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One of the most rapidly expanding areas in psychopharmacology is the development of antidepressant medications. Indeed, the antidepressant class contains several different types of medications, categorized largely by their actions on neurotransmission. To date, all antidepressants appear to be similarly effective for treating major depression, but individual patients may respond preferentially to one agent or another. In addition, these medications are significantly different from one another with regard to side effects, lethality in overdose, pharmacokinetics, drug–drug interaction potential, and the ability to treat comorbid disorders. In this section, we review the pharmacological properties of the various medications within the antidepressant class and discuss some of their clinical uses.

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TABLE 26–2. Antidepressant medications: dosing and half-life information
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TABLE 26–3. Key side effects of major antidepressant drugs
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TABLE 26–4. Monoamine oxidase inhibitor reversibility and selectivity
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TABLE 26–5. Dietary and medication restrictions for patients taking nonselective monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)

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