SSRIs

External stimuli may affect how well antidepressants work

Antidepressants are more effective for some people than they are for others, but what factors influence how well they work? Research in mice suggests that exposure to external stimuli may play a key role. “Antidepressants” is the term by which people usually refer to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), a class of drugs that doctors usually prescribe to treat conditions such as major depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Yet, these drugs do not work for everyone, and they do not necessarily…

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What to know about amitriptyline

Amitriptyline is an antidepressant drug that doctors prescribe to treat depression. It also has off-label uses for other mental and physical health conditions. Amitriptyline is a drug in the tricyclic antidepressant (TCA) family. TCAs were introduced in the late 1950s as a treatment for depression. Since then, other less toxic drugs have become available. Among them are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, better known as SSRIs. Doctors prescribe amitriptyline to people with depression who have not responded to other antidepressants. There are additional…

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Weighing risks and benefits of drug treatment for major depression

Depression is a common and serious problem for older adults. Some 15 to 20 percent of people aged 65 and older who live independently deal with symptoms of major depressive disorder. For residents of nursing homes, the rates of depression may be as high as 50 percent. For some people, medication is an effective part of treatment for depression. However, when considering whether to prescribe antidepressant medication for older adults, healthcare providers must weigh the…

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When neurons are out of shape, antidepressants may not work

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most commonly prescribed medication for major depressive disorder (MDD), yet scientists still do not understand why the treatment does not work in nearly thirty percent of patients with MDD. Now, Salk Institute researchers have discovered differences in growth patterns of neurons of SSRI-resistant patients. The work, published in Molecular Psychiatry on March 22, 2019, has implications for depression as well as other psychiatric conditions such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia…

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When neurons get the blues

The most commonly prescribed antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), lift the fog of depression for many people. But for around a third of people with major depressive disorder, SSRIs don’t make much of a difference. Now, researchers from the Salk Institute have pinned down a possible reason why — the neurons in at least some of these patients’ brains may become hyperactive in the presence of the drugs. The study appeared in Molecular Psychiatry on January…

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Novel mode of antidepressant action may help patients unresponsive to SSRIs

Antidepressants treat symptoms of depression by increasing levels of brain signaling molecules (neurotransmitters) such as serotonin, as with the most widely used type of antidepressant, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). However, many of the 350 million people worldwide thought to be affected with depression do not respond to SSRI treatment. Now, researchers in the Department of Neuroscience and Cell Biology at Osaka University have found that an activator of the serotonin type 3 receptor (5HT3R)…

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Depression: Evidence of serotonin signal transduction disturbances

Depression and anxiety disorders are the most common psychiatric disorders. Over the last few years, molecular brain imaging using Positron Emission Tomography (PET) has helped us to identify important mechanisms involved in the development and treatment of these disorders, particularly those associated with the serotonin neurotransmitter system. The drugs that are used for these conditions (SSRIs) were developed 30 years ago. To celebrate this anniversary, a team from MedUni Vienna, led by Siegfried Kasper, Director…

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Vortioxetine in depression: No hint of added benefit

Vortioxetine (trade name: Brintellix) has been approved since December 2013 for the treatment of depression in adults, but did not become actually available before May 2015. The German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) examined in a dossier assessment whether this drug offers an added benefit over the appropriate comparator therapy. Such an added benefit cannot be derived from the dossier because it contained no data evaluable for the assessment. SSRI is…

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Strategy Found for Safely Prescribing Antidepressants to Children and Adolescents

A multidisciplinary team of Johns Hopkins researchers has developed two new strategies to treat depression in young people using the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class of medications. These strategies, published May 5 in the journal Translational Psychiatry, incorporate a new understanding of how to mitigate the risk of suicide while on SSRI treatment. “These medications have to be dosed in a careful way,” says senior investigator Adam Kaplin, M.D., Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychiatry…

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Early exposure to antidepressants affects adult anxiety, serotonin transmission

About 15 percent of women in the United States suffer from anxiety disorders and depression during their pregnancies, and many are prescribed antidepressants. However little is known about how early exposure to these medications might affect their offspring as they mature into adults. The answer to that question is vital, as 5 percent of all babies born in the U.S. — more than 200,000 a year — are exposed to antidepressants during gestation via transmission…

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