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Common Mental Health Medications

Psychotropic drugs

"Psychotropic drugs" - these typically work by changing or balancing the amount of neurotransmitters in the brain (e.g., dopamine, serotonin or norepinephrine). The major categories of psychotropic medications are:

  • Antipsychotics: - These medications are most often prescribed for the treatment of psychotic issues (e.g.,schizophrenia). There are two sub-categories:
    • Typical antipsychotics:
      • Trilafon (perphenazine)
      • Stelazine (trifluoperazine)
      • Serentil (mesoridazine)
      • Prolixin (fluphenazine)
      • Navane (thiothixene)
      • Moban (molindone)
      • Mellaril (thioridazine)
      • Loxitane (loxapine)
      • Haldol (haloperidol)
    • Atypical antipsychotics:
      • Abilify (aripiprazole)
      • Clozaril (clozapine)
      • Geodon (ziprasidone)
      • Risperdal (risperidone)
      • Seroquel (quetiapine)
      • Zyprexa (olanzapine)
  • Antidepressants are used for treating depression. The sub-categories are:
    • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) which gradually increase the amount of serotonin neurotransmitter in the brain:
      • Celexa (citalopram)
      • Lexapro (escitalopram)
      • Luvox (fluvoxamine)
      • Paxil (paroxetine)
      • Prozac (fluoxetine)
      • Zoloft (sertraline)
    • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) are often a last option with complex, treatment-resistant depression:
      • Emsam (selegiline)
      • Marplan (isocarboxazid)
      • Nardil (phenelzine)
      • Parnate (tranylcypromine)
    • Tricyclics (TCAs) are older antidepressant medications which have generally been replaced by the newer, generally safer medications. But some people do not respond to the new antidepressants, so TCAs may be prescribed:
      • Anafranil (clomipramine)
      • Asendin (amoxapine)
      • Elavil (amitriptyline)
      • Norpramin (desipramine)
      • Pamelor (nortriptyline)
      • Sinequan (doxepin)
      • Surmontil (trimipramine)
      • Tofranil (imipramine)
      • Vivactil (protiptyline)
    • Seretonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) which slowly increase the amount of norepinephrine neurotransmitter in the brain:
      • Pristiq (desvenlafaxine)
      • Effexor (venlafaxine)
      • Cymbalta (duloxetine)
  • Antianxiety/antipanic medications are used to treat a variety of anxiety and panic attacks issues:
    • Ativan (lorazepam)
    • BuSpar (buspirone)
    • Inderal (propranolol)
    • Klonopin (clonazepam)
    • Librium (chlordiazepoxide)
    • Serax (oxazepam)
    • Tenormin (atenolol)
    • Tranxene (clorazepate)
    • Valium (diazepam)
    • Xanax (alprazolam)
  • Psychomotor Stimulants are sometimes prescribed to people with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity (ADHD) to help regulate disorganized thought processes:
    • Adderall (amphetamine and dextroamphetamine)
    • Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine)
    • Ritalin (methylphenidate)
  • Mood stabilizers are used to treat intense, repeated shifts in a person's mood (e.g., bipolar, schizophrenia, or borderline personality) and a number of these medications are also anticonvulsant medications:
    • Lamictal (lamotrigine)
    • Lithium

Frequently prescribed psychotropic drugs

Ten of the most prescribed psychotropic drugs in the United States:

  1. Xanax (alprazolam)
  2. Zoloft (sertraline)
  3. Celexa (citalopram)
  4. Prozac (fluoxetine)
  5. Ativan (lorazepam)
  6. Desyrel (trazodone HCL)
  7. Lexapro (escitalopram)
  8. Cymbalta (duloxetine)
  9. Wellbutrin XL (bupropion HCL XL)
  10. Effexor XR (venlafaxine HCL ER).