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Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, and Depression

Second-generation antidepressants such as Prozac (fluoxetine), Paxil (paroxetine), Zoloft (sertraline), and nine other drugs in this group are equally effective according to new American College of Physicians (ACP) guidelines. As such, doctors and patients must choose an antidepressant based on knowledge of its side effects (which are different for each medication), cost, and each patient’s preferences. In this article, we will talk about Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft and Depression. The information will also help you research the issue and choose reliable medications.

Newer antidepressants

Newer antidepressants are often used instead of older ones, such as tricyclics, because they have fewer serious side effects. The ACP guidelines, published Nov. 17, 2008, in the college journal Annals of Internal Medicine, are based on an analysis of data from more than 200 studies that examined the benefits and risks of 12 second-generation antidepressants: bupropion, citalopram, duloxetine, escitalopram, fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, mirtazapine, nefazodone, paroxetine, sertraline, trazodone and venlafaxine. The side effects of these medications vary widely and range from non-serious, such as constipation, to serious, such as suicidal ideation.

According to the new guidelines, patients should be evaluated for side effects of these medications within 1 to 2 weeks of starting treatment. The treatment tactic should be changed if the patient does not have an adequate response to therapy within 6-8 weeks. In case of a satisfactory drug effect in patients with a first episode of major depression, treatment should be continued for 4-9 months.

Serotonin and seizure group

If one neuron transmits more serotonin to another neuron than necessary, the excess substance may return back to the same cell that released it. That’s why pharmacologists have come up with drugs that counteract such reuptake. This group includes sertraline (the active ingredient in Zoloft) and fluoxetine (the active ingredient in Prozac). This is a fairly young group of antidepressants and has emerged as a counterbalance to tricyclics, drugs that work but have numerous side effects. They block the reuptake of neurotransmitters, but not only serotonin, but also norepinephrine (it acts much like adrenaline, but affects some organ systems stronger and others weaker than its more famous counterpart).