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Educational Activity

What Are the Mechanisms of Action of Current Antidepressant Treatments?

Michael E. Thase, MD

Published: December 23, 2015

Article Abstract

An array of antidepressant medications is available, but many patients do not achieve remission of their depressive episodes with initial treatment. Antidepressants differ in their mechanisms of action, with most of their therapeutic effects believed to be related to their effects on serotonin, norepinephrine, and/or dopamine. Depressive symptoms can vary greatly from patient to patient, and, therefore, different medications may be effective for one individual and not another. Clinicians can optimize treatment by selecting the antidepressant agent with the mechanism of action most likely to alleviate each patient’s individual symptom profile. Here, follow the case of Randal, a 62-year-old surgeon with a treatment-resistant depressive episode.

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Find more articles on this and other psychiatry and CNS topics:
The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry
The Primary Care Companion for CNS Disorders

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