Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, are a class of psychotropic drugs used as antidepressants. SSRIs  modify the concentration in the brain of some neurotransmitters responsible for the regulation of mood (in particular by increasing that of serotonin) by blocking the main biological process of eliminating it from the synaptic vesicle (reuptake). They are therefore used for a wide variety of psychological disorders such as major depression, anxiety disorders (panic attacks, generalized anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder), eating disorders, posttraumatic stress disorder etc.

We have plenty of useful mnemonics to help you remember the SSRIs.

SSRIs include: remember “Effective For Sadness, Panic , Compulsion”

For-Fluvoxamine, Fluoxetine

The mnemonic also gives the main indications: Depression (Sadness), PTSD and anxiety disorders (Panic), and OCD (Compulsions). 

Side effects of SSRIs : remember “SSSS”

Stomach upset
Sexual dysfunction
Serotonin syndrome
Suicidal thoughts

Side Effects of SSRI’s can be remembered using the mnemonic 7S.

7 S’s:

Stomach upset (GI upset)

Sexual dysfunction

Serotonin syndrome – with other serotonergic agents (i.e. MAOs) – hyperthermia, muscle rigidity, flushing, diarrhea

Sleep difficulties (insomnia)

Suicidal thoughts ( esp. in patients age 24 and under)
Stress (agitation, anxiety)
Size increase / Weight gain

SNRI’s (Selective Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors):

Vexed & Depressed

Vexed – Venlafaxine
Depressed – Duloxetine & Desvenlafaxine (active metabolite of venlafaxine) — Duloxetine

Indications of SNRIsGeneralized Anxiety Disorder (Vexed) and Major Depressive Disorder (Depressed)

Adverse effects of SNRIs can be remembered using the mnemonic SHAT


Same adverse effects as SSRI’s, plus


Adrenergic effects (awake [insomnia], anxious, agitated)



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