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Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are an antidepressants indicated in depression and anxiety.

Method Of Action

Depression and therefore SSRI action is not fully understood. There are a variety of theories on the neurophysiology of depression but one is that there's a lack of stimulation of neurons at the synapse. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter and SSRIs inhibit serotonin reuptake in the synaptic cleft, increasing stimulation of the post-synaptic neuron.


  • Depression
  • Anxiety - in the first 2 weeks, anxiety will increase with SSRI alone. So diazepam must be prescribed alongside
  • Some personality disorders
  • Premature ejaculation

The most important of these with regards to psychiatry are depression and, to lesser extent though still important anxiety. SSRIs are the first-line pharmocological treatment in both these conditions.



Medical Conditions

  • Hepatic impairment

Side effects

There is a large number of potential side-effects of SSRIs. However the main two are:

  • GI upset
  • Sexual dysfunction (including loss of libido)

Generic Names

  • Fluoextine
  • Citalopram
  • Escitalopram
  • Paroxetine
  • Sertaline