PMID: 9522161Apr 2, 1998

Antidepressant drugs in the elderly

General Pharmacology
P GareriG De Sarro


1. In this article some of the most important and tolerated drugs in the elderly are reviewed. 2. Tricyclic antidepressants have to be used carefully because of their important side effects. Nortriptyline and desipramine appear to be the best tolerated tricyclics in old people. 3. Second generation antidepressants are preferred for the elderly and those patients with heart disease as they have milder side effects and are less toxic in overdose. 4. MAO inhibitors are useful drugs in resistant forms of depression in which the above mentioned drugs have no efficacy and the last generation drugs (reversible MAO inhibitors), such as moclobemide, seem to be very successful. 5. Lithium is sometimes used especially to prevent recurrence of depression, even if its use is limited in old patients due to its side effects. 6. Psychotherapy is often used as an adjunct to pharmacotherapy, while electroconvulsant therapy is used only in the elderly patients with severe depression, high risk of suicide, or drug-resistant forms.


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Related Concepts

Tricyclic Antidepressive Agents
Depressive Symptoms
Electroconvulsive Therapy
Heart Diseases
Resistance, Natural
RIMA (Reversible Inhibitor of Monoamine Oxidase A)
Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation

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