Types of antidepressants
Antidepressants can be grouped according to how they work. The different types are:
- SSRIs: selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
- SNRIs: serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors
- Noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors
- TCAs: tricyclic antidepressants
- RIMAs: reversible inhibitors of monoamine oxidase A
- Tetracyclic antidepressants
- Tetracyclic analogues of mianserin (sometimes called noradrenergic and specific serotonergic antidepressant [NaSSA])
- MAOIs: Monoamine oxidase inhibitors
- Melatonergic antidepressants
The individual medicines and types are shown in the table below. Follow the links to the active ingredient to find brand names and see the consumer medicine information (CMI).
The different types of antidepressants are about as effective as each other, but the type and severity of side effects can be quite different between them and between individual medicines of the same type. See How do the side effects of different antidepressants compare?
Types of antidepressants
|Antidepressant type||Active ingredient|
|SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors)||Citalopram|
|SNRIs (serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors)||Duloxetine|
|Noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor||Reboxetine|
|TCAs (tricyclic antidepressants)||Amitriptyline|
|RIMA (reversible inhibitor of monoamine oxidase A)||Moclobemide|
|Tetracyclic analogue of mianserin (sometimes called noradrenergic and specific serotonergic antidepressant [NaSSA])||Mirtazapine|
|MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors)||Phenelzine|
*Not available on the PBS
For more information
- Rossi S, ed. eAMH [online]. Adelaide: Australian Medicines Handbook, 2012. www.amh.net.au. (Accessed 9 February 2012).
- Williams JW Jr, Mulrow CD, Chiquette E, et al. A systematic review of newer pharmacotherapies for depression in adults: evidence report summary. Ann Intern Med 2000;132:743–56. www.annals.org/content/132/9/743.long (accessed 22 February 2012).
- Ellis P; Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists Clinical Practice Guidelines Team for Depression. Australian and New Zealand clinical practice guidelines for the treatment of depression. Aust N Z J Psychiatry 2004;38:389–407. www.ranzcp.org/images/stories/ranzcp-attachments/Resources/Publications/CPG/Clinician/CPG_Clinician_Full_Depression.pdf (accessed 9 February 2012).
- National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health. Depression: the NICE guideline on the treatment and management of depression in adults (updated edition). London: National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, 2010. www.nice.org.uk/nicemedia/live/12329/45896/45896.pdf (accessed 9 February 2012).