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SNRIs and SSNRIs

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Updated October 25, 2013

Definition:
There is some confusion about these terms. SNRI is used to stand for two different things, and and the term SSNRI is now falling out of use in favor of SNRI, as one of the definitions covers these drugs.

SNRI stands for both selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (the only drug of this type being Strattera, which is not an antidepressant) and serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor. SSNRI stands for selective serotonin norepinephrine inhibitor but, as stated, is being used less and less.

The drugs which inhibit reuptake of both the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine, and are commonly called SSNRIs, include:
  • Cymbalta (duloxetine), used to treat both depression and some types of pain.
  • Effexor (venlafaxine), which is properly an SNRI, acting on both but not selectively.
  • Serzone (nefazodone), also properly an SNRI. The brand name Serzone has been withdrawn from use in the U.S. and several other countries due to the possibility of liver failure, but the generic nefazodone is still available.
  • Milnacipran, currently in clinical trials in the U.S. This antidepressant is being studied for its effectiveness in treating fibromyalgia as well as depression. It is sold under the trade names Dalcipran in Portugal and Ixel in France.
References:
Papakostas, G.I., and Fava, M. A meta-analysis of clinical trials comparing milnacipran, a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, with a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor for the treatment of major depressive disorder. European Neuropsychopharmacology 17(2007): 32-36. 1/22/07.

Other Source:
ClinicalTrials.gov. Study of Milnacipran for the Treatment of Fibromyalgia. September 2006. 1/22/07.

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