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.
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.
Quick GuideDepression Hurts: Physical Symptoms of Depression
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