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Top 10 Antidepressant Medications Side Effects and Classification SARI SNRI

Updated on August 16, 2011

AntiDepression Medication

The use of anti-depressants has doubled in the last year. It is no surprise considering that these medications are being used for so much more than the typical "depression." Antidepressants are being used to treat back pain, nerve pain, fatigue, sleep difficulties, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, ADHD, neuropathy, fibromyalgia, and other physical and mental issues. Obviously, Antidepressants are prescribed for a variety of reasons, anxiety and depression being the top reasons for anti-depression treatment.

You have probably seen on television commercials or heard this before: "Depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain." This is somewhat true. According to the chemical imbalance theory, low levels of Serotonin in the brain can lead to depression, therefore, medications such as antidepressants can help to balance Serotonin levels and alleviate symptoms.

But most often there is an underlying reason for depression. Talk-therapy and counseling should be pursued in order to find the social and psychological factors causing depression or anxiety. Antidepressants are often not enough.

Let's begin with the 3 major types of antidepressants:

  • SSRI
  • SNRI
  • MAOI

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors

SSRIs blocks the re-absorption of the neurotransmitter Serotonin in the brain. Therefore balancing the Serotonin levels within the brain. It is "selective" because it appears only to affect the Serotonin neurotransmitter.

Serotonin–Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors

SNRIs are a lot like SSRIs except this medication increases Norpinephrine as well as Serotonin levels. Both of these neurotransmitters play a major role in the mood.

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors

MAOIs block the action of monoamine oxidase,(this is known to break down levels of Serotonin, Norepinephrine and Dopamine), so by blocking the breakdown the levels increase in the brian.

Top 10 Prescribed Antidepressants

  1. Zoloft - (SSRI)
  2. Lexapro - (SSRI)
  3. Prozac - (SSRI)
  4. Wellbutrin - (NDRI)
  5. Paxil - (SSRI)
  6. Effexor - (SNRI)
  7. Celexa - (SSRI)
  8. Desyrel - (SARI)
  9. Elavil - (Tricylic)
  10. Cymbalta - (SNRI)

As seen above, there are other classifications of antidepressants. Such as Tricylic, NDRI and SARI.

SARI -Serotonin Antagonist and Reuptake Inhibitor

SARIs are serotonin 2 antagonist/reuptake inhibitors, meaning they are antidepressants that block the reuptake of Serotonin less potently than SSRIs.They act on Serotonin, Norepinephrine and Dopamine to a lesser extent. Mostly used to aide with sleep disorders that can affect depressive moods.

Tricylic Antidepressants

Tricylics inhibit the reabsorption of Serotonin and Norepinephrine, and to a lesser extent Dopamine. This process increases the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain.

NDRI- Norephinephrine Dopamine Reuptake Inhibitors

SNRIs increase Norepinephrine and Dopamine levels in the brain by preventing the absorption into the cells that released them. This process is called “reuptake inhibition”.

Side Effects

As one would expect, nothing good comes without a price. Antidepressants often have side effects associated with them. Some may be more troublesome than the outcome of the drug itself. 

Most Common Side Effects

  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Drowsiness
  • Lack of concentration
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Dry Mouth
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Irritability
  • Weight Gain
  • Sexual Disturbances

Some antidepressants have been found to cause worse symptoms or even cause suicidal thoughts. If these symptoms occur, contact your Doctor immediately!


Depression Cocktail

As with any medication, there is a trial and error until the right "cocktail" is found. Many antidepressants have side effects that are too much for the person to live with and will have to change medications to find what is compatible for them.

All to often the dose of medication will have to be altered and adjusted until the ultimate dosage is found with the most beneficial results. This can include more than one medication that works well together with the symptoms one is experiencing.


 If you or someone you know is experiencing depression, anxiety or mood altering experiences, seek help, talk with your Doctor. There is help available.

Antidepressants do NOT have to be a lifelong medication for your symptoms, but they can help guide you to the ultimate goal in life....Happiness. 


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    • gsidley profile image

      Dr. Gary L. Sidley 3 years ago from Lancashire, England

      A high quality, well-written hub. I do, however, harbor a more jaundiced view of anti-depressants (as my own hub on the topic shows), believing the biochemical imbalance idea has little evidence to support it and the efficacy of this form of medication has been exaggerated. As you are probably aware, this is one of many contentious issues currently being debated in psychiatric services.

    • profile image

      HUff fand a puff 5 years ago

      Wow cool brings hope. :)

    • kimh039 profile image

      Kim Harris 6 years ago

      very well researched and well balanced. Thanks PaulaHenry1.

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 6 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Excellent research. Very accurate information. Good job.

    • arb profile image

      arb 6 years ago from oregon

      Informative and appreciated!