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Medicine check-ups for older adults

Depression, anxiety, and mood-related medicines

​​​We all have times when we feel “down” or sad. In older adults, there are many reasons that can lead to feeling depressed, anxious, down, or sad. These include:

  • grief and loss
  • major life changes
  • feeling lonely
  • poor diet
  • trouble sleeping
  • medical conditions, such as dementia
  • pain
  • side effects of medicine

Common medicines for mood

Common medicines for mood include:

Type of medicineName of medicine
antidepressantscitalopram (Celexa)
sertraline (Zoloft)
venlafaxine (Effexor)
duloxetine (Cymbalta)
amitriptyline (Elavil)
desipramine (Norpramin)
nortriptyline (Aventyl)
benzodiazepineslorazepam (Ativan)
oxazepam (Serax)
alprazolam (Xanax)
antipsychoticsolanzapine (Zyprexa)
quetiapine (Seroquel)
risperdone (Risperdal)


If it’s hard for you to cope with your feelings or there is a risk of harming yourself or someone else, medicines may help.


If you use medicines to treat depression or manage your mood, it’s important that you use them carefully and understand their side effects. In some cases, the risk of side effects may be higher than the benefits you get from these medicines. Side effects include:

  • falls
  • confusion
  • memory problems
  • heart-related problems, such changes to your heart rate or high blood pressure
  • dry mouth
  • constipation
  • sudden death (especially when combined with opioid medicines)

Do you need a medicine check-up?

It’s important to regularly talk to your healthcare provider and pharmacist about your medicines. Ask if you still need to take all of your medicines or if you can take a lower dose.

More information

For more information about medicines for depression, anxiety, and mood, search the name of the medicine in the medication database.

Current as of: March 5, 2020

Author: Seniors Health Strategic Clinical Network