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What are the newest depression medications?

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Some of the newest antidepressants include Auvelity, Exxua, and Zurzuvae. Many potential depression medications are also undergoing clinical trials, including hydroxynorketamine and apimostinel.
Medically reviewed by Nicole Washington, DO, MPH
Updated on

Depression is a mental health condition that can cause persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a loss of interest in daily activities. It can make it tough to be present at work, at school, and in relationships. Your physical health can also take a toll.

If you have depression, you’re not alone. It affects a significant portion of the U.S. population.

But, not everyone responds well to available treatment options. Researchers are constantly on the lookout for new and better ways to treat this common mental health condition.

Read on to find out more about new antidepressants available now.

New antidepressants in 2023

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Here are some of the new antidepressants that have recently entered the market. They offer new ways to target different types of depression.

Dextromethorphan-bupropion (Auvelity)

Dextromethorphan-bupropion (Auvelity) is an oral tablet. It’s a type of sigma-1 receptor agonist and norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved it in August 2022 to treat major depressive disorder (MDD) in adults.

In clinical trials, Auvelity started working in just 1 week. The best effects were seen after 4–6 weeks.

Side effects may include:

  • dizziness
  • nausea 
  • headache
  • diarrhea
  • drowsiness
  • dry mouth 
  • sexual dysfunction, like reduced libido or erectile dysfunction 
  • sweating

The American Association of Psychiatric Pharmacists (AAPP) notes that although Auvelity is only approved for MDD, some doctors may prescribe it for other uses, also known as off-label usage.

Some healthcare professionals may prescribe it for other types of depression or other conditions, like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Gepirone (Exxua) 

Gepirone (Exxua) is a type of oral azapirone antidepressant. Although its mechanism of action is not fully understood, researchers believe it improves levels of serotonin and stimulates specific receptors in your central nervous system, reducing depression symptoms. 

The FDA approved it for treating MDD in adults in September 2023. A doctor can discuss the availability of gepirone and whether it may be an effective treatment option for you.

Possible gepirone side effects include: 

  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • insomnia
  • stomach pain
  • indigestion

A 2019 research review explains that a key benefit of Exxua is that, unlike many other antidepressants, it does not cause sexual dysfunction.

The researchers also note that a potential off-label use of gepirone is anxiety disorder management. 

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Zuranolone (Zurzuvae)

Zuranolone (Zurzuvae) is an oral antidepressant in the class of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptor-positive modulators. 

The FDA approved the drug in August 2023 to treat postpartum depression (PPD). It’s the first drug approved to treat PPD.

You take it for just 14 days, and the effects can last for more than 4 weeks after your last dose.

Potential side effects are:

  • dizziness
  • fatigue and drowsiness
  • urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • a higher risk of the common cold

According to a 2023 clinical trial, zuranolone may also treat MDD effectively. Some medical professionals may prescribe off-label for this purpose.

If you need help covering the cost of medications, the free Optum Perks Discount Card could help you save up to 80% on prescription drugs. Follow the links on drug names for savings on that medication, or search for a specific drug here.

Other available antidepressants in 2023

Many other antidepressants have been around for a while. A few of the most common antidepressants include:

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)

SSRIs are currently the first-line treatment for depression.

They work by inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, appetite, sleep, and cognition. This can reduce symptoms of depression.

Here are some generic and brand-name SSRIs:

Two other antidepressants, vilazodone (Viibryd) and vortioxetine (Trintellix), are in a category called serotonin modulators. These medications work similarly to SSRIs by improving the release of serotonin in the brain.

Depending on the exact type and brand, SSRIs are FDA-approved to treat mood disorders like: 

  • anxiety disorders
  • panic disorder 
  • depression
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • bulimia

Off-label uses can include: 

  • binge eating disorder (BED) 
  • autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
  • certain symptoms of menopause
  • body dysmorphic disorder
  • fibromyalgia

Possible side effects include:

  • sexual dysfunction
  • sleep issues
  • weight changes
  • dizziness
  • anxiety 
  • headaches
  • stomach issues
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Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)

SNRIs block the reuptake of both serotonin and norepinephrine. Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter that regulates alertness, attention, and the stress response.

FDA-approved SNRIs available in the United States include:

Approved uses vary depending on the specific SNRI. For example, duloxetine can treat conditions like:

  • MDD
  • anxiety 
  • fibromyalgia
  • muscle pain

Off-label uses may include treatment for nerve damage from chemotherapy and stress-related urinary incontinence.

Side effects can include: 

  • headache
  • fatigue and drowsiness
  • stomach pain
  • nausea
  • weight loss
  • dry mouth
  • constipation or diarrhea

Other antidepressants

In addition to the above categories, other antidepressants include:

Talk with a mental health professional to learn if any of these options might be right for you. They can assess your needs and help develop a personalized depression treatment plan, which may include a combination of medication, lifestyle changes, and therapy.

Antidepressants in clinical trials

Many new antidepressants are in various stages of clinical trials.

One specific type of antidepressant undergoing clinical trials is glutamatergic modulators. These drugs aim to alter the glutamate neurotransmitter in your central nervous system.

According to a 2021 paper, research into the following glutamatergic modulators is ongoing:

  • hydroxynorketamine (HNK)
  • NV-5138
  • dextromethadone (REL-1017)
  • apimostinel (GATE-202)

Other emerging antidepressant treatments include: 


In 2023, several new antidepressant medications hit the United States market by gaining FDA approval. These included dextromethorphan-bupropion (Auvelity), gepirone (Exxua), and zuranolone (Zurzuvae). Each has unique mechanisms of action and approved uses. 

Clinical trials are also ongoing for other novel depression treatments.

In addition to new options, older antidepressants include SSRIs, SNRIs, TCAs, and MAOIs.

If you have depression symptoms, consider reaching out to a qualified mental health professional. They can help develop a treatment plan that’s right for you.

Download the free Optum Perks Discount Card to save up to 80% on some prescription medications.

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