desipramine, Norpramin

Pharmacy Author:
Medical and Pharmacy Editor:
Medical Editor:

GENERIC NAME: desipramine

BRAND NAME: Norpramin

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Desipramine is an oral antidepressant, a member of the tricyclic antidepressant (TCA) family which also includes amitriptyline (Elavil, Endep), and imipramine (Tofranil). Depression is an all-pervasive sense of sadness and gloom. It is believed that in some patients with depression, abnormal levels of neurotransmitters (chemicals that nerves use to communicate with each other) may be the cause of their depression. Desipramine elevates mood by raising the level of neurotransmitters in nerves of the brain. Desipramine also is responsible for the antidepressant effects of imipramine because imipramine is converted by the body to desipramine. The FDA approved desipramine in 1964.

PRESCRIPTION: Yes

GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes

PREPARATIONS: Tablets: 10, 25, 50, 75, 100, and 150 mg.

STORAGE: Desipramine should be stored at room temperature, below 86 F (30 C), in a tight, light resistant container.

PRESCRIBED FOR: Desipramine is used to elevate the mood of patients with depression. Non-FDA approved (off-label) uses include anxiety, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, bulimia, cataplexy syndrome, chronic itching, depression caused by traumatic brain injury, neuropathic pain (due to injury of nerves), and panic disorder. Desipramine also has sedative properties although less than most other TCAs. Therefore, it is useful in depressed patients with insomnia, restlessness, and nervousness.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/12/2014



Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Pill Finder Tool

Need help identifying pills and medications?
Use the pill identifier tool on RxList.


Back to Medications Index