Review Articles

The pharmacological management of depression – Update 2017

Elzbieta Osuch, Andre Marais
South African Family Practice | Vol 59, No 1 : January/February| a4625 | DOI: | ©
Submitted: 09 January 2017 | Published:

About the author(s)

Elzbieta Osuch, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, South Africa
Andre Marais, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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Depression affects nearly 350 million people worldwide. Local data indicates that approximately 17% of all South Africans will experience at least one episode of depression in their lifetime. Depressive disorders contribute significantly towards overall morbidity and increased risk for suicide. Antidepressant therapy remains one of the cornerstones in the management of depressive disorders. Although the efficacy of antidepressive drugs is continuously subjected to criticism, thousands of controlled clinical trials have shown, and will continue to show, their benefit in the effective treatment of depressive disorders. Since the introduction of antidepressants in the early 1950s, researchers have been searching for an ideal antidepressant able to adequately reduce, preserve and prevent features of depression with the absence of side effects. This article summarizes the currently available antidepressant drugs in South Africa. Discontinued products have been omitted and newly registered agents have been added. This review does not contain reference to any experimental drug, or substances not yet available for local use.


Major depressive disorder; antidepressant; serotonin; noradrenaline; dopamine


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