Prospects for Safer Psychopharmacologic Treatment of Affective Disorders in the Elderly

  • Charles A. Shamoian
Conference paper


With our present pharmaceutical and somatic modalities of intervention a very high percentage of elderly depressives may be effectively treated. Although a wide variety of side effects have been associated with the use of antidepressants such as TCAs, these may be minimized by (1) an understanding of the drug’s affinities for specific receptors; (2) a knowledge of the physiologic changes associated with normal and pathological aging which effect the pharmacokinetics of the TCA; (3) appropriate sampling of plasma levels; and (4) avoiding drug-drug interactions.

The future holds great promise for the development of new antidepressants that will be more specific and have a fewer side effects. As the specificity of antidepressants is increased, the greater will be the opportunities for understanding the biological underpinnings of depression in the elderly who so often challenge our diagnostic and clinical abilities.


Unwanted Side Effect Anticholinergic Side Effect Biological Underpinning Fluphenazine Decanoate Adrenergic Receptor Blocker 
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© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1985

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  • Charles A. Shamoian

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