Review – Antidepressants are quite often applied in the treatment of chronic pain. Available research findings indicate complexity of the mechanism underlying their analgesic action. The following factors most likely contribute to this effect: noradrenalin or serotonin reuptake blocking, a specific effect on opioid receptors, adenosine reuptake inhibition, blocking of both the NMDA receptor and ion channels. Analgesic action of TLPD was proven, and numerous data confirm also SSRI effectiveness in the treatment of pain. However, this group of pharmaceuticals requires further research. Preliminary reports on the analgesic effect of SNRI seem to be most promising. In patients with chronic pain and no symptoms of depressive disorders an attempt can be made to administer antidepressants due to their analgesic effect.
Conclusions – Antidepressants, particularly those with few side effects involving no risk to patients' health, may be considered as an auxiliary remedy at all levels of the "analgesic ladder".