Medical Definition of Antidepressant

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Antidepressant: Anything, and especially a drug, used to prevent or treat depression.

The available antidepressant drugs include the SSRIs or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, MAOIs or monoamine oxidase inhibitors, tricyclic antidepressants, tetracyclic antidepressants, and others.

Antidepressants should not be used unless the depression is severe and/or other treatments have failed. As with all drugs, the use of antidepressants requires monitoring for side effects, and suicide should be considered a possible side effect of the newer antidepressants, particularly in children and adolescents.

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Reviewed on 12/11/2018

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