Desipramine (Oral)

Desipramine helps to relieve the symptoms of depression by raising the level of neurotransmitters in the nerves of the brain controlling temperament and focus.


Desipramine belongs to a family of drugs known as tricyclic antidepressants (TCA). They ease the symptoms of depression by prompting chemical changes in the brain and its nerve cell circuity that controls our moods. Linked to pervasive sadness, depression is caused by a chemical deficiency in the brain.

Contributing to depression may be biological and psychological factors. Circumstances or a particular event in an individual's life controls their thoughts and actions with this disorder. Desipramine drug therapy helps to relieve the symptoms and shorten the event episodes by increasing the concentration of neurotransmitters.

Several professional precautions are noted along with notices posted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on antidepressants increasing the risks of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. This drug has the most serious warning from the FDA ' a black box warning ' alerting doctors and patients about the dangerous effects.

  • Children, adolescents and young adults ' this medicine may worsen mental or emotional problems.
  • If you have experienced a recent heart attack, you should not take this medicine.
  • This medication increases your risk of serotonin syndrome.
  • In some cases, it has increased eye pressure leading to loss of vision in individuals with com/health/coma/">glaucoma.
  • Smoking decreases the effectiveness of this medicine.
  • DO NOT just stop taking this medicine. A gradual reduction of dosage will prevent harmful withdrawal symptoms.

Condition (s) Treated

  • Depression
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorders (ADHD)
  • Hypotension
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Prevent migraines
  • Chronic pain
  • Panic disorder

Type Of Medicine

  • Antidepressant
  • Nerve pain

Side Effects

This medicine can relieve the symptoms of depression, but individuals experience varying side effects. To avoid or reduce the effects, follow the doctor's instructions. Caretakers need to learn and understand how this medicine works. Combined with treatment, lifestyle changes may be necessary to avoid unwanted effects.

Depending on the cause of depression and the severity of the condition, each person undergoing treatment will experience different levels of side effects. Before starting treatment, talk to your doctor and share as much information about your medical history, current health ailments and daily routines. Each of these behaviors can affect how you respond to this medicine.

Although not all the side effects need medical attention, in this case, it's essential to tell your doctor of the severity and persistence of side effects. The effects may fade as your body adjusts to taking this medication. Be aware, underlying conditions may prompt an unexpected reaction. Since everyone is unique in nature, your doctor has more information about your probable response and the duration of side effects.

Here's a list of potential side effects when taking this medication. There may be others not listed. If you experience one not listed or any unusual discomfort, contact your doctor.

  • Anxiety
  • Bloating
  • Body discomfort
  • Breast excretions
  • Bruising
  • Change sexual desire
  • Change in urine
  • Chest pain
  • Confusion
  • Constipation
  • Convulsions
  • Diarrhea
  • Dilated pupils
  • Dry mouth
  • Fainting
  • Fever
  • Hallucinations
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Irritability
  • Itching
  • Jaundice
  • Lightheadedness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Loss of movement
  • Mouth sores
  • Muscle spasms
  • Nausea
  • Nightmares
  • Pins and needles
  • Pounding in the ears
  • Rash
  • Restlessness
  • Slow speech
  • Stomach pains or cramps
  • Sweating
  • Swelling
  • Tiredness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Unable to speak
  • Vomiting

In all health cases, existing disorders, diet regimes that include certain foods, health supplements, and herbal remedies can trigger a side effect. Lifestyle choices of alcohol, tobacco, illegal drugs and other medications will instigate more serious and fatal side effects.

There are situations where this medicine should not be used. If you have allergies, you may have a dangerous allergic response to desipramine. If you are receiving treatment for any of these health conditions, talk to your doctor, you may experience adverse reactions.

  • Trouble urinating
  • Diabetes
  • Glaucoma
  • Heart or blood vessel disease
  • Heart rhythm problems
  • History of seizures
  • Kidney disease
  • Pregnant
  • Schizophrenia
  • Thyroid problems

Other Side Effects

Our daily routines and lifestyles include over-the-counter medicines that may affect how our body metabolizes this medication. Each one may cause an unwanted side effect or block the medication's function. Sometimes the effects are caused by changes in your diet, exercise routines or herbal remedies'affecting your response to this medication. Talk with your doctor before using other medicines or making any lifestyle changes.

If you experience any of these side effects, tell your doctor.

  • Changes in weight
  • Drowsiness
  • Elevated alkaline levels
  • Uncontrollable perspiration

You need to let your doctor know if you feel depressed or have thoughts of hurting yourself while taking this medicine. If any of the side effects continue or worsen, if you are feeling angry, restless or violent'talk to your doctor immediately. If you suffer from insomnia, detect an increase of abnormal energy or have a desire to do something irrational, make sure the doctor knows about it.

It helps to learn more about the side effects related to your existing health disorders before starting treatment with this drug. The chances of an effect or adverse reaction increase when multiple disorders are treated at the same time. Your ability to identify the effect can make a difference in a life-threatening situation.

DO NOT take this medicine if you:

  • Recently experienced a heart attack
  • Use Monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors (MAOI) within 14 days before starting treatment. They remove the increased concentration of neurotransmitters norepinephrine triggered by desipramine.

Adverse Reactions

There are differences between adverse reactions and side effects. Adverse reactions are unintended and sometimes harmful responses due to the properties (pharmacologic effects) of a medication or medical procedure - even though it's administered accurately. Side effects are secondary effects and unwanted, but they are more predictable during drug therapy.

There have been reports of adverse reactions occurring when using desipramine, based on the pharmacological similarities with tricyclic antidepressant drugs. Precautions are recommended - talk to your doctor. There may be a solution or alternatives to help ease unexpected reactions like these listed.


  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth
  • Obstruction of the intestine
  • Pupil dilation
  • Urinary problems


  • Cross-sensitivity with other tricyclic drugs
  • Edema
  • Itching
  • Sensitivity to sun
  • Skin rash



  • Breast enlargement and
  • Development of man boobs
  • Impotence, painful ejaculation
  • Nipple discharge in the female
  • Syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion (SIADH)
  • Testicular swelling


  • Anorexia
  • Bacteria or yeast in the mouth (black tongue)
  • Epigastric distress
  • Hepatitis
  • Increased pancreatic enzymes
  • Inflamed and sore mouth


  • Low production of normal blood cells


  • Changes in EEG patterns
  • Damage to your peripheral nerves
  • Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome
  • Paresthesia of extremities
  • Tinnitus
  • Tremors


  • Agitation
  • Delusions
  • Disorientation
  • Hypomania


Doses vary depending on your health and other forms of treatments combined with this medicine. For the best results, follow the instructions given by your doctor. Take the exact dosage; do not increase the dose or the frequency without your doctor's approval.

There's a medical guide for you, your family and caretakers with information about taking this medication. Ask your doctor or a medical professional for a copy. It's important for everyone to understand the risks and benefits of treating this condition with desipramine.

Because most medications share similar chemicals and compounds' taking two or more medicines containing the same ingredient (s) may change the results of your treatment. In some cases, it can also cause symptoms of an overdose.

Medicine doses are based on the strength of the prescribed medication. The dosage may change over time, depending on the severity of your depression. Based on your doctor's evaluation and medical assessment the dose, strength and frequency will be determined for the best results to improve your health.

If you have questions about the duration of treatment before you start feeling better, talk to your doctor. Each individual's situation is different. Here's an idea of the average responses for improvement.

  • 2 to 5 days you will notice a slight decrease in depression, improving your mood.
  • 2 to 3 weeks you should feel a substantial decrease in the symptoms.

Desipramine is prescribed in tablets, your doctor will start with a low dose to monitor your response to the medicine. Medical professionals monitor treatments requiring maximum dosage in hospital settings. Your doctor's determination of the treatment duration will also set up the maintenance therapy needed after the first treatment session is completed. In the event of recurring episodes, low doses may start again.

For depression

  • You can take this medicine with or without food.
  • You can cut or crush the tablet for easier intake.


  • 100 to 200 milligrams (mg) at least once a day or your doctor may divide this dosage throughout the day for you. Your doctor may increase your daily dose as needed. DO NOT exceed over 300 mg a day.

Adolescents (Children ages 13 to 17)

  • 25 to 100 mg at least once a day or your doctor may divide this dosage throughout the day for you. Your doctor may increase your daily dose as needed. DO NOT exceed over 100 mg a day.

Elderly adults

  • 25 to 100 mg at least once a day or your doctor may divide this dosage throughout the day for you. Your doctor may increase your daily dose as needed. DO NOT exceed over 150 mg a day.

Children 'this medicine is not recommended for children under the age of 13. Talk to your doctor for a better understanding of the reasons. There are severe warnings posted.

DO NOT stop taking this medicine without checking with your doctor. Your doctor will gradually reduce the medicine as your condition improves and your reach the end of treatment. The gradual process will prevent withdrawal symptoms like headaches, nausea or fatigue.

TCAs like desipramine are absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. As it's processed through the liver, over 70 percent is excreted through urination. If you experience trouble with urinating as a side effect ' tell your doctor.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible'the only exception to this rule is the time of the next scheduled dose. If it's near to the next scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your schedule. DO NOT double your dose under any circumstances.

  • Doubling the dose will have serious side effects. If an accidental overdose happens, contact your doctor.
  • If a child is involved in an overdose contact your doctor and the local poison control center for specific pediatric treatment immediately.


Drug interactions can change medications effects, results and risks. In some circumstances, particular medicines work well together to manage the condition. But, there are other situations where two different medicines may interact with each other and cause serious effects. Your doctor may change the dosage of each medicine to reduce or prevent the reactions during treatment.

Using multiple drugs when treating several health conditions it not the first course of action. There are circumstances when administering adjusted doses of two different drugs can help to treat both conditions for the health of the individual. If you are taking, any of these medicines listed or others that may affect your response to this medicine, your doctor will make adjustments in doses or recommend other medications for treatment.

When there are multiple medications, talk to your doctor to understand how the determination of treatment is decided. If you look at the names on this list, some share similarities - a sign they also share similar compounds that can interact with other drugs or change the outcome of treatment due to the chemical quantities.

There are other medications not listed that are known to interact with the medicine. Be sure you share all your medical history with your doctor. To be sure this medicine is safe for you - your doctor will check the medications you are taking now.

  • Acecainide
  • Aceclofenac
  • Alfuzosin
  • Amiodarone
  • Amitriptyline
  • Amoxapine
  • Aripiprazole
  • Arsenic Trioxide
  • Aspirin
  • Astemizole
  • Azithromycin
  • Bretylium
  • Buprenorphine
  • Bupropion
  • Celecoxib
  • Chloroquine
  • Chlorpromazine
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Clarithromycin
  • Clomipramine
  • Clonidine
  • Crizotinib
  • Dexibuprofen
  • Dextromethorphan
  • Diclofenac
  • Diflunisal
  • Donepezil
  • Doxorubicin
  • Dronedarone
  • Droperidol
  • Droxicam
  • Epinephrine
  • Erythromycin
  • Escitalopram
  • Flecainide
  • Floctafenine
  • Fluconazole
  • Flufenamic Acid
  • Fluoxetine
  • Gatifloxacin
  • Granisetron
  • Grepafloxacin
  • Halofantrine
  • Haloperidol
  • Hydroxychloroquine
  • Hydroxyzine
  • Ibuprofen
  • Imipramine
  • Indomethacin
  • Iproniazid
  • Isradipine
  • Ketoconazole
  • Ketoprofen
  • Levalbuterol
  • Levofloxacin
  • Levomethadyl
  • Levomilnacipran
  • Levothyroxine
  • Lornoxicam
  • Lumefantrine
  • Mefenamic Acid
  • Mefloquine
  • Meloxicam
  • Methoxamine
  • Methylene Blue
  • Metronidazole
  • Midodrine
  • Mifepristone
  • Moxifloxacin
  • Nabumetone
  • Naproxen
  • Naratriptan
  • Nefopam
  • Niflumic Acid
  • Norfloxacin
  • Ofloxacin
  • Oxaprozin
  • Oxycodone
  • Oxymetazoline
  • Paliperidone
  • Paroxetine
  • Phenylephrine
  • Piketoprofen
  • Pimavanserin
  • Pimozide
  • Piperaquine
  • Piroxicam
  • Procainamide
  • Proglumetacin
  • Promethazine
  • Quinidine
  • Ranolazine
  • Rasagiline
  • Risperidone
  • Salicylic Acid
  • Sevoflurane
  • Sodium Phosphate
  • Sodium Salicylate
  • Sparfloxacin
  • Spiramycin
  • Sulfamethoxazole
  • Sulindac
  • Sumatriptan
  • Tamoxifen
  • Tapentadol
  • Telithromycin
  • Tenoxicam
  • Terfenadine
  • Tetrabenazine
  • Tramadol
  • Tranylcypromine
  • Trimipramine
  • Triptorelin
  • Valdecoxib
  • Vasopressin
  • Venlafaxine
  • Vilanterol
  • Vilazodone
  • Vinflunine
  • Voriconazole
  • Ziprasidone
  • Zolmitriptan
  • Zuclopenthixol

Other Precautions

Besides different medicines, foods can trigger interactions with medicines. Be sure to read the package instructions or ask your doctor, since some medications should be taken on an empty stomach or specific intervals between meals and scheduled doses when taking more than one.

Alcohol or tobacco may diffuse the medicine's effect and cause severe interactions with this medication. Alcohol like other central nervous system depressants will cause drowsiness. Because alcohol affects how this medicine works, you will need to stop consumption of it and activities requiring concentration.

If you take over-the-counter medicines for pain, colds or allergies they will affect your response to treatment. It's best not to take other medicines without talking with your doctor first. If you have a dentist appointment or a scheduled surgery ' tell your doctors, you are taking this medicine to prevent adverse reactions.

Other medical problems or existing health conditions like these listed may set-off interactions when using desipramine.


There are several health warnings on this medicine posted by the FDA with precautions for medical professionals and consumers; comprised of young adults, elderly, adolescents, children younger than 18 years of age and caretakers.

FDA Warnings

  • This medicine may worsen the condition of patients with major depressive disorders.
  • Desipramine may increase suicidal and behavioral tendencies associated with the disorder.
  • This drug may worsen the condition in schizophrenic patients.
  • There are reports of increased and decreased blood sugar levels.

During the trial studies, no pediatric suicides occurred. There were adult suicides, but the information did not show this medication as the cause. Precautions should be taken at all times.

  • Families and caretakers need to know how to recognize the change in behaviors of the individual taking this medicine.
  • Patients should be screened for bipolar disorder, in these instances; this medicine should NOT be used with this condition.
  • Tricyclic antidepressants like desipramine can be fatal to patients with serotonin syndrome.

Talk with the doctor to learn about the emerging symptoms of disorders affected by this medication.


Safety guidelines for nursing mothers have not been established. If you are pregnant or become pregnant while taking this medicine, contact your doctor at once. FDA recommends weighing the benefits and the risks for the mother and infant.

  • Animal studies using this drug are incomplete.


Although the studies did not show a difference between young or elderly adult responses; elderly individuals may be exposed to higher toxicity causing harmful side effects when taking this medicine. Older adults frequently have kidney problems, causing the metabolic process of eliminating this medicine from the body to be slower. The results could keep larger amounts of this drug in the body longer, intensifying the side effects.

  • Low doses are recommended for elderly patients.
  • Older individuals were more susceptible to impaired renal functions with the increased risk of toxic reactions to this medicine.


Safety and effectiveness in this age group have not been established.

  • This medication is not recommended for children.
  • There are other antidepressants approved for the use in children.


Keep this medicine stored in an airtight container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture and direct light. Be sure it's placed out of reach of children or pets ' accidental exposure will have serious consequences. Ask your pharmacist to dispense this drug in containers with child-resistant safety caps or closures.

  • DO NOT freeze this medication.
  • Dispose of the unused or outdated medications as instructed '
  • Talk with your doctor, healthcare facilities or your pharmacist for help in disposing of this medication.


TCAs like desipramine have been used since the 1950s. Clinical studies show desipramine as a good choice for treating depression individuals resistant to other drugs or forms of treatment. The side effects vary and can be difficult for some patients. The principal issues are increased thoughts of suicide in adolescents and young adults during the first few months of treatment. This drug has an FDA black box warning assigned to it. Before you start treatment as a patient, family member or caretaker, you need to understand the risks and the dangers involved with this drug.