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Desipramine Side Effects

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jul 10, 2023.

Applies to desipramine: oral tablet.


Oral route (Tablet)

Antidepressants increased the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in children, adolescents, and young adults in short-term studies with major depressive disorder and other psychiatric disorders. Short-term studies did not show an increase in the risk of suicidality with antidepressants compared with placebo in adults beyond age 24, and there was a reduction in risk with antidepressants compared with placebo in adults aged 65 or older. Risk in children, adolescents, and young adults must be balanced with the clinical need. Monitor patients closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, or unusual changes in behavior. Families and caregivers should be advised of the need for close observation and communication with the prescriber. Desipramine hydrochloride is not approved for use in pediatric patients.

Serious side effects of Desipramine

Along with its needed effects, desipramine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking desipramine:

Incidence not known

Other side effects of Desipramine

Some side effects of desipramine may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects.

Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

Incidence not known

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to desipramine: compounding powder, oral tablet.


The most commonly reported side effects were tremor, dizziness, headache, dry mouth, constipation, and nausea.[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Agitation, anxiety, confusional states (especially in the elderly) with hallucinations, disorientation, exacerbation of psychosis, hypomania, increased or decreased libido, insomnia, nightmares, restlessness, suicidal behaviors[Ref]

Nervous system

Frequency not reported: Alterations in EEG patterns, ataxia, dizziness, drowsiness, extrapyramidal symptoms, headache, incoordination, mydriasis, numbness, paresthesias of extremities, peculiar taste, peripheral neuropathy, seizures, serotonin syndrome, stroke, symptoms attributed to neuroleptic malignant syndrome, tingling, tremors[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Acute collapse, arrhythmias, edema, flushing, general edema, hypertension, hypotension, myocardial infarction, palpitations, premature ventricular contractions, tachycardia, ventricular tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Gynecomastia, syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion (SIADH)[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Breast enlargement, delayed micturition, dilation of urinary tract, galactorrhea, impotence, nocturia, painful ejaculation, testicular swelling, urinary frequency, urinary retention[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Blurred vision, disturbance of accommodation, increased intraocular pressure[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Altered liver function, elevated liver function tests, hepatitis, jaundice (simulating obstructive)[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Agranulocytosis, bone marrow depression, eosinophilia, purpura, thrombocytopenia[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Drug fever, fatigue, fever, malaise, proneness to falling, sudden death, tinnitus, weakness[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Abdominal cramps, black tongue, constipation, diarrhea, dry mouth (rarely associated with sublingual adenitis), epigastric distress, increased pancreatic enzymes, nausea, paralytic ileus, parotid swelling, stomatitis, vomiting[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Cross-sensitivity with other tricyclic drugs[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Alopecia, face edema, itching, perspiration, petechia, photosensitization, skin rash, urticaria[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Anorexia, elevated alkaline phosphatase, elevation/depression of blood sugar levels, weight gain or loss[Ref]


1. (2002) "Product Information. Norpramin (desipramine)." Hoechst Marion Roussel

Further information

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

Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.