Antidepressants increased the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in children, adolescents, and young adults in short-term studies with major depressive disorder (MDD) and other psychiatric disorders. Short term studies did not show an increase in the risk of suicidality with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults beyond age 24, and there was a reduction in risk with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults aged 65 and older. This risk 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. Not approved for use in pediatric patients .
Commonly used brand name(s):
In the U.S.
Available Dosage Forms:
Therapeutic Class: Antidepressant
Pharmacologic Class: Antidepressant, Tricyclic
Nortriptyline is used to treat the symptoms of depression. It works on the central nervous system (CNS) to increase levels of certain chemicals in the brain. nortriptyline is a tricyclic antidepressant (TCA) .
nortriptyline is available only with your doctor's prescription .
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For nortriptyline, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to nortriptyline or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of nortriptyline in the pediatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established .
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of nortriptyline in the elderly. However, elderly patients are more likely to have age-related heart, kidney, or liver problems, which may require an adjustment in the dose for patients receiving nortriptyline .
Studies in women suggest that this medication poses minimal risk to the infant when used during breastfeeding.
Using nortriptyline with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.
Using nortriptyline with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
Using nortriptyline with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of nortriptyline. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
Take nortriptyline only as directed by your doctor to benefit your condition as much as possible. Do not take more of it, do not take it more often, and do not take it for a longer time than your doctor ordered .
Measure the oral liquid medicine with a marked measuring spoon, oral syringe, or medicine cup .
nortriptyline comes with a medication guide. Read and follow the instructions in the guide carefully. Ask your doctor if you have any questions .
The dose of nortriptyline will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of nortriptyline. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
If you miss a dose of nortriptyline, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.
Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.
Keep out of the reach of children.
Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.
It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to allow for changes in your dose and to check for any unwanted effects .
Nortriptyline may cause some people to be agitated, irritable, or display other abnormal behaviors. It may also cause some people to have suicidal thoughts and tendencies or to become more depressed. If you or your caregiver notice any of these adverse effects, tell your doctor right away .
Do not take nortriptyline if you have taken a monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor (isocarboxazid [Marplan®], phenelzine [Nardil®], selegiline [Eldepryl®], or tranylcypromine [Parnate®]) in the past 2 weeks. Do not start taking a MAO inhibitor within 5 days of stopping nortriptyline. If you do, you may develop confusion, agitation, restlessness, stomach or intestinal symptoms, sudden high body temperature, extremely high blood pressure, or severe convulsions .
Do not stop taking nortriptyline without first checking with your doctor. Your doctor may want you to gradually reduce the amount you are using before stopping completely. This may help prevent a possible worsening of your condition and reduce the possibility of withdrawal symptoms such as headache, nausea, or a general feeling of discomfort or illness .
nortriptyline will add to the effects of alcohol and other CNS depressants (medicines that slow down the nervous system, possibly causing drowsiness). Some examples of CNS depressants are antihistamines or medicine for hay fever, other allergies, or colds; sedatives, tranquilizers, or sleeping medicine; prescription pain medicine or narcotics; barbiturates; medicine for seizures; muscle relaxants; or anesthetics, including some dental anesthetics. This effect may last for a few days after you stop taking nortriptyline. Check with your doctor before taking any of the above while you are using nortriptyline.
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements .
Before having any kind of surgery, tell the medical doctor in charge that you are using nortriptyline. Taking nortriptyline together with medicines used during surgery may increase the risk of side effects .
nortriptyline may affect blood sugar levels. If you notice a change in the results of your blood or urine sugar tests, or if you have any questions, check with your doctor .
nortriptyline may cause some people to become drowsy. Make sure you know how you react to nortriptyline before you drive, use medicines, or do anything else that could be dangerous if you are drowsy or not alert.
Along with its needed effects, a medicine 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:Incidence not known
Get emergency help immediately if any of the following symptoms of overdose occur:Symptoms of Overdose
Some side effects 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
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
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