clomipramine (Anafranil)

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

GENERIC NAME: clomipramine

BRAND NAME: Anafranil

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Clomipramine (Anafranil) is a psychotropic agent used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Clomipramine shares structural similarities with a class of antidepressants known as tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs).

The exact mechanism by which clomipramine exerts its therapeutic benefits is not fully understood. However, similar to other TCAs, clomipramine is thought to enhance the actions of norepinephrine and serotonin (chemical neurotransmitters in the brain that nerves use to communicate with one another) by blocking their reuptake and prolonging their activity. Clomipramine also has anticholinergic properties which means it blocks the action of another neurotransmitter, acetylcholine. This increases the risk for certain side effects. It also has weak antihistamine properties which appear to play a role in the mild sedative effects observed with use. Clomipramine was approved by the US FDA for the treatment of OCD in 1991.

PRESCRIBED FOR: Clomipramine is used for treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Although not approved by the FDA for these indications, clomipramine is used off-label for the treatment of major depression, panic attacks, anxiety disorders, and premature ejaculation.

SIDE EFFECTS: The most common side effects associated with the use of clomipramine include:

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/10/2014
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