Now that many patents are expiring on some of the world’s most popular brand name antidepressants like Paxil and Effexor, second generation medications are going to have to fight harder if they want to compete for sales.

When the patents expire on the brand name drugs, generic drug makers start to offer their versions of the popular drugs. Common medications that are used to treat depression and anxiety symptoms like Paxil and Effexor are being sold in generic versions by so many companies that it is thought that the next generation of antidepressants will have to offer something new that Paxil and Effexor don’t offer.

Most of the leading SSRI medications will lose their patents between 2012 and 2015. Newer generations of these medications might benefits the most if they can avoid some of the severe side effects that these other medications have been causing. Most SSRIs have been proven to cause severe mood swings, aggressive behavior, suicidal thoughts and even suicides in certain users. Many lawsuits have been filed against the makers of these drugs amid claims that the manufacturers hid the risks associated with them. Studies have also come out proving that these drugs may not work any better than placebos at treating depression. Second generation drugs would do best to avoid these safety pitfalls.

The newer drugs may also benefit from listening to the physician survey which shows that psychiatrists view Forest’s and Lundbeck’s SSRI drug Lexapro (escitalopram) to be “the leading depression treatment, with a superior efficacy and tolerability profile to other antidepressant brands.” Drug makers should be thinking of what is already being done right to treat depression, and what is likely to come about in depression treatments in the future and meet those needs in the safest manner possible.