Evidence to practice: SSRI and SNRI antidepressants in the treatment of depression

Depression across the lifespan is prevalent in around a fifth of the population worldwide. Threequarters of those who experience depression have an illness onset before the age of 25. Depression in young people has potential long-term adverse consequences, causing disruption to emotional well-being, interpersonal relationships and educational and occupational functioning. Early identification of depression, combined with early, targeted intervention, can have beneficial effects for young people. However, determining which treatment is the most appropriate, effective and safe is often not straight forward, especially when there is conflicting evidence on the efficacy of antidepressant medications. This resource will provide a review of the latest evidence for antidepressant medication, primarily selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and selective noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), in the treatment of depressive disorders in young people. For the purpose of this document the term ‘young people’ refers to individuals aged 12–25, unless otherwise specified.