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Healthcare Insights

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.

Treatment options range from traditional therapy, virtual and telehealth services, digital therapeutics and medication.

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.

Top 10 antidepressant medications dispensed in the U.S.

RankMedication name% of antidepressant prescriptions dispensed in U.S. for 2022Explore dataset

Fig. 1. Data from the Definitive Healthcare Atlas Prescription Claims product for calendar year 2022. Claims data is sourced from multiple medical claims clearinghouses in the United States and updated monthly. Accessed June 2023.

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?

Antidepressants are prescription medications used to treat many conditions including depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), among others.

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

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

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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Healthcare Insights are developed with healthcare commercial intelligence from the Definitive Healthcare platform. Want even more insights? Start a free trial now and get access to the latest healthcare commercial intelligence on hospitals, physicians, and other healthcare providers.