How Do Serotonin Antagonist and Reuptake Inhibitors Work?

antidepressant medication pills

Serotonin antagonist and reuptake inhibitors may sound like a difficult mouthful of medical words but are more commonly known as antidepressants. Common brands of serotonin antagonist and reuptake inhibitors include trazodone. SARIs are used mainly to treat major depressive disorder in adults. They are sometimes offered for the treatment of insomnia for patients who dislike the dizzying effects of other sleep medications. SARIs are non-narcotic.

Studies have shown that medications like trazodone are comparable to other drug classes such as serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like Prozac or Zoloft, and serotonin-noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) such as Cymbalta or Effexor. SARIs may also help individuals bypass certain side effects common with medications like SSRIs, symptoms like insomnia, anxiety and sexual dysfunction.

How Do Serotonin Antagonist and Reuptake Inhibitors Work?

Neurotransmitters are chemicals that pass messages in your brain, telling you to feel certain ways. A specific neurotransmitter, serotonin, is thought to be responsible for feelings of well-being and happiness. When an individual suffers from major depressive disorder, their brain experiences decreased serotonin activity, resulting in low self-esteem, low energy and loss of interest in daily activities.

Neurotransmitter receptors receive the messages from the neurotransmitters resulting in your brain processing these signals. Serotonin antagonist and reuptake inhibitors work by antagonizing, or blocking, the serotonin receptors from their usual reuptake process, where the neurotransmitters would generally process and then be removed. Instead, the SARIs allow serotonin to remain in the neurotransmitter system for longer periods of time, thus resulting in an elevated mood and an increased pleasure in activities.

Used in combination with therapy, SARIs allow individuals struggling with major depressive disorder to develop the coping skills necessary to manage their depression. Therapy provides a safe place for people to process their feelings and learn how to handle them in the future. Aided by the increased sense of well-being provided by the serotonin antagonist and reuptake inhibitors, individuals with major depressive disorder are better able to combat their depression and live a happy, healthy life.



“Rediscovering trazodone for the treatment of major depressive disorder” – Fagiolini A, Comandini A, Catena Dell’Osso M, Kasper S

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