What must I know and think about when I take/prescribe tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs)?
Tricyclic antidepressants (like all antidepressants) should not be stopped suddenly. Patients may suffer from withdrawal side-effects afterwards.
These medications may take 4 to 8 weeks to start working.They may take longer to become effective in older adults. Desipramine, nortriptyline, and trazodone have the fewest side effects and may be given to older adults for this reason. However, these medications may not be the preferred choice for treatment of depression in older adults due to the severity of the side effects.
Hospitalization may be needed until they start working especially if the patient is feeling suicidal, as it is possible to overdose in these medications.
TCAs should not be used with:
- Certain heart medications like digoxin.
- Certain medications used to treat seizures such as phenytoin.
Names of tricyclic antidepressants:
Amitriptyline, Elavil, Doxepin, Sinequan/Adapin, Nortriptyline, Aventyl/Pamelor, Imipramine, Tofranil, Clomipramine, Anafranil,Desipramine, Norpramin.