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Tricyclic Antidepressants - Effects and Contra-Indications

Abstract: When are tricyclic antidepressants used and why? When are they not?

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Tricyclic Antidepressants - Effects and Contra-Indications

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Written by: Petros Skapinakis, MD, MPH, PhD, lecturer of Psychiatry in the University of Ioannina Medical School, Greece. Eva Gerasi, postgraduate student in the Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital of Ioannina, Greece.
First version: 22 Jul 2008.
Latest revision: 29 Jul 2008.

When are TCAs used and why? When are they not?

Answer:

This type of medication is used to help relieve the symptoms of major depression.

When these drugs are not used:

  • Some of these medications are not given to older adults because the medications cause too many negative side effects.
  • TCAs medications usually are not given to people with certain heart problems, such as irregular heartbeats and low blood pressure.
They work as well as selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors and a psychological treatment called cognitive behaviour therapy.

There exist the following: amitriptyline, desipramine, doxepin, imipramine, nortriptyline, protriptyline, trimipramine.

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