Desipramine

Brand names of desipramine

  • Alti-Desipramine
  • Apo-Desipramine
  • Deprexan
  • Norpramin
  • Novo-Desipramine
  • Nu-Desipramine
  • Pertofrane
  • PMS-Desipramine

Desipramine belongs to the family of medications called tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) and is taken orally to treat symptoms related to depression. Other medications belonging to this family of drugs include imipramine (Tofranil) and amitriptyline (Endep, Elavil). Most of us are familiar that depression is a health condition wherein one suffers from unceasing feelings of obscurity and unhappiness. It is understood that unusual concentration of neurotransmitters (chemical substances used by nerve cells in the brain for communication with one another) is responsible for depression in a number of patients. The antidepressant drug desipramine works by lifting the mood by increasing the neurotransmitter levels in the brain. As imipramine is transformed into desipramine by the body, this medicament controls the antidepressant consequences of imipramine too. Desipramine was approved for sale and use in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) way back in 1964.

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Things you need to tell your physician before taking desipramine

Prior to beginning therapy with desipramine, you need to tell your physician as well as pharmacist whether you have allergies to this medication, any drugs belonging to the tricyclic antidepressant class, any other medicaments, or and constituents of desipramine. In case you are not sure about the ingredients of desipramine, request your physician or pharmacist to make a list of the same available for you. In addition, inform your physician about the entire prescription plus over-the-counter drugs, herbal remedies, vitamins and dietary supplements you are using already or intend to use shortly.

Also let your physician know in case you have suffered a heart attack recently and if you have had one, your physician will advise you against using desipramine.

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People intending to start treatment with desipramine should tell their physician about their entire medical history and individual medical conditions before taking the medication. Inform your physician whether any family member has ever suffered or is suffering from an abnormal heartbeat or has died all of a sudden. In addition, inform your physician if you are suffering from diseases related to the heart and/ or blood vessels, for instance, angina (chest pain); high blood pressure (hypertension); atherosclerosis (arteries becoming stiff); heart attack; abnormal heartbeat; glaucoma (an eye ailment); diabetes; problems in passing urine; enlarged prostate (the reproduction gland in males); overactive thyroid gland; seizures; any disease related to the kidneys or liver; and/ or schizophrenia (a mental ailment causing disturbed or abnormal thoughts, results in losing all interest in one's life, and very powerful or wrong emotions).

Before taking desipramine, women ought to inform their physician if they are pregnant or planning to get pregnant. Any woman who might become pregnant while being treated with desipramine should call her physician immediately and seek his/ her advice and guidance. New mothers should also tell their physician whether they are breast feeding.

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People who are taking desipramine and require undergoing a surgery, counting any dental medical procedure, ought to inform their physician or dentist in advance that they are using desipramine.

In addition, before you start treatment with desipramine, you ought to be aware of the fact that the use of this drug may cause drowsiness and, hence, it is advisable that you do not undertake any activity requiring alertness, for instance, operating a machine or driving a vehicles, till you are certain about the medication's effects on your body and when you are confident that you are able to perform these tasks safely.

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Usage

Desipramine is an antidepressant medicament that is prescribed for patients suffering from major depression. It helps to alleviate the symptoms of this health condition.

How to use desipramine

Desipramine is available in the form of tablets and is taken orally. Normally, this antidepressant medicament is taken once or a number of times every day either with or with no food. It is important that you take this medication as you have been directed and also around the identical time(s) daily with a view to ensure that the level of desipramine remains the same in your bloodstream. You also need to follow the instructions of the prescription label meticulously and in case you are unable to understand any instruction seek the help of your pharmacist or physician. Never use desipramine in excessive or lower dosages or more frequently than what your physician has prescribed.

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Normally, your physician will ask you to start taking desipramine at a low dosage and increase the dose gradually.

The complete benefits of using desipramine are not evident immediately after starting treatment with this drug, but it is like to take about two to three weeks' time to experience it. You need to keep taking this medicament even when you start feeling better and not discontinue it without consulting your physician. You are most likely to experience withdrawal symptoms like headache, giddiness and debility if you stop taking this medicament all of a sudden. In all probability, your physician will suggest you to reduce the dosage of desipramine slowly before discontinuing it.

How desipramine works

The antidepressant drug desipramine works by influencing the levels of neurotransmitters, particularly serotonin and norepinephrine, in the brain. It is understood that these neurotransmitters are associated with the emotions, moods and mental condition of an individual.

Side effects

Serious:
  • blurred or altered vision
  • breathing difficulty
  • confusion
  • constipation
  • difficult urination
  • difficulty swallowing or speaking
  • dilated pupils
  • drowsiness
  • extreme and persistent restlessness
  • extreme fatigue
  • eye pain
  • fainting
  • fever
  • hallucinations
  • heartbeat irregularities
  • impaired concentration
  • loss of coordination and balance
  • seizures
  • shaking
  • shuffling gait
  • stiffness in the extremities
  • trembling
  • weakness
Common:
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • dry mouth
  • fatigue
  • headache
  • heightened sensitivity to light
  • increased appetite
  • nausea
  • unpleasant taste
  • weight gain
Less common:

Possible interactions

Herbal medicines or minerals:
As both desipramine and St. John's wort may possibly work to augment the levels of serotonin in the brain, it is advisable not to use them simultaneously. In addition, St. John's wort is also known to augment one's sun susceptibility when used in combination with desipramine. The herb ginseng may also partially act in the manner of a MAO inhibitor. Hence, never use desipramine in conjunction with this herb. You would also be better off if you stay away from using kava kava, Indian snakeroot and yohimbe while taking this drug. Moreover, using vitamin C in elevated doses may possibly dull the effectiveness of this medicament.
Alcohol:
Those who are being treated with desipramine should completely stay away from alcohol. It has been found that this drug may significantly raise the inebriating actions of alcohol. You ought to know that using desipramine in conjunction with alcohol may lower the functioning of the brain.
Tobacco smoking:
Smoking tobacco is prohibited for individuals using desipramine to treat depression as it may hasten the removal of this drug from the body. In such cases, the patient is likely to require enhanced dosage of the medicament.
Marijuana smoking:
Patients who seldom smoke marijuana (for instance, once or two times in a week) are likely to experience a temporary enhancement in drowsiness and dryness in the mouth, in addition to possibly intolerable augmentation of the heart rate when they take desipramine simultaneously. Those smoking marijuana daily will experience chronic drowsiness and dryness of the mouth, besides a probable decreased efficacy of this drug.
Exposure to heat:
Avoid exposure to heat while undergoing treatment with desipramine, because this drug has the potential of inhibiting perspiration as well as damage your body's capability to adjust itself to hot surroundings. It may also augment the chances of having a heatstroke. It is advisable that you also keep away from saunas when you are taking desipramine.
Exposure to cold:
People taking desipramine, especially those who are aged, ought to exercise precautions as well as stay away from being exposed to cold conditions, which may result in developing hypothermia.
Exposure to sun:
You should be careful not to expose yourself to sunlight while taking desipramine, as it may result in photosensitivity and also cause alterations in the iris as well as the color of skin pigment.
Exposure to environmental chemicals:
Desipramine has the ability to conceal the symptoms related to toxicity owing to dealing with particular pesticides (those belonging to the organophosphorous type). Hence, it is important that you carefully read the prescription label before beginning treatment with this drug.

Discontinuation

Desipramine should not be discontinued all of a sudden, but the dosage of the medication needs to be reduced slowly before you stop taking it. Discontinuing this drug suddenly following its prolonged use may possibly result in symptoms like headache, queasiness and depression. When you stop taking desipramine, you also need to adjust the dosage of other medications you may be taking simultaneously.

Storage instructions

You should always store desipramine in the package in which it came. Close the container tightly and keep it in a place that is not reachable by children. Always store desipramine in a cool and dry place. Never keep this medicament in the cabinet in your bathroom. Discard all medicaments that have become outdated or are required no more in a safe and appropriate manner. If necessary, consult your pharmacist regarding the appropriate manner of disposing of such products.

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