Reboxetine is the generic name of a new drug for treating depression. It has been sold in parts of Europe under the brand name Edronax. The manufacturer, Pharmacia and Upjohn, has applied for permission to sell reboxetine in the United States.
Reboxetine represents the first in a promising new class of anti-depressants called NARIs, noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors. Adrenaline is also called epinephrine, so you may see noradrenaline referred to as norepinephrine. Currently, the most highly publicized anti-depressants are SSRIs, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, a category which includes Prozac. NARIs target the brain chemical noradrenaline, while SSRIs target seratonin, another brain chemical which helps regulate mood.
Evidence indicates that NARIs may be more effective than SSRIs in treating severe depression. Reboxetine seems to have fewer negative side effects than SSRIs and another class of medications, tricyclic anti-depressants. It is not free of side effects, though. Reboxetine may cause dry mouth, insomnia, constipation and sweating.
Despite its promise, do not expect miracles if reboxetine is approved in the United States. But it may prove to be an important tool in the arsenal of depression drugs which may be used as a first-line therapy for severe depression, when other medications fail or when patients cannot tolerate side effects of other drugs.