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Neuropathological Diseases

ISSN Imprimir: 2160-2468
ISSN En Línea: 2160-2476

Archives: Volume 1, 2012 to Volume 2, 2013

Neuropathological Diseases

DOI: 10.1615/NeuropatholDiseases.v1.i2.60
pages 179-202

Antidepressants in Oncology: Reason and Choice

Riccardo G.V. Torta
Department of Neuroscience, University of Turin, Clinical and Oncological Psychology Unit, 10126, Turin, Italy
Marco Miniotti
Department of Neuroscience, University of Turin, Clinical and Oncological Psychology Unit, 10126, Turin, Italy
Paolo Leombruni
Department of Neuroscience, University of Turin, Clinical and Oncological Psychology Unit, 10126, Turin, Italy

SINOPSIS

The medications known as antidepressants are the group of psychotropic drugs used most often in psycho-oncology for their wide spectrum of action, ranging from mood improvement to the control of anxiety and pain. Antidepressants are drugs that act on the whole body rather than just the central nervous system. They also modulate the hormonal and immune systems, particularly normalizing stress-induced alterations. In oncology, the choice of an antidepressant must involve consideration of the symptoms and the dimensional aspects more than strict diagnostic criteria. A careful evaluation of the balance between effectiveness and safety, considering the possibility of interactions between antidepressants and oncological treatments, is crucial. In that context, this paper discusses each class of antidepressant relative to the present research literature concerning the specific use of each drug in oncological patients, noting that criteria of effectiveness and safety can differ from those established for the general psychiatric population without organic comorbidity. Finally, some aspects of the use of antidepressants in the treatment of patients with pain will be discussed, as these drugs exert an intrinsic antalgic activity even when depressed mood is not present. Indeed, antidepressants act not only on the somatic modulation of pain, but are also effective on the emotional and cognitive aspects of pain, therefore intensifying the analgesic activity of traditional painkillers.

PALABRAS CLAVE: antidepressants, oncology, pain

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