Since the introduction of the monoamine oxydase inhibitors and the first tricyclic antidepressant (TCA) imipramine in the late fifties, the treatment of depressive disorders has been changed dramatically. Althought a great variety of antidepressants such as TCA's, selective serotoninte-re-uptake inhibitors (SSRI's) mianserin, trazodone, mirtazapine, moclobemide and venlafaxine has become available, the exact mode of action is not revealed as yet, and classification should be done according to the interference of antidepressants with central monoaminergic processes.
As to the potential of causing interactions, special attention has to be given to the SSRI's because of their interference with the CYP450 isozyme system. Therapeutic monotoring is recommended for the TCA's. The choiseforan antidepressant should be based on various factors like symptomatology and severity of the depression, potential interactions and somatic and/or psychiatric comorbidity.
Extensive clinical research has demonstrated that TCA's are the most effective for major depression with melancholia (vital depression) and depressive disorders in the elderly.