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  • Medical Science

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor

The selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI), belong to the serotoninergic antidepressants, and were introduced in the 1990s. They are the latest generation of antidepressants.

How do the SSRIs work?

The SSRI, the group leader of which is the very famous Prozac, restore the serotonin deficit which is characteristic of depression. As their name indicates, the SSRIs reduce serotonin reuptake in the pre-synaptic neurone.

Do they have contraindications or precautions?

Headaches, nausea, anxiety, insomnia, agitation and sexual disturbance are the commonest side effects of these medicines. Except for sexual difficulties which may persist, the side effects usually disappear after a few weeks. Other side effects - weight gain and increased risk of diabetes - may have longer term consequences. We should note that apart from fluoxetine, this class of antidepressants is not indicated for use in children or adolescents because of the risk of suicidal thoughts. Finally, like all of the antidepressants, the SSRIs must be taken strictly according to the doctor's prescription: observing the doses, not using in combination in other medicines without precise instructions, not used in combination with alcohol.


  • Merck Manual – 4th edition
  • Afssaps

The SSRIs are the latest generation of antidepressants. © Phovoir The SSRIs are the latest generation of antidepressants. © Phovoir

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