Depression: Antidepressants in adults

CPD hours:

This module discusses characteristics of the main classes of medications commonly known as antidepressants

  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors [MAOIs]
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors [SSRIs]
  • Serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors [SNRIs]
  • Tricyclic antidepressants [TCAs]

It is not designed to take the place of expert knowledge or the use of a medicines handbook for prescribing medication choice and dose. It aims to assist clinicians in understanding the medications better and supporting patients in their use.

Given the rate of prescribing in Australia, it is likely that all clinicians working with adults will be caring for someone taking antidepressant medication. This module is primarily aimed at nurses who provide care to people taking antidepressants.

Prior knowledge of depression and anxiety disorders is assumed, and this module does not include information on diagnosis or overall management.

It is therefore recommended that prior to undertaking this module, the modules on identification and management and treatment of depression are completed.

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At the end of this module participants will be able to:

  • List medication classes commonly referred to as antidepressants.
  • Discuss contraindications and precautions for the use of antidepressants.
  • Recognise typical side effects of antidepressants.
  • Explain important factors that patients should know about the antidepressant they are using.

At the end of this module participants will be able to:

  • This is learning objective 1.
  • This is learning objective 2.
  • This is learning objective 3.
  • This is learning objective 4.
  • This is learning objective 5.
  • This is learning objective 6.

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