NDRI antidepressants are a common medication. Doctors prescribe these drugs to fight depression. However, NDRIs are not usually a first-line antidepressant. Doctors usually prescribe them for people who are resistant to other drugs like SSRIs.
This article explains what NDRIs are for and who should use them. If you’re thinking about taking antidepressants you should learn about them first.
What Are NDRI Antidepressants?
NDRI stands for norepinephrine dopamine reuptake inhibitor. Quite a mouthful! Nonetheless, these drugs can be understood with a bit of knowledge about the brain.
The brain makes use of chemicals called neurotransmitters. These chemicals transmit messages between brain cells. Many of these chemicals regulate feelings like mood, energy levels, and sex drive.
Two of these chemicals are known as norepinephrine and dopamine. These chemicals have different functions in the brain.
- Dopamine plays a number of functions. It primarily affects our motivation, our mood, energy levels, sex drive, and appetite.
- Norepinephrine, or noradrenaline, works together with adrenaline. They regulate our sympathetic nervous system that causes the fight or flight response.
What Is Reuptake?
These antidepressants work through a process called reuptake.
Normally, these brain chemicals do their job by activating a receptor. This sends a message to the brain and the nervous system to perform certain functions like balancing mood. After the chemical activates this receptor, it is absorbed by a protein. This protein takes them away from the receptor so they don’t continually bombard it.
This process is known as reuptake.
The theory behind reuptake inhibitors is that, by inhibiting reuptake, people can get more use out of their neurotransmitters. If someone has a dopamine imbalance and they take an NDRI, then that dopamine will remain in the synaptic cleft. This is where the receptor sites are.
This means that the dopamine can keep activating the receptor. If you have an imbalance, then this allows you to get more use out of your active dopamine.
Examples of NDRI Drugs
There are a couple of common NDRI drugs.
The most common NDRI for depression is bupropion (Wellbutrin, Zyban). This is the only approved drug for treating depression in the United States.
Methylphenidate (Ritalin) is another common NDRI. However, its effects are more immediate and stimulating. Ritalin is generally used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy because of its stimulant properties.
NDRI Side Effects
There are some common side effects associated with NDRIs. These include:
- Anxiety and nervousness
- Ringing ears
- Dry mouth
- Nausea and cramping
These side effects are not usually debilitating. If you’re experiencing uncomfortable side effects, then it’s a good idea to speak with your doctor.
NDRIs are useful for treating certain types of depression, but they’re not without side effects. NDRIs can be quite stimulating but in some cases, this is helpful for treating depression marked by lethargy.
These drugs are less likely to cause apathy than other antidepressants, so if you’re experiencing trouble with apathy you may want to consider them. You might also want to look into choosing the most energizing antidepressant if you’re struggling with low energy and motivation.