Nortriptyline (brand names,Aventyl and Pamelor) is a drug that belongs to the tricyclic antidepressant class of drugs. It works by increasing the amount of certain natural substances (neurotransmitters) in your brain. Nortriptyline HCl is an FDA-approved drug that comes in capsule and liquid preparations.
Like other tricyclic antidepressant (TCA) drugs, Nortriptyline is used to treat depression and other mental disorders. These groups of drugs include amitriptyline (Elavil,Endep), amoxapine (Amoxapine), desipramine (Norpramin), doxepin (Sinequan), clomipramine (Anafranil), imipramine (Tofranil), protriptyline (Vivactil), and trimipramine (Surmontil).
What Is Nortriptyline Used For?
Nortriptyline is used for treating mental or mood problems such as depression. It helps improve your moods and feelings, relieves anxiety, and increases your energy levels. It belongs to a group of medications known as tricyclic antidepressants that works by improving the chemical balance in your brain.
Nortriptyline HCl may also be used to help you quit smoking or for treating nerve pain (peripheral neuropathy or postherpetic neuralgia) and other mental or mood problems like anxiety and panic disorder.
What Should Be Known Before Using Nortriptyline?
Before using Nortriptyline, tell your doctor if you are taking any prescription/ non-prescription drug. These also include any illegal or recreational drugs and herbal or dietary supplements you are using, especially the following:
- Blood thinners (warfarin)
- Cimetidine (Tagamet)
- Chlorpropamide (Diabinese)
- Guanethidine (Ismelin)
- Flecainide (Tambocor)
- Lithium (Lithobid)
- Drugs for asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, Parkinson's disease, seizures, nausea, colds, allergies, ormental illness
- Muscle relaxants
- Methylphenidate (Ritalin)
- Propafenone (Rythmol)
- Sleeping pills
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors like citalopram (Celexa), fluoxetine (Prozac), escitalopram (Lexapro), paroxetine (Paxil), fluvoxamine (Luvox), and sertraline (Zoloft)
- Thyroid medications
Do not use Nortriptyline if you have been taking a MAO inhibitor in the last two weeks. Nortriptyline can interact with MAO inhibitors like isocarboxazid, phenelzine, linezolid, selegiline, rasagiline, and tranylcypromine.
Tell your doctorif you have any new symptoms or worsening of symptoms such as:
- Trouble sleeping
- Panic attacks
- Feeling impulsive, agitated, hostile, irritable, aggressive, restless, mentally or physically hyperactive
- Increased depression
- Thoughts of suicide or self-harm
Nortriptyline is not medically approved for pediatric use.Do not give Nortriptyline HCl to your child without a doctor’s advice.
How to Use Nortriptyline Safely?
- To avoid Nortriptyline side effects, take your medication exactly as prescribed. Follow directions on the prescription label. Your dosage may be occasionally changed by your doctor to ensure that you get the best results. However, don’t take Nortriptyline in smaller or larger amounts or take it longer than what’s recommended.
- If you are scheduled for surgery, tell your surgeon that you are using the drug. You may be advised to stop using Nortriptyline temporarily.
- Don’t stop using Nortriptyline HCl abruptly, or you may experience withdrawal symptoms. Consult your doctor about safely stopping the use of this medicine.
- Your symptoms may improve only after using Nortriptyline for at least two weeks. Keep taking it as directed and tell the doctor if symptoms do not improve during your treatment.
- Store Nortriptyline HCl at room temperature and keep it away from heatandmoisture.
- If you miss a dose, take one dose immediately. However, if it’s almost time for your next dose, skip the dose and take it as usual. Do not take an extra dose to make up for the missed dose.
- Avoid drinking alcohol while using Nortriptyline because it can intensify the effects of alcohol and this can be dangerous.
- Taking grapefruit or grapefruit juice may interact with this medication and lead to unwanted Nortriptyline side effects. Ask your doctor about the use of grapefruit products withNortriptyline.
- Avoid driving or doing anything that needs your attention while using Nortriptyline because it may affect your thinking and reactions.
- Avoid getting exposed to sunlight and/or tanning beds while using Nortriptyline because it can make your skin burn more easily. When outdoors, protect your skin by wearing protective clothing and using sunscreen with SPF 30 or above.
What Are the Side Effects of Nortriptyline?
Common Nortriptyline side effects include:
- Dry mouth
- Changes in weight/appetite
- Blurred vision
- Change in sex drive/capability
- Frequent urination/difficulty urinating
- Excessive sweating
Tell your doctor if these side effects persist or become severe.
Serious Nortriptyline side effects include:
- Slow/difficult speech
- Uncontrollable shaking
- Shuffling walk
- Difficulty breathing/swallowing
- Irregular heartbeat
- Spasms of the jaw, neck, or back muscles
- Yellowing of the skin or eyes
Seek emergency medical careor call your doctor immediately if you experience any of these adverse effects.
Nortriptyline side effects include thoughts of suicide, especially when taking it for the first time. It is best to have regular visits with your doctor who will check on your progress while using Nortriptyline. Your family and caregivers should be alert to unusual changes in your symptoms or moods to avoid unwanted side effects.