5 most commonly used anti-depressants and how they work

Ashna Waseem 12:10 PM, 2 Aug, 2022
5 most commonly used anti-depressants and how they work

Antidepressants are drugs used to treat severe depression, certain anxiety disorders, some chronic pain problems, and to help control some addictions. The percentage of persons aged 12 and over who reported taking an antidepressant increased from 14% in 2015 to 16% in 2018. One of the most well-known is called Prozac (fluoxetine). Although it remains the gold standard for many, Prozac has been joined by other antidepressants since the FDA first licensed it in 1987. 

You and your doctor can make a more informed decision about which antidepressant is right for you if you have some background knowledge on the most often used ones. Although it is highly recommended not to take any medication without discussing with your doctor. 

Commonly used anti-depressants and how they work

Depression may be treated with medication that restores a healthy balance of the brain's neurotransmitters. The effects on one's disposition, focus, and slumber may all improve. The total effect of these drugs may not be seen for many weeks (often between four and six). How precisely antidepressants operate is a mystery. It is hypothesized that they achieve their effects via elevating neurotransmitter levels in the brain. Serotonin and noradrenaline are only two examples of neurotransmitters related to mood and emotion. Some antidepressants may aid with chronic pain relief because of their potential effect on neurotransmitters, which are involved in transmitting nerve pain signals. 

The most commonly used antidepressants are:

Prozac (Fluoxetine): Prozac (fluoxetine) is still widely used in the United States. One of the few medications that the FDA has authorized for use in children and adolescents. A little over 11 percent of respondents in the 2017 research on antidepressant usage said they had used Prozac for depression.

Celexa (Citalopram): Celexa has been shown to be equally effective as other SSRIs and to have comparable adverse effects in scientific studies. High dosages of this antidepressant have been linked to a very unusual arrhythmia, so that's something to keep in mind. 4 It was stated by around 14% of the people who participated in the research on the use of antidepressants that they were really using this drug.

Zoloft (Sertraline): Although Zoloft's efficacy is well-documented, some users have reported that it increased their risk of diarrhea compared to other SSRIs. According to a poll of people who used antidepressants in 2017, approximately 17 percent said they had taken Zoloft.

Paxil (Paroxetine): Paxil may increase the risk of sexual adverse effects compared to other antidepressants. There is a correlation between this and profuse perspiration. Although it was not included in the top 10 psychiatric medications, paroxetine is still a viable option for certain patients.

Lexapro (Escitalopram): teenage usage of Lexapro and Prozac are the only SSRIs sanctioned by the Food and Drug Administration. It was estimated that around 8% of respondents were already using Lexapro.

The bottom line 

Antidepressants are a class of medications often prescribed to those suffering from depression. The chemical and functional makeup of the brain are both altered by depression. When taken regularly, antidepressants may help restore standard signal transmission along the neural pathways that go to the brain, therefore alleviating symptoms of depression.

Ashna Waseem
Ashna Waseem

The author is contributing writer at Medical News Pakistan and can be reached at



Follow us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

Sign up for Newsletter