Encyclopedia of Pain

2007 Edition

Antidepressant Analgesics in Pain Management

  • Peter N. Watson
  • Harold Merskey
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-29805-2_247


Tricyclic-Type Antidepressants

More noradrenergic (N): e.g. nortriptyline, desipramine, maprotiline (tetracyclic)

More serotonergic (S): e.g. clomipramine

Monamine Oxidase Inhibitors

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors

Atypical Antidepressants

Serotonin Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors


Antidepressants are a broad category of drugs originally aimed at treating depressed mood; however, there is an independent analgesic effect that occurs at lower doses than the antidepressant effect. They are categorized in different ways, based on structure (tricyclic, tetracyclic) and their putative mechanism of action (serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibition, monoamine oxidase inhibition).



There is a large body of scientific evidence that a variety of pain disorders are relieved by antidepressant therapy. The roots of this information have been neglected to-date, and historical studies of seminal importance have been omitted from reviews of...

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter N. Watson
    • 1
  • Harold Merskey
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of MedicineUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Western OntarioLondonCanada