuropathy, migraines and fibromyalgia.
Antidepressants are primarily categorized by the types of neurotransmitters they interact with, according to Medical News Today. For example, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, hinder the brain’s ability to reabsorb serotonin without interfering with other neurotransmitters. SSRIs, such as Zoloft and Prozac, are the most commonly prescribed antidepressants because they are consistently effective and cause fewer side effects than other variants. In contrast, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, or MAOIs, block brain enzymes that break down neurotransmitters to stabilize an individual’s mood. MAOIs, such as Nardil and Eldepryl, have a higher potential for side effects and may conflict with a patient’s medications or diet, so physicians typically prescribe them when SSRIs aren’t effective.