Desipramine Side Effects
Not all side effects for desipramine may be reported. You should always consult a doctor or healthcare professional for medical advice. Side effects can be reported to the FDA here.
For the Consumer
Applies to desipramine: oral tablet
In addition to its needed effects, some unwanted effects may be caused by desipramine. In the event that any of these side effects do occur, they may require medical attention.
You should check with your doctor immediately if any of these side effects occur when taking desipramine:Incidence not known
- Abdominal or stomach pain
- black, tarry stools
- blurred or double vision
- burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, "pins and needles", or tingling feelings
- chest pain or discomfort
- confusion about identity, place, and time
- cough or hoarseness
- dark urine
- dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
- dry mouth
- fast, irregular, pounding, or racing heartbeat or pulse
- inability to move the arms, legs, or facial muscles
- inability to speak
- light-colored stools
- loss of appetite
- loss of bladder control
- muscle spasms or jerking of all extremities
- pain or discomfort in the arms, jaw, back, or neck
- painful or difficult urination
- pinpoint red or purple spots on the skin
- pounding in the ears
- seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there
- shakiness and unsteady walk
- slow speech
- sore throat and fever
- sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth
- stiffness of the limbs
- sudden loss of consciousness
- swollen glands
- talking, feeling, and acting with excitement
- trouble sleeping
- twisting body movements
- unsteadiness, trembling, or problems with muscle control or coordination
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- yellow eyes and skin
Some of the side effects that can occur with desipramine may not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to the medicine during treatment these side effects may go away. Your health care professional may also be able to tell you about ways to reduce or prevent some of these side effects. If any of the following side effects continue, are bothersome or if you have any questions about them, check with your health care professional:Incidence not known
- Abdominal or stomach cramps
- bigger, dilated, or enlarged pupils (black part of the eye)
- decrease in the frequency of urination
- decrease in urine volume
- decreased interest in sexual intercourse
- difficulty in passing urine (dribbling)
- hair loss or thinning of the hair
- inability to have or keep an erection
- increased in sexual ability, desire, drive, or performance
- increased interest in sexual intercourse
- increased sensitivity of the eyes to light
- loss in sexual ability, desire, drive, or performance
- painful urination
- swelling of the breasts or breast soreness in both females and males
- swelling or inflammation of the mouth
- unexpected or excess milk flow from breasts in females
For Healthcare Professionals
Applies to desipramine: compounding powder, oral tablet
Anticholinergic effects have been reported frequently and include dry mouth, blurry vision, constipation and urinary retention.
Nervous system side effects are common. General stimulation (manifested by insomnia and subjective and objective evidence of increased activity) have been reported frequently. Drowsiness, lightheadedness, dizziness, sleep abnormalities, myoclonus, jitteriness, tremor, delirium, cognitive impairment (especially in the elderly), and seizures have also been reported.
Nearly all selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, mixed serotonin/norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, and tricyclic antidepressants cause sleep abnormalities to some extent. These antidepressants have marked dose-dependent effects on rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, causing reductions in the overall amount of REM sleep over the night and delays the first entry into REM sleep (increased REM sleep onset latency (ROL)), both in healthy subjects and depressed patients. The antidepressants that increase serotonin function appear to have the greatest effect on REM sleep. The reduction in REM sleep is greatest early in treatment, but gradually returns towards baseline during long-term therapy; however, ROL remains long. Following discontinuation of therapy the amount of REM sleep tends to rebound. Some of these drugs (i.e., bupropion, mirtazapine, nefazodone, trazodone, trimipramine) appear to have a modest or minimal effect on REM sleep.
Orthostatic hypotension, tachycardia, PR interval prolongation, QRS widening, other conduction abnormalities and ventricular arrhythmias have been reported. One study has found a the relative risk of myocardial infarction to be 2.2 times greater in patients receiving tricyclic antidepressants including desipramine.
Both antiarrhythmic and proarrhythmic effects have been reported in association with tricyclic therapy. One case report of a patient who experienced cardiac ischemia while taking desipramine has suggested that genetic differences in drug metabolizing activity may predispose some patients to desipramine- induced cardiotoxicity. Caution should be exercised if desipramine must be used in patients with cardiovascular disease.
Weight gain, and less frequently, hair loss have been reported.
Hyponatremia in association with the syndrome of inappropriate secretion of antidiuretic hormone has been reported.
Dry mouth and constipation have been reported most frequently although nausea, vomiting and diarrhea have also occurred.
Although tricyclic antidepressants are not addicting, withdrawal symptoms (such as nervousness, anxiety, restlessness, akathisia, nausea, malaise, sweating and salivation) after abrupt discontinuation of tricyclics may occur. However, withdrawal from desipramine has been reported less frequently than with other tricyclics.
A case of reversible eosinophilia with neutropenia has been reported.
Hypersensitivity reactions, particularly drug eruptions, have been reported. Bronchospasm has also occurred.
Drug-induced hepatitis and liver function test abnormalities have been rarely reported.
Urinary retention and male and female sexual dysfunction have been reported.
A single case of desipramine- induced photosensitive blue- gray pigmentation has been reported.
More about desipramine
- Other brands: Norpramin
Related treatment guides
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