Desipramine (By mouth)

Introduction

Desipramine (des-IP-ra-meen)

Treats depression. This medicine is a tricyclic antidepressant.

Brand Name(s)

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

Norpramin

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

You should not use desipramine if you have had an allergic reaction to desipramine, or to any other tricyclic antidepressant (such as nortriptyline or Elavil®). You should not use desipramine if you have had a recent heart attack or are taking an MAO inhibitor medicine (such as Eldepryl®, Marplan®, Nardil®, or Parnate®).

How to Use This Medicine

Tablet

  • 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.
  • You may take this medicine with or without food.
  • 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. Your doctor might ask you to sign some forms to show that you understand this information.

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 leftover medicine after you have finished your treatment. You will also need to throw away old medicine after the expiration date has passed.
  • 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 chlordiazepoxide (Librium®), cimetidine (Tagamet®), diazepam (Valium®), guanethidine (Ismelin®), thyroid medicine (such as levothyroxine, liothyronine, Cytomel®, Levoxyl®, or Synthroid®), medicine for heart rhythm problems (such as flecainide, propafenone, quinidine, Quinaglute®, Rythmol®, or Tambocor®), or phenothiazine medicine (such as prochlorperazine, Compazine®, Mellaril®, Phenergan®, Thorazine®, or Trilafon®).
  • Tell your doctor if you are also using other medicine to treat depression (such as fluoxetine, paroxetine, sertraline, Paxil®, Prozac®, or Zoloft®). You must wait at least 5 weeks between using this medicine and fluoxetine (Prozac®).
  • 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 while you are using this medicine.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease, thyroid problems, mental disorder (such as schizophrenia), or history of seizures, glaucoma, or problems with urination.
  • For some children, teenagers, and young adults, this medicine can increase thoughts of suicide. Tell your doctor or your child's doctor right away if you or your child start to feel more depressed and have thoughts about hurting yourselves. Report any unusual thoughts or behaviors that trouble you or your child, especially if they are new or are getting worse quickly. Make sure the doctor knows if you or your child have trouble sleeping, get upset easily, have a big increase in energy, or start to act reckless. Also tell the doctor if you or your child have sudden or strong feelings, such as feeling nervous, angry, restless, violent, or scared. Let the doctor know if you, your child, or anyone in your family has bipolar disorder (manic-depressive) or has tried to commit suicide.
  • This medicine may make you dizzy or drowsy. Avoid driving, using machines, or doing anything else that could be dangerous if you are not alert.
  • 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.
  • This medicine may raise or lower your blood sugar, or it may cover up symptoms of very low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).
  • This medicine may make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. Use a sunscreen when you are outdoors. Avoid sunlamps and tanning beds.
  • 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 progress 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.
  • Anxiety, agitation, restlessness, or mood or mental changes.
  • Change in how much or how often you urinate, or problems with urination.
  • Chest pain or shortness of breath.
  • Fast, slow, pounding, or irregular heartbeat.
  • Fever, sweating, confusion, muscle stiffness.
  • Lightheadedness or fainting.
  • Numbness or weakness in your arm or leg, or on one side of your body.
  • Numbness, tingling, or burning pain in your hands, arms, legs, or feet.
  • Seizures or tremors.
  • Severe confusion, or seeing or hearing things that are not there.
  • Strange thoughts or behavior, including thoughts of hurting yourself or others.
  • Sudden or severe headache, problems with vision, speech, balance, or walking.
  • Trouble sleeping or unusual dreams.
  • Twitching or muscle movements you cannot control.
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising.
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness.
  • Yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes.

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Breast swelling and discharge in women.
  • Diarrhea, constipation, nausea, vomiting, or stomach cramps.
  • Drowsiness or dizziness.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Headache.
  • Hair loss.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Ringing in the ears.
  • Skin rash or itching.
  • Sores or white patches on your lips, mouth, or throat.
  • Sweating.
  • Problems with sex.
  • Warmth or redness in your face, neck, arms, or upper chest.
  • Weight changes.

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

Review Date: 2011-02-04 Reviewed By: Keywords: ,
Adam Data Copyright The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only--they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2010 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

For information 410.787.4000

© 2013 UM Baltimore Washington Medical Center.  All rights reserved.

301 Hospital Drive, Glen Burnie, MD 21061 | 410-787-4000 | TTY 410-787-4498