What is this medication?
NORTRIPTYLINE (nor TRIP ti leen) treats depression. It increases the amount of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain, substances that help regulate mood. It belongs to a group of medications called tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs).
This medicine may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.
COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Aventyl, Pamelor
What should I tell my care team before I take this medication?
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
- Bipolar disorder
- Brugada syndrome
- Difficulty passing urine
- Heart disease
- If you drink alcohol
- Liver disease
- Suicidal thoughts, plans or attempt; a previous suicide attempt by you or a family member
- Thyroid disease
- An unusual or allergic reaction to nortriptyline, other tricyclic antidepressants, other medications, foods, dyes, or preservatives
- Pregnant or trying to get pregnant
How should I use this medication?
Take this medication by mouth with a glass of water. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Take your doses at regular intervals. Do not take it more often than directed. Do not stop taking this medication suddenly except upon the advice of your care team. Stopping this medication too quickly may cause serious side effects or your condition may worsen.
A special MedGuide will be given to you by the pharmacist with each prescription and refill. Be sure to read this information carefully each time.
Talk to your care team about the use of this medication in children. Special care may be needed.
Overdosage: If you think you have taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.
NOTE: This medicine is only for you. Do not share this medicine with others.
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.
What may interact with this medication?
Do not take this medication with any of the following:
- MAOIs like Carbex, Eldepryl, Marplan, Nardil, and Parnate
- Methylene blue (injected into a vein)
This medication may also interact with the following:
- Antihistamines for allergy, cough, and cold
- Certain medications for bladder problems like oxybutynin, tolterodine
- Certain medications for depression like amitriptyline, fluoxetine, sertraline
- Certain medications for Parkinson's disease like benztropine, trihexyphenidyl
- Certain medications for stomach problems like dicyclomine, hyoscyamine
- Certain medications for travel sickness like scopolamine
- Other medications that prolong the QT interval (an abnormal heart rhythm) like dofetilide
- Other medications that can cause serotonin syndrome like St. John's Wort, fentanyl, lithium, tramadol, tryptophan, buspirone, and some medications for headaches like sumatriptan or rizatriptan
- Thyroid medication
This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your medicine.
What should I watch for while using this medication?
Tell your care team if your symptoms do not get better or if they get worse. Visit your care team for regular checks on your progress. Because it may take several weeks to see the full effects of this medication, it is important to continue your treatment as prescribed by your care team.
Patients and their families should watch out for new or worsening thoughts of suicide or depression. Also watch out for sudden changes in feelings such as feeling anxious, agitated, panicky, irritable, hostile, aggressive, impulsive, severely restless, overly excited and hyperactive, or not being able to sleep. If this happens, especially at the beginning of treatment or after a change in dose, call your care team.
You may get drowsy or dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs mental alertness until you know how this medication affects you. Do not stand or sit up quickly, especially if you are an older patient. This reduces the risk of dizzy or fainting spells. Alcohol may interfere with the effect of this medication. Avoid alcoholic drinks.
Do not treat yourself for coughs, colds, or allergies without asking your care team for advice. Some ingredients can increase possible side effects.
Your mouth may get dry. Chewing sugarless gum or sucking hard candy, and drinking plenty of water may help. Contact your care team if the problem does not go away or is severe.
This medication may cause dry eyes and blurred vision. If you wear contact lenses you may feel some discomfort. Lubricating drops may help. See your eye doctor if the problem does not go away or is severe.
This medication can cause constipation. Try to have a bowel movement at least every 2 to 3 days. If you do not have a bowel movement for 3 days, call your care team.
This medication can make you more sensitive to the sun. Keep out of the sun. If you cannot avoid being in the sun, wear protective clothing and use sunscreen. Do not use sun lamps or tanning beds/booths.
What side effects may I notice from receiving this medication?
Side effects that you should report to your care team as soon as possible:
- Allergic reactions—skin rash, itching, hives, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
- Heart rhythm changes—fast or irregular heartbeat, dizziness, feeling faint or lightheaded, chest pain, trouble breathing
- Irritability, confusion, fast or irregular heartbeat, muscle stiffness, twitching muscles, sweating, high fever, seizure, chills, vomiting, diarrhea, which may be signs of serotonin syndrome
- Sudden eye pain or change in vision such as blurry vision, seeing halos around lights, vision loss
- Thoughts of suicide or self-harm, worsening mood, feelings of depression
- Trouble passing urine
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your care team if they continue or are bothersome):
- Change in sex drive or performance
- Dry mouth
- Tremors or shaking
This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Where should I keep my medication?
Keep out of the reach of children.
Store at room temperature between 15 and 30 degrees C (59 and 86 degrees F). Keep container tightly closed. Throw away any unused medication after the expiration date.
NOTE: This sheet is a summary. It may not cover all possible information. If you have questions about this medicine, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider.
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