Do antidepressants have any
potential to cause addiction?

by
Haddad P
Moorside, Trafford General Hospital,
Davyhulme, Manchester, UK.
J Psychopharmacol 1999; 13(3):300-7


ABSTRACT

Addiction/dependence is a syndrome in which the hallmark is a compulsive pattern of drug use. Most authorities do not regard antidepressants as causing addiction but this has been challenged. This debate is explored drawing on case reports and related clinical and pharmacological data. An extensive literature review identified 21 English language case reports of antidepressant addiction (DSM-IV 'substance dependence' criteria) published since 1963. Sixteen involved tranylcypromine or amineptine and may reflect their dopaminergic and stimulant properties. Subject characteristics included male sex (14/21), personality problems (10/21) and prior substance misuse (14/21). Withdrawal or discontinuation symptoms have long been recognized with antidepressants but other features of addiction such as tolerance and compulsive use are exceptionally rare. Common clinical problems are patients taking subtherapeutic dosages and prematurely stopping antidepressants. The pharmacodynamic profiles of most antidepressants and the absence of acute 'desirable' effects make addiction theoretically unlikely. It is concluded that, with the exception of tranylcypromine and amineptine, antidepressants do not have a clinically significant liability to cause addiction. Tranylcypromine and amineptine should be avoided in those with a history of substance misuse. Patients prescribed other antidepressants should be told that they are not addictive.
MAOIs
Dopamine
Amineptine
Nomifensine
Tranylcypromine
Polytoxicomania
Drugs for depression
Drug craving and addiction


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