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Depression: Anti depressants in adults

CPD Hours



Mental health
Community and primary health care
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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 help nurses understand the medications better and support patients in their use.

Given the rate of antidepressant prescribing in Australia, it is likely that all nurses working with adults will be caring for someone taking antidepressant medication. This module is aimed at all 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.

Learning Objective

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

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

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