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Antidepressants are selective serotonin neuronal reuptake inhibitors: 40-year history

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The paper presents historical prerequisites for designing antidepressants from a group of selective serotonin neuronal reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs): to determine a lower serotonin concentration in the different tissues of depressed patients; to establish a higher serotonin concentration in the treatment of depressed patients with tricyclic antidepressants, and to formulate the serotonergic theory of depression. It also provides a consecutive account of the history of clinical introduction of individual SSRI representatives, such as fluoxetine, zimelidine, fluvoxamine, indalpine, citalopram, sertraline, paroxetine, and escitalopram. There are data from the history of studying the mechanism of SSRI action: from the theory of the importance of an increase in the concentration of serotonin in the synaptic cleft to the current understanding of complex successive intracellular rearrangements at the level of the postsynaptic neuron. The history of studying the efficacy of SSRIs in treating depression is considered in detail. Emphasis is laid on the reasons for a paradoxical difference in the evaluations of the efficiency of therapy with SSRIs versus other groups of antidepressants at different developmental stages of psychopharmacology. The role of marketing technologies in disseminating the data on the efficacy of this or that group of antidepressants is described. The practical significance of differences in individual SSRI representatives (the potency of serotonin uptake inhibition; the degree of selectivity and activity against the serotonergic system; the likelihood of an unfavorable pharmacokinetic interaction with other drugs; the half-life of elimination; the quickness of achieving a therapeutic dose) is analyzed. Whether it is possible and reasonable to differentially choose different SSRI representatives in the treatment of depressions at the present stage is discussed. The authors state their belief that researches should be continued to specify the place of SSRIs among other groups of current antidepressants for the treatment of depressions. 

About the Author

D. S. Danilov
S.S. Korsakov Clinic of Psychiatry and «Mental Health» Research, Education and Clinical Center, I.M. Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University, Ministry of Health of Russia, Moscow, Russia 11, Rossolimo St., Build. 9, Moscow 119021
Russian Federation


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For citation:

Danilov D.S. Antidepressants are selective serotonin neuronal reuptake inhibitors: 40-year history. Neurology, Neuropsychiatry, Psychosomatics. 2015;7(1):66-74. (In Russ.)

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