nortriptyline, Pamelor, Aventyl

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GENERIC NAME: nortriptyline

BRAND NAMES: Pamelor, Aventyl

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Nortriptyline is in the class of drugs called tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) and is used for treating depression. Other drugs in the same class include amitriptyline (Endep, Elavil), clomipramine (Anafranil), doxepin (Sinequan), imipramine (Tofranil), trimipramine (Surmontil), amoxapine (Amoxapine), desipramine (Norpramin), and protriptyline (Vivactil). Individuals with depression may have an imbalance in neurotransmitters, chemicals that nerves make and use to communicate with other nerves. Like all TCAs, nortriptyline increases levels of norepinephrine and serotonin, two neurotransmitters, and blocks the action of acetylcholine, another neurotransmitter. It is believed that by restoring the balance of these different neurotransmitters in the brain depression is alleviated (for example, the mood is elevated). Nortriptyline was approved by the FDA in November 1964.

PRESCRIPTION: Yes

GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes




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