The different imbalances of the messenger substances claim different groups of drugs for themselves, which are supposed to specifically address the imbalance and alleviate or reduce symptoms. All the groups of drugs mentioned below belong to the so-called psychotropic drugs. This group of drugs generally includes all drugs that have a psychoactive effect and thus affect the activity of the CNS (= central nervous system).
They act at the synapse / at the synaptic cleft, i.e. exactly where messenger substances are used to transmit stimuli from nerve cell to nerve cell. You can find more information under Causes of ADS on the ADS – Main Page. The following groups of drugs are used in case of a messenger imbalance: Depending on the necessity and nature of the imbalance, the treating physician will prescribe medication from the appropriate group.
In case of AD(H)S, stimulants are primarily used. Within the framework of therapy for AD(H)S adults, the use of tricyclic antidepressants may also be advisable. – MAO – Inhibitors
- NARI (Selective Norepinephrine Resumption Inhibitors)
- RIMA (Reversible Monoaminooxidase Inhibitors)
- SNRI (Serotonin – Norepinephrine – Resumption inhibitor)
- SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor)
- Tricyclic antidepressants (neurotransmitters – reuptake – inhibitors)
The table is limited to essential medication for ADS/ADHD therapy using antidepressants.
The table makes no claim to completeness and corresponds to our state of knowledge. Possible deviations are possible. The drug Strattera® described in the table has only been available on the German market since 2005.
Due to its active ingredient atomoxetine, Strattera® belongs to the group of so-called selective noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors, the NARI. These drugs ensure that noradrenaline (= red) is not immediately reabsorbed after release and thus remains longer in the synaptic cleft. The drug has only a minor effect on the other messenger substances.
Classical antidepressants are synonymous with tricyclic antidepressants, whose name indicates their chemical structure. Antidepressants have a reuptake-inhibiting effect with regard to several messenger systems, i.e. they do not act so specifically on certain neurotransmitters. This is one of the reasons why they are usually only used when the first choice drugs (stimulants) and NARI do not have the desired effect or when depression is added to the clinical picture.
Monoaminooxidase (= MAO) – Inhibitor
The three letters of the MAO inhibitors stand for monoaminooxidase. This is an enzyme which is responsible for the breakdown of transmitters in the central nervous system. By inhibiting this enzyme, the breakdown of neurotransmitters is also inhibited.
As a result, a larger amount of transmitters is temporarily available in the synaptic cleft. In the case of ADHD, the active ingredient is moclobemide, which is prescribed in the form of Aurorix® or Moclix®, for example. Like tricyclic antidepressants, MAO inhibitors are only used when first-choice drugs are not effective or are contraindicated.