Max Rady College of Medicine

Term: Antidepressants

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Glossary Definition

Last Updated: 2015-01-29


Antidepressants are medicines used to help people who have depression, other mood and anxiety disorders, and numerous other conditions such as nerve pain (Kennedy, Lam, Cohen, Ravindran, & CANMAT Depression Working Group, 2001; Saarto & Wiffen, 2007).

Most antidepressants are believed to work by slowing the removal of certain chemicals from the brain. These chemicals are called neurotransmitters and are needed for normal brain function. Antidepressants help people with depression by making these natural chemicals more available to the brain. Antidepressants are typically taken for at least four to six months. In some cases, patients and their doctors may decide that antidepressants are needed for a longer time. In addition, some drugs classified as antidepressants are also used for other health problems" (Fransoo et al., 2009).

Antidepressants are identified by the Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical (ATC) drug classification codes: N06AA,N06AB,N06AF,N06AG,N06AX (Katz et al. (2004).

Additional Information

  • In Brownell et al. (2008), the list of antidepressants includes a specific group of medication called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). For a detailed list of antidepressant medications and SSRIs, including the DINs and ATC codes, used in the Child Health Atlas Update (2008), please see the Links section below.

  • see Table 2.2 in Chateau et al. (2015) for examples of antidepressant drugs associated with the quality indicators used in this study.

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Related terms 



  • Fransoo R, Martens P, Burland E, The Need to Know Team, Prior H, Burchill C. Manitoba RHA Indicators Atlas 2009. Winnipeg, MB: Manitoba Centre for Health Policy, 2009. [Report] [Summary] [Additional Materials] (View)
  • Katz A, De Coster C, Bogdanovic B, Soodeen R, Chateau D. Using Administrative Data to Develop Indicators of Quality in Family Practice. Winnipeg, MB: Manitoba Centre for Health Policy, 2004. [Report] [Summary] (View)
  • Kennedy SH, Lam RW, Cohen NL, Ravindran AV, CANMAT Depression Working Group. Clinical practice guidelines: Management of anxiety disorders. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry 2001;46(Suppl 1):38S-58S. [Abstract] (View)
  • Saarto T, Wiffen PJ. Antidepressants and neuropathic pain. Cochrane Database Sys Rev 2007;17(4). [Abstract] (View)

Term used in 

  • Brownell M, De Coster C, Penfold R, Derksen S, Au W, Schultz J, Dahl M. Manitoba Child Health Atlas Update. Winnipeg, MB: Manitoba Centre for Health Policy, 2008. [Report] [Summary] [Additional Materials] (View)
  • Chartier M, Finlayson G, Prior H, McGowan K, Chen H, de Rocquigny J, Walld R, Gousseau M. Health and Healthcare Utilization of Francophones in Manitoba. Winnipeg, MB: Manitoba Centre for Health Policy, 2012. [Report] [Summary] (View)
  • Chateau D, Enns M, Ekuma O, Koseva I, McDougall C, Kulbaba C, Allegro E. Evaluation of the Manitoba IMPRxOVE Program. Winnipeg, MB: Manitoba Centre for Health Policy, 2015. [Report] [Summary] (View)
  • Heaman M, Kingston D, Helewa M, Brownell M, Derksen S, Bogdanovic B, McGowan K, Bailly A. Perinatal Services and Outcomes in Manitoba. Winnipeg, MB: Manitoba Centre for Health Policy, 2012. [Report] [Summary] [Updates and Errata] (View)
  • Katz A, Bogdanovic B, Soodeen R. Physician Integrated Network Baseline Evaluation: Linking Electronic Medical Records and Administrative Data. Winnipeg, MB: Manitoba Centre for Health Policy, 2010. [Report] [Summary] (View)
  • Martens PJ, Bartlett J, Burland E, Prior H, Burchill C, Huq S, Romphf L, Sanguins J, Carter S, Bailly A. Profile of Metis Health Status and Healthcare Utilization in Manitoba: A Population-Based Study. Winnipeg, MB: Manitoba Centre for Health Policy, 2010. [Report] [Summary] [Updates and Errata] [Additional Materials] (View)

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