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Protriptyline

Generic Name: protriptyline (proe TRIP ti leen)
Brand Name: Vivactil

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com on Jul 15, 2020 – Written by Cerner Multum

What is protriptyline?

Protriptyline is a tricyclic antidepressant that is used to treat symptoms of depression.

Protriptyline may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important Information

You should not use protriptyline if you recently had a heart attack.

Do not use protriptyline if you have used an MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days, such as isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue injection, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, or tranylcypromine.

Some young people have thoughts about suicide when first taking an antidepressant. Stay alert to changes in your mood or symptoms. Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use protriptyline if you are allergic to it, or if:

  • you have recently had a heart attack.

Do not use protriptyline if you have used an MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days. A dangerous drug interaction could occur. MAO inhibitors include isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue injection, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, tranylcypromine, and others.

Tell your doctor if you have used an "SSRI" antidepressant in the past 5 weeks, such as citalopram, escitalopram, fluoxetine (Prozac), fluvoxamine, paroxetine, sertraline (Zoloft), trazodone, or vilazodone.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • heart disease;

  • a heart attack or stroke;

  • a seizure;

  • bipolar disorder (manic-depression);

  • schizophrenia or other mental illness;

  • a thyroid disorder;

  • narrow-angle glaucoma;

  • problems with urination;

  • if you are receiving electroshock therapy.

Some young people have thoughts about suicide when first taking an antidepressant. Your doctor should check your progress at regular visits. Your family or other caregivers should also be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Protriptyline is not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years old.

How should I take protriptyline?

Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

If you need surgery, tell your surgeon you currently use protriptyline. You may need to stop for a short time.

Do not stop using protriptyline suddenly, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Ask your doctor how to safely stop using this medicine.

It may take a few weeks before your symptoms improve. Keep using the medication as directed and tell your doctor if your symptoms do not improve.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not take two doses at one time.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. An overdose of protriptyline can be fatal.

Overdose symptoms may include irregular heartbeats, feeling like you might pass out, seizures, coma.

What should I avoid while taking protriptyline?

Do not drink alcohol. Dangerous side effects or death could occur.

Avoid driving or hazardous activity until you know how protriptyline will affect you. Your reactions could be impaired.

Protriptyline could make you sunburn more easily. Avoid sunlight or tanning beds. Wear protective clothing and use sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) when you are outdoors.

Protriptyline side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives, rash, red or purple spots; fever; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor, such as: mood or behavior changes, anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, or if you feel impulsive, irritable, agitated, hostile, aggressive, restless, hyperactive (mentally or physically), more depressed, or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • fever, chills, sore throat, mouth sores, feeling light-headed;

  • blurred vision, tunnel vision, eye pain or swelling, or seeing halos around lights;

  • restless muscle movements in your eyes, tongue, jaw, or neck;

  • seizure (convulsions);

  • new or worsening chest pain, pounding heartbeats or fluttering in your chest;

  • sudden numbness or weakness, problems with vision, or speech;

  • easy bruising, unusual bleeding;

  • painful or difficult urination; or

  • jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Common side effects may include:

  • fast heartbeats;

  • problems with balance or muscle movement;

  • constipation;

  • nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite;

  • breast swelling (in men or women); or

  • decreased sex drive, impotence.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Protriptyline dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Depression:

15 to 40 mg orally per day divided into three or four doses
-Maximum dose: 60 mg/day

Comments:
-Dosage increments should be made in the morning dose.
-After a satisfactory improvement is reached, the dose should be reduced to the lowest effective amount to relieve symptoms.

Use: Treatment of symptoms of mental depression in patients who are under close medical supervision

Usual Geriatric Dose for Depression:

5 mg orally 3 times a day, increasing gradually if necessary

Comments:
-Cardiovascular status should be monitored closely if daily dosage exceeds 20 mg.
-After a satisfactory improvement is reached, the dose should be reduced to the lowest effective amount to relieve symptoms.

Use: Treatment of symptoms of mental depression in patients who are under close medical supervision

What other drugs will affect protriptyline?

Using protriptyline with other drugs that make you drowsy can worsen this effect. Ask your doctor before using opioid medication, a sleeping pill, a muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety or seizures.

Many drugs can affect protriptyline. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed here. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.