Treatment Guidelines from The Medical Letter
Drugs for Psychiatric Disorders
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Drugs are not the only treatment for psychiatric illness. Psychotherapy remains an important component in the management of these disorders, and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be used for many of them as well. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) has a long history of efficacy and safety when drugs are ineffective or cannot be used.


Most of the drugs approved by the FDA for treatment of depression are listed in Table 1. Improvement can occur within the first 2 weeks of drug therapy, but it may take 4-8 weeks to achieve substantial benefit. Antidepressant drugs produce a response in about 50-60% of adults with major depression and a remission in about 30%; with multiple courses and/or multiple drugs, 80% of patients will eventually respond, at least temporarily.

SSRIs AND SNRIs — Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are recommended ... more      

The Medical Letter is a subscriber-funded nonprofit organization that publishes critical appraisals of new prescription drugs and comparative reviews of drugs for common diseases.

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