chapter  11
20 Pages

The Antidepressants

The antidepressants comprise a wide variety of drugs (Table 11.1) pre­ scribed most frequently to alleviate anxiety associated with depression or to treat primary depression. They are also used to relieve depression accompa­ nying other disorders, such as cancer or severe debilitating conditions. Antidepressants are increasingly being used as a primary drug to treat a variety of painful states, often providing considerable relief. In general their effects are believed to be due to their ability to block uptake of neurotrans­ mitters in the brain, notably serotonin and norepinephrine; they also affect pre-and postsynaptic receptors. The newer antidepressants, which selec­ tively inhibit serotonin uptake (Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft), are currently used most frequently for depression, while the tricyclics are often used as analge­ sic agents-especially for neuropathic pain. The following discussion will briefly review the available antidepressants and their use as analgesics.