I didn’t even think about how my medicine works.
I hadn’t realized that there are three classes of anti-depression drugs. Each one works in a different way to help you achieve some sense of normalcy.
Different kinds of reuptake inhibitors target different neurotransmitters. There are three types:
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are some of the most commonly prescribed antidepressants available. They include citalopram (Celexa), escitalopram (Lexapro), fluvoxamine (Luvox), paroxetine (Paxil), Prozac, and sertraline (Zoloft). Another drug, olanzapine (Symbyax), is approved by the FDA specifically for treatment-resistant depression. It’s a combination of the SSRI antidepressant fluoxetine (Prozac) and another drug approved for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia called olanzapine (Zyprexa). Aripiprazole (Abilify), quetiapine (Seroquel), and brexpiprazole (Rexulti) have been FDA approved as add-on therapy to antidepressants for depression. Plus, doctors often use other drugs in combination for treatment-resistant depression. Also, the drugs vilazodone (Viibryd) and vortioxetine (Trintellix – formelrly called Brintellix) are among the newest antidepressants that affect serotonin. Both drugs affect the serotonin transporter (like an SSRI) but also affect other serotonin receptors to relieve major depression.
- Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are among the newer types of antidepressant. As the name implies, they block the reuptake of both serotonin and norepinephrine. They include duloxetine (Cymbalta), venlafaxine (Effexor), desvenlafaxine ER (Khedezla), levomilnacipran (Fetzima), and desvenlafaxine (Pristiq).
- Norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs) are another class of reuptake inhibitors, but they’re represented by only one drug: bupropion (Wellbutrin). It affects the reuptake of norepinephrine and dopamine.
Learning about depression, for me, has not meant learning a lot about medication and it’s role in helping me achieve a balanced life.
Going to last Friday’s Peer Support meeting, we focused on depression and how the types of medication available work with our brain chemistry. Many in attendance knew all about the types of medication they had tried and how they work with our brain chemistry.
My focus has been on how depression operates and how I can keep it out in the open.
For me, understanding the disease has been more important than understanding the medication. Knowing now that some of the side effects can contribute to my overall wellness, I will spend time researching this side of the equation.
READ MORE: Doing the drugs
For instance, I learned that some people are more sensitive to heat while on medication.
Last summer, I was feeling that way for the first time in 60 years. I could not believe I was getting angry at summer. But it turns out others on anti-depression medication have this same condition. Those are the kinds of things I need to look at, so I am not obsessing over a side effect of the medication, but rather focusing on things I can control.
I am still learning, even as I proclaim, “Depression is not my boss.”
My concealed depression is written under the alias “Depression is not my boss.” I have certifications in SMART Recovery and am a Global Career Development Facilitator.
Last year, I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder.