Most common antidepressants
Major depressive disorder episodes are some of the most common mental health diagnoses. And with more and more people discussing how we cope with and manage our mental health, the topic is becoming less taboo.
Using data from the Definitive Healthcare Atlas All-Payor Claims Dataset, we created this list of the top 10 most prescribed antidepressants dispensed to U.S. patients in 2022.
|% of antidepressant prescriptions dispensed in U.S. for 2022
What are the most common antidepressant medications?
Sertraline, also known by the brand name Zoloft, used for multiple mental health and mood disorders, is the most prescribed antidepressant dispensed to U.S. patients on the list at more than 13%. Escitalopram, also known as Lexapro, treats depression and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and is second on the list at 10.8% of dispensed antidepressant medications.
Trazadone, used to treat anxiety and depression, is third on the list with 9.7% of dispensed antidepressant prescriptions. Brand names for trazadone include Desyrel and Oleptro.
What is an antidepressant?
How do antidepressants work?
In general, antidepressants work by altering chemicals in the brain including norepinephrine and serotonin. While antidepressant medications provide symptom relief and other benefits for patients, many also have side effects for patients to consider.
What are the different types of antidepressants?
Antidepressant medications can fall into a number of different categories based on how the drug affects the body’s chemistry. The main types of antidepressants include:
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
SSRIs generally have less side effects than other types of antidepressants, which contributes to the number of people who take SSRIs. The top two medications on the list above - sertraline and escitalopram – are examples of SSRI antidepressant medications.
Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
SNRIs work similarly to SSRIs but affect both serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain. The medication in sixth place on the list above, duloxetine, is an example of an SNRI medication.
Atypical antidepressants represent medications that work slightly differently than the other types of antidepressant medications. The drugs trazodone and bupropion on the list above are examples of atypical antidepressant medications.
Tricyclic antidepressants are some of the earliest types of antidepressant medications. They have some increased risks of side effects so are less frequently prescribed today and are often reserved for patients with more treatment-resistant conditions.
Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
MAOIs are the first type of antidepressant medications developed and have mostly been replaced with the more popular antidepressant medication types, such as SSRIs and SNRIs, due to their fewer side effects.
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