Clinically significant drug interactions with newer antidepressants

Edoardo Spina, Gianluca Trifirò, Filippo Caraci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


After the introduction of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), other newer antidepressants with different mechanisms of action have been introduced in clinical practice. Because antidepressants are commonly prescribed in combination with other medications used to treat co-morbid psychiatric or somatic disorders, they are likely to be involved in clinically significant drug interactions. This review examines the drug interaction profiles of the following newer antidepressants: escitalopram, venlafaxine, desvenlafaxine, duloxetine, milnacipran, mirtazapine, reboxetine, bupropion, agomelatine and vilazodone.In general, by virtue of a more selective mechanism of action and receptor profile, newer antidepressants carry a relatively low risk for pharmacodynamic drug interactions, at least as compared with first-generation antidepressants, i.e. monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs). On the other hand, they are susceptible to pharmacokinetic drug interactions. All new antidepressants are extensively metabolized in the liver by cytochrome P450 (CYP) isoenzymes, and therefore may be the target of metabolically based drug interactions. Concomitant administration of inhibitors or inducers of the CYP isoenzymes involved in the biotransformation of specific antidepressants may cause changes in their plasma concentrations. However, due to their relatively wide margin of safety, the consequences of such kinetic modifications are usually not clinically relevant. Conversely, some newer antidepressants may cause pharmacokinetic interactions through their ability to inhibit specific CYPs. With regard to this, duloxetine and bupropion are moderate inhibitors of CYP2D6. Therefore, potentially harmful drug interactions may occur when they are coadministered with substrates of these isoforms, especially compounds with a narrow therapeutic index. The other new antidepressants are only weak inhibitors or are not inhibitors of CYP isoforms at usual therapeutic concentrations and are not expected to affect the disposition of concomitantly administered medications. Although drug interactions with newer antidepressants are potentially, but rarely, clinically significant, the use of antidepressants with a more favourable drug interaction profile is advisable. Knowledge of the interaction potential of individual antidepressants is essential for safe prescribing and may help clinicians to predict and eventually avoid certain drug combinations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-67
Number of pages29
JournalCNS Drugs
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Adrenergic-uptake-inhibitors
  • Agomelatine
  • Antidepressants
  • Bupropion
  • Citalopram
  • Desvenlafaxine
  • Drug-interactions
  • Duloxetine
  • Escitalopram
  • Fluoxetine
  • Fluvoxamine
  • Milnacipran
  • Mirtazapine
  • Paroxetine
  • Reboxetine
  • Serotonin-syndrome
  • Serotonin-uptake-inhibitors
  • Sertraline
  • Venlafaxine
  • Vilazodone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Neurology


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