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Atypical Antidepressants for Depression in Children and Teens

Atypical Antidepressants for Depression in Children and Teens

Atypical antidepressants balance certain brain chemicals ( neurotransmitters ). When these brain chemicals are balanced, the symptoms of depression are relieved.

These medicines have not been approved for use in people younger than 18. But they may be effective and are sometimes used. Examples of atypical antidepressants sometimes used to treat children or teens include:

  • Duloxetine (Cymbalta).
  • Bupropion (Wellbutrin, Wellbutrin SR).
  • Mirtazapine (Remeron).
  • Trazodone.

They may be effective in treating depression in children and teens, but research is limited. These medicines are often tried if treatment with a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) does not work or if side effects from other medicines are a problem. Trazodone may be prescribed to help your child sleep or cope with anxiety. Sometimes a combination of medicines is the most effective treatment for depression.

FDA advisory. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an advisory on antidepressant medicines and the risk of suicide. The FDA does not recommend that people stop using these medicines. Instead, a person taking antidepressants should be watched for warning signs of suicide. This is especially important at the beginning of treatment or when doses are changed.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Lisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry
Last Revised April 5, 2011

Last Revised: April 5, 2011

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