Generic Name: desipramine (des-IP-ra-meen)
Brand Name: Norpramin
Antidepressants may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or actions in children, teenagers, and young adults. However, depression and certain other mental problems may also increase the risk of suicide. Talk with the patient's doctor to be sure that the benefits of using desipramine outweigh the risks.
Families and caregivers must closely watch patients who take desipramine. It is important to keep in close contact with the patient's doctor. Tell the doctor right away if the patient has symptoms like worsened depression, suicidal thoughts, or changes in behavior. Discuss any questions with the patient's doctor.
Desipramine is not approved for use in children. Talk with the doctor.
Desipramine is used for:
Treating depression. It may be also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.
Desipramine is a tricyclic antidepressant. Exactly how it works is not fully understood. It is thought to increase the activity of certain chemicals in the brain (eg, norepinephrine, serotonin), which helps elevate mood.
Do NOT use desipramine if:
- you are allergic to any ingredient in desipramine
- you are recovering from a heart attack
- you are taking or have taken linezolid or a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) (eg, phenelzine) within the last 14 days
Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.
Before using desipramine:
Some medical conditions may interact with desipramine. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:
- if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
- if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
- if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
- if you have had a severe allergic reaction (eg, severe rash, hives, difficulty breathing, dizziness) to another tricyclic medicine (eg, imipramine)
- if you drink alcohol or have a history of alcohol abuse
- if someone in your family has a history of sudden death or irregular heartbeat
- if you have a history of glaucoma or increased pressure in the eye, an enlarged prostate, kidney or liver problems, diabetes, problems urinating, stroke, heart problems (eg, fast or irregular heartbeat, heart attack), other mental or mood problems (eg, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia), seizures (eg, epilepsy), suicidal thoughts or tendencies, thyroid problems, or porphyria (a blood disease)
- if you are undergoing electroshock therapy or you are scheduled to have surgery
- if you are taking thyroid medicine or a medicine that contains methylene blue
Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with desipramine. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:
- Linezolid or MAOIs (eg, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline) because a serious, sometimes life-threatening reaction, may occur
- Benzodiazepines (eg, diazepam), buspirone, cimetidine, fentanyl, flecainide, lithium, phenothiazines (eg, chlorpromazine, thioridazine), propafenone, quinidine, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) (eg, fluoxetine, sertraline), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) (eg, duloxetine), St. John's wort, tramadol, other tricyclic antidepressants (eg, amitriptyline), triptans (eg, sumatriptan), or tryptophan because they may increase the risk of desipramine's side effects
- Anticholinergics (eg, oxybutynin, scopolamine) because they may decrease desipramine's effectiveness
- Guanethidine or sympathomimetics (eg, albuterol, amphetamine, pseudoephedrine) because their effectiveness may be decreased by desipramine
This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if desipramine may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.
How to use desipramine:
Use desipramine as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.
- Desipramine comes with an extra patient information sheet called a Medication Guide. Read it carefully. Read it again each time you get desipramine refilled.
- Take desipramine by mouth with or without food.
- If you are switching from fluoxetine to desipramine, you may need to discontinue fluoxetine for up to 5 weeks before starting desipramine. Ask your doctor if you have any questions.
- Taking desipramine at bedtime may help reduce side effects such as daytime drowsiness. Discuss this possibility with your health care provider.
- Continue to take desipramine even if you feel well. Do not miss any doses.
- If you miss a dose of desipramine, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.
Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use desipramine.
Important safety information:
- Desipramine may cause drowsiness, dizziness, blurred vision, or light-headedness. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use desipramine with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
- Check with your doctor before you drink alcohol or use medicines that may cause drowsiness (eg, sleep aids, muscle relaxers) while you are using desipramine; it may add to their effects. Ask your pharmacist if you have questions about which medicines may cause drowsiness.
- Desipramine may cause dizziness, light-headedness, or fainting; alcohol, hot weather, exercise, or fever may increase these effects. To prevent them, sit up or stand slowly, especially in the morning. Sit or lie down at the first sign of any of these effects.
- Desipramine may cause you to become sunburned more easily. Avoid the sun, sunlamps, or tanning booths until you know how you react to desipramine. Use a sunscreen or wear protective clothing if you must be outside for more than a short time.
- Diabetes patients - Desipramine may affect your blood sugar. Check blood sugar levels closely. Ask your doctor before you change the dose of your diabetes medicine.
- Serotonin syndrome is a possibly fatal syndrome that can be caused by desipramine. Your risk may be greater if you take desipramine with certain other medicines (eg, "triptans," MAOIs, SSRIs). Symptoms may include agitation; coma; confusion; excessive sweating; fever; fast or irregular heartbeat; hallucinations; nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea; and tremor. Contact your doctor at once if you have any of these symptoms.
- Neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) is a possibly fatal syndrome that can be caused by desipramine. Symptoms may include fever; stiff muscles; confusion; abnormal thinking; fast or irregular heartbeat; and sweating. Contact your doctor at once if you have any of these symptoms.
- Do not become overheated in hot weather or while you are being active; heatstroke may occur.
- After you start using desipramine, several weeks may pass before you feel the full benefit.
- Children and teenagers who take desipramine may be at increased risk for suicidal thoughts or actions. Adults may also be affected. Watch patients who take desipramine closely. Contact the doctor at once if new, worsened, or sudden symptoms, such as depressed mood; anxious, restless, or irritable behavior; panic attacks; or any unusual change in mood or behavior, occur. Contact the doctor right away if any signs of suicidal thoughts or actions occur.
- Some people may be at risk for eye problems from desipramine. Your doctor may want you to have an eye exam to see if you are at risk for these eye problems. Call your doctor right away if you have eye pain, vision changes, or swelling or redness in or around the eye.
- Tell your doctor or dentist that you take desipramine before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
- Use desipramine with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects, especially confusion. Elderly patients may also be at a greater risk for falls while taking desipramine.
- Desipramine is not approved for use in CHILDREN. Talk with the doctor.
- PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using desipramine while you are pregnant. Desipramine is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking desipramine.
If you are on long-term therapy and you stop taking desipramine suddenly, you may have WITHDRAWAL symptoms. These may include nausea, headache, and fatigue. Do not suddenly stop taking desipramine or change dosage without asking your pharmacist or doctor first.
Possible side effects of desipramine:
All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:
Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:
Constipation; diarrhea; dizziness; drowsiness; dry mouth; headache; loss of appetite; nausea; tiredness; trouble sleeping; vomiting; weakness; weight changes.
Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); burning, numbness, or tingling; changes in sexual desire or ability; chest, jaw, or arm pain; confusion; decreased coordination; fainting; fast or irregular heartbeat; fever, chills, or sore throat; new or worsening mood or mental changes (eg, agitation, anxiety, delusions, hallucinations, panic attacks, aggressiveness, impulsiveness, irritability, hostility, exaggerated feeling of well-being); one-sided weakness; restlessness or inability to sit still; ringing in the ears; seizures; severe or persistent constipation or stomach pain; severe or persistent dizziness or headache; severe or persistent trouble sleeping; shortness of breath; slurred speech; sudden, severe nausea or vomiting; sudden unusual sweating; suicidal thoughts or actions; symptoms of liver problems (eg, dark urine, pale stools, persistent loss of appetite, severe stomach pain, yellowing of the skin or eyes); tremor; trouble urinating; uncontrolled muscle movements (eg, twitching of the face or tongue; loss of balance; uncontrollable movements of arms or legs; trouble speaking or swallowing); unusual bleeding or bruising.
This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately.Proper storage of desipramine:
Store desipramine at room temperature, between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C). Store in a tightly closed container. Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep desipramine out of the reach of children and away from pets.
- If you have any questions about desipramine, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- Desipramine is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
- If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
- Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.
This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take desipramine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about desipramine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to desipramine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using desipramine.
Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.
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- Drug class: tricyclic antidepressants
Other brands: Norpramin