Desipramine (By mouth)
Treats depression. This medicine is a tricyclic antidepressant.
There may be other brand names for this medicine.
When This Medicine Should Not Be Used
Do not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to desipramine or if you have had a recent heart attack. Do not use this medicine and an MAO inhibitor (MAOI), such as Eldepryl®, Marplan®, Nardil®, Parnate®, linezolid (Zyvox®), or methylene blue, within 14 days of each other.
How to Use This Medicine
- Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Your dose may need to be changed several times in order to find out what works best for you. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
- It may take several weeks before you notice an improvement in your symptoms. Keep using this medicine as your doctor has told you.
- This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. Ask your pharmacist for the Medication Guide if you do not have one.
If a dose is missed:
- If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to use the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.
How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine
- Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
- Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
- Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.
Drugs and Foods to Avoid
Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
- Make sure your doctor knows if you are taking buspirone (Buspar®), cimetidine (Tagamet®), fentanyl (Abstral®, Duragesic®), guanethidine (Ismelin®), lithium (Eskalith®, Lithobid®), St John's wort, tryptophan, pain or migraine medicines (such as sumatriptan, tramadol, Frova®, Maxalt®, Relpax®, Zomig®), thyroid medicine (such as levothyroxine, liothyronine, Cytomel®, Levoxyl®, Synthroid®), medicine for heart rhythm problems (such as flecainide, propafenone, quinidine, Tambocor®), or a phenothiazine medicine (such as promethazine, Phenergan®, Thorazine®).
- Do not use this medicine if you currently use an MAO inhibitor (MAOI) such as Eldepryl®, linezolid (Zyvox®), Marplan®, methylene blue, Nardil®, or Parnate®.
- Tell your doctor if you are also using other medicine to treat depression, such as amitriptyline, citalopram, fluoxetine, nortriptyline, paroxetine, sertraline, Cymbalta®, Effexor®, Elavil®, Lexapro®, or Pristiq®. You must wait at least 5 weeks after you stop using fluoxetine (Prozac®, Sarafem®) before you can start using desipramine.
- Tell your doctor if you are using any medicines that make you sleepy. These include sleeping pills, cold and allergy medicine, narcotic pain relievers, and sedatives.
- Do not drink alcohol in excess while you are using this medicine. Alcohol may increase thoughts of suicide.
Warnings While Using This Medicine
- Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have kidney disease or urination problems; heart, blood vessel or thyroid problems; schizophrenia; or a history of seizures or glaucoma.
- This medicine may increase thoughts of suicide in some children, teenagers, and young adults. Tell your doctor right away if you start to feel more depressed and have thoughts about hurting yourself. Report any unusual thoughts or behaviors that trouble you, especially if they are new or are getting worse. Tell your doctor if you have trouble sleeping, get upset easily, have an unusual increase in energy, or act reckless. Also tell the doctor if you suddenly feel nervous, angry, restless, violent, impulsive, or scared. Let the doctor know if you or anyone in your family has bipolar disorder or depression, or has tried to commit suicide.
- Call your doctor right away if you have a fever, confusion, mental changes, restlessness, fast heartbeat, muscle spasms, trouble walking, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. This medicine may cause a serious condition, serotonin syndrome, when taken with certain medicines. Your risk may be higher if you also take other medicines that affect serotonin levels in your body.
- This medicine may make you dizzy or drowsy. Avoid driving, using machines, or doing anything else that could be dangerous until you know how this medicine affects you.
- This medicine could raise or lower your blood sugar level.
- Make sure any doctor or dentist who treats you knows that you are using this medicine. You may need to stop using this medicine several days before having surgery or medical tests.
- Do not stop using this medicine suddenly without asking your doctor. You may need to slowly decrease your dose before stopping it completely.
- Your doctor will need to check your blood at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.
Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine
Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:
- Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
- Anger, irritability, panic attacks, trouble sleeping
- Anxiety, restlessness, fast heartbeat, fever, sweating, muscle spasms, twitching, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, seeing or hearing things that are not there
- Extreme mood swings, or sudden increase in activity, energy, or speech (mania)
- Fever and sore throat
- Thoughts of hurting yourself or others, violent or impulsive behavior
- Uneven, fast, or pounding heartbeat
- Unusual behavior
- Worsened depression
If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:
- Drowsiness or dizziness
- Dry mouth
If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088
- Last Reviewed on 06/12/2013
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This page was last updated: June 18, 2013