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Tricyclic Antidepressants

  1. Bret R. Rutherford,
  2. Steven P. Roose

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy1012

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Rutherford, B. R. and Roose, S. P. 2010. Tricyclic Antidepressants. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–3.

Author Information

  1. New York State Psychiatric Institute, Columbia University

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Following their introduction in the 1960s, the tricyclic antidepressants soon became widely used for the treatment of depression. Along with phenothiazine antipsychotic medications for the treatment of schizophrenia and lithium for the treatment of bipolar disorder, tricyclic antidepressants ushered in the modern era of psychopharmacology. Today, the established efficacy of the tricyclics must be balanced against their problematic side effects, and they have been supplanted by serotonin reuptake inhibitors and other agents as first-line treatment for depression. However, tricyclics continue to be effective options for patients with treatment-resistant depression, as well as a range of other psychiatric and nonpsychiatric disorders.


  • major depression;
  • dysthymia;
  • suicide;
  • antidepressant;
  • augmentation;
  • treatment resistant depression