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Nortriptyline Hydrochloride


Pronunciation: nor-TRIP-tih-leen HIGH-droe-KLOR-ide
Class: Tricyclic compound

Trade Names

Aventyl Hydrochloride Pulvules
- Capsules 10 mg
- Capsules 25 mg

Nortriptyline Hydrochloride
- Solution 10 mg base/5 mL

- Capsules 10 mg
- Capsules 25 mg
- Capsules 50 mg
- Capsules 75 mg

Apo-Nortriptyline (Canada)
Gen-Nortriptyline (Canada)
ratio-Nortriptyline (Canada)


Inhibits reuptake of norepinephrine and serotonin in CNS.

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Indications and Usage

Relief of symptoms of depression.

Unlabeled Uses

Treatment of panic disorder, premenstrual depression, dermatologic disorders (eg, chronic urticaria, angioedema, nocturnal pruritus in atopic eczema).


Hypersensitivity to any tricyclic antidepressant. Generally, not to be given in combination with or within 14 days of treatment with MAOIs or during acute recovery phases of MI.

Dosage and Administration


PO 25 mg 3 times daily to 4 times daily. Doses more than 150 mg/day are not recommended.

Elderly and Adolescents

PO 30 to 50 mg/day in divided doses.


Store at room temperature (59° to 86°F) in tight container.

Drug Interactions


Dicumaral actions may increase.


Carbamazepine levels may increase; nortriptyline levels may decrease.

Cimetidine, fluoxetine

Coadministration may increase nortriptyline blood levels and effects.

CNS depressants

Depressant effects may be additive.


May result in hypertensive crisis.


Hypotensive action may be inhibited.

MAO Inhibitors

Hyperpyretic crisis, convulsions and death may occur.


Pressor response may decrease.

Laboratory Test Interactions

None well documented.

Adverse Reactions


Orthostatic hypotension; hypertension; tachycardia; palpitations; arrhythmias; ECG changes; stroke; heart block; CHF.


Confusion; hallucinations; delusions; nervousness; restlessness; agitation; panic; insomnia; nightmares; mania; exacerbation of psychosis; drowsiness; dizziness; weakness; fatigue; emotional lability; seizures; tremors; extrapyramidal symptoms (eg, pseudoparkinsonism, movement disorders, akathisia).


Rash; pruritus; photosensitivity reaction; dry skin; acne.


Nasal congestion; tinnitus; conjunctivitis; mydriasis; blurred vision; increased IOP; peculiar taste in mouth.


Nausea; vomiting; anorexia; GI distress; diarrhea; flatulence; dry mouth; constipation.


Impotence; sexual dysfunction; nocturia; urinary frequency; urinary tract infection; vaginitis; cystitis; dysmenorrhea; amenorrhea; urinary retention and hesitancy.


Bone marrow depression including agranulocytosis; eosinophilia; purpura; thrombocytopenia; leukopenia.


Hepatitis; jaundice.


Elevation or depression of blood sugar.


Pharyngitis; rhinitis; sinusitis; laryngitis; coughing.


Numbness; breast enlargement.



Category D . Safety not established. Limb reduction anomalies have been reported with nortriptyline.


Excreted in breast milk.


Safety and efficacy not established.

Special Risk Patients

Use drug with caution in patients with history of seizures, urinary retention, urethral or ureteral spasm, angle-closure glaucoma or increased IOP, CV disorders, hyperthyroid patients or those receiving thyroid medication, patients with hepatic or renal impairment, schizophrenia, or paranoia.



Confusion, vomiting, muscle rigidity, ECG abnormalities, seizures, agitation, fever, hyperactive reflexes, CHF, coma, respiratory depression, death.

Patient Information

  • Advise patient to avoid sudden position changes to prevent orthostatic hypotension.
  • Explain that it may take up to 2 wk for therapeutic effects to become evident.
  • Caution patient to avoid exposure to sunlight and to use sunscreen or wear protective clothing to avoid photosensitivity reaction.
  • Instruct patient to notify health care provider of visual disturbances.
  • Advise patient to take sips of water frequently, suck on ice chips or sugarless hard candy or chew sugarless gum if dry mouth occurs.
  • Caution patient that drug may cause drowsiness and to use caution while driving or performing other tasks requiring mental alertness.
  • Instruct patient not to double dose if one is missed and to notify health care provider if more than 1 dose is missed.
  • Advise that side effects will be decreased if taken at bedtime if prescribed as once-daily dose.

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