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Mental Health Medications Index & Information

Home Anti-Anxiety To find information on idividual medications, select them from the list below. If you don't find the medication you are looking for in our list, send in your request using our Comments Form, and we will try to add it.
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Antidepressant Medications Anti-depressant Drugs Antidepressant: nortriptyline, Aventyl, Pamelor, Nortrilen

Antidepressant: nortriptyline, Aventyl, Pamelor, Nortrilen

Generic Name: nortriptyline
Brand Name(s): Aventyl, Pamelor, Nortrilen
Common Use: Antidepressant

Antidepressant

The relief of symptoms of depression. Endogenous depressions are more likely to be alleviated than are other depressive states.

The concurrent use of nortriptyline or other tricyclic antidepressants with a MAO inhibitor is contraindicated. Hyperpyretic crises, severe convulsions, and fatalities have occurred when similar tricyclic antidepressants were used in such combinations. Discontinue the MAO inhibitor at least 2 weeks before nortriptyline treatment is started. Patients hypersensitive to nortriptyline should not be given the drug.

Cross sensitivity between nortriptyline and other dibenzazepines is a possibility. Nortriptyline is contraindicated during the acute recovery period after myocardial infarction.

Adverse Side Effects

Included in the following list are a few adverse reactions that have not been reported with this specific drug. However, the pharmacologic similarities among the tricyclic antidepressant drugs require that each of these reactions be considered when nortriptyline is administered.

Hypotension, hypertension, tachycardia, palpitation, myocardial infarction, arrhythmias, heart block, stroke. Confusional states (especially in the elderly) with hallucinations, disorientation, delusions; anxiety, restlessness, agitation; insomnia, panic, nightmares; hypomania; exacerbation of psychosis. Numbness, tingling, paresthesias of extremities; incoordination, ataxia, tremors; peripheral neuropathy, extrapyramidal symptoms; seizures, alteration of EEG patterns; tinnitus. Dry mouth and, rarely, associated sublingual adenitis or gingivitis; blurred vision, disturbance of accommodation, mydriasis; constipation, paralytic ileus; urinary retention, delayed micturition, dilation of the urinary tract. Skin rash, petechiae, urticaria, itching, photosensitization (avoid excessive exposure to sunlight); edema (general or of face and tongue), drug fever, cross-sensitivity with other tricyclic drugs. Nausea and vomiting, anorexia, epigastric distress, diarrhea; peculiar taste, stomatitis, abdominal cramps, black tongue, constipation, paralytic ileus. Endocrine; gynecomastia in the male; breast enlargement and galactorrhea in the female; increased or decreased libido, impotence; testicular swelling; elevation or depression of blood sugar levels; syndrome of inappropriate ADH (antidiuretic hormone) secretion. Jaundice (simulating obstructive); altered liver function, hepatitis, and liver necrosis; weight gain or loss; perspiration; flushing; urinary frequency, nocturia; drowsiness, dizziness, weakness, fatigue; headache; parotid swelling; alopecia.

Though these are not indicative of addiction, abrupt cessation of treatment after prolonged therapy may produce nausea, headache, and malaise.

Overdose

Symptoms of overdose of tricyclic antidepressants may begin within several hours of oral ingestion. Symptoms and signs may include blurred vision, confusion, restlessness, dizziness, hypothermia, hyperthermia, agitation, vomiting, hyperactive reflexes, dilated pupils, fever, rapid heart rate, decreased bowel sounds, dry mouth, inability to void, myoclonic jerks, seizures, respiratory depression, myoglobinuric renal failure, nystagmus, ataxia, dysarthria, choreoathetosis, coma, hypotension, and cardiac arrhythmias.

In managing overdose, consider the possibility of multiple drug overdose, interactions among drugs, and unusual drug kinetics in your patients. Protect the patient's airway and support ventilation and perfusion. Absorption of drugs from the gastrointestinal tract may be decreased by giving activated charcoal, which, in many cases, is more effective than emesis or lavage; consider charcoal instead of or in addition to gastric emptying. Repeated doses of charcoal over time may hasten elimination of some drugs that have been absorbed.

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