The Food and Drug Administration in August 2006 approved the first generic version of Effexor (venlafaxine), a dual-action norepinephrine/serotonin reuptake inhibitor, for the treatment of major depression.  This is welcome news for people with serious depression who do not have health insurance or pharmacy benefit plans. 

In some clinical studies venlafaxine has been shown to be slightly superior to common SSRIs with regard to achieving remission from depressive symptoms, but in its generic immediate-release form the recommended dosing is a three times per day regimen.  Studies have shown that it is difficult even for physicians to remember to take a medication three times per day.  The once-per-day extended release form of venlafaxine is currently only available as the brand name Effexor XR®. 

Other  antidepressants now available in generic form include not only the older tricyclic antidepressants and MAOIs, but also fluoxetine, paroxetine, citalopram, fluvoxamine, sertraline, mirtazipine, and buproprion (extended release).  For people without health insurance, several of these antidepressants can be purchased inexpensively for a 90 day supply through such programs as Rx Outreach http://www.rxoutreach.com/en/