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Exploring the Different Types of Antidepressants: Key Concepts for NCLEX Success

14 days ago
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When it comes to understanding antidepressants for NCLEX success, it's important to explore the different types available. Antidepressants are medications primarily used to treat depression, but they can also be prescribed for other mental health conditions such as anxiety disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

1. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)

SSRIs are the most commonly prescribed type of antidepressants. They work by increasing the levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for mood regulation, in the brain. Examples of SSRIs include:

  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft)
  • Escitalopram (Lexapro)

2. Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs)

SNRIs work by increasing the levels of both serotonin and norepinephrine, another neurotransmitter involved in mood regulation. Examples of SNRIs include:

  • Venlafaxine (Effexor)
  • Duloxetine (Cymbalta)
  • Desvenlafaxine (Pristiq)

3. Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCAs)

TCAs were one of the first types of antidepressants developed. They work by blocking the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine, thereby increasing their levels in the brain. Examples of TCAs include:

  • Amitriptyline (Elavil)
  • Imipramine (Tofranil)
  • Clomipramine (Anafranil)

4. Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)

MAOIs are an older class of antidepressants that work by inhibiting the enzyme monoamine oxidase, which breaks down neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine. Examples of MAOIs include:

  • Phenelzine (Nardil)
  • Tranylcypromine (Parnate)
  • Isocarboxazid (Marplan)

It's important to note that these medications come with specific considerations and potential side effects. It's crucial for nurses to be aware of drug interactions, dietary restrictions, and the need for close monitoring when administering or educating patients about antidepressants.


By understanding the different types of antidepressants and their mechanisms of action, nurses can provide safe and effective care to patients with mental health conditions.


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