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Nortriptyline: 7 things you should know

Medically reviewed by Carmen Pope, BPharm. Last updated on Jan 3, 2024.

1. How it works

2. Upsides

3. Downsides

If you are between the ages of 18 and 60, take no other medication or have no other medical conditions, side effects you are more likely to experience include:

Note: In general, seniors or children, people with certain medical conditions (such as liver or kidney problems, heart disease, diabetes, seizures) or people who take other medications are more at risk of developing a wider range of side effects. View complete list of side effects

4. Bottom Line

Nortriptyline is an effective antidepressant but it may cause drowsiness initially and a withdrawal syndrome with abrupt discontinuation. It may be used off-label to treat other conditions, such as ADHD, eating disorders, anxiety, insomnia, and smoking cessation.

5. Tips

6. Response and effectiveness

7. Interactions

Medicines that interact with nortriptyline may either decrease its effect, affect how long it works, increase side effects, or have less of an effect when taken with nortriptyline. An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of the medications; however, sometimes it does. Speak to your doctor about how drug interactions should be managed.

Common medications that may interact with nortriptyline include:

Avoid drinking alcohol or taking illegal or recreational drugs while taking nortriptyline.

Allow at least two weeks to elapse between discontinuing treatment with an MAOI and initiation of nortriptyline and vice versa.

Note that this list is not all-inclusive and includes only common medications that may interact with nortriptyline. You should refer to the prescribing information for nortriptyline for a complete list of interactions.


Further information

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

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

Copyright 1996-2024 Revision date: January 2, 2024.