Drugs to treat depression

Patrick McLaughlin*, Anthony Cleare

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter reviews the main drugs used in the treatment of unipolar depressive disorders. At the outset it should be noted that the term 'antidepressant' is problematic given that drugs traditionally regarded as 'antidepressants' are effective in treating psychiatric syndromes other than depression, most notably various anxiety disorders. Furthermore, some drugs not traditionally classified as 'antidepressants' are effective in treating depression either in monotherapy or as adjunctive agents to antidepressants. Examples of the former include lamotrigine and quetiapine, which have efficacy in treating bipolar depression, and lithium and some antipsychotics which are effective in augmenting the efficacy of reuptake inhibiting antidepressants in major depressive disorder. Despite these issues, the term 'antidepressant' is widely used and is likely to remain so.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSeminars in Clinical Psychopharmacology
Subtitle of host publicationThird Edition
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages41
ISBN (Electronic)9781911623465
ISBN (Print)9781911623458
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2020


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