trimipramine (Surmontil)

  • 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.

What is trimipramine, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

Trimipramine is a tricyclic antidepressant (TCA) in the same family as amitriptyline (Elavil), imipramine (Tofranil), nortriptyline (Pamelor; Aventyl), and desipramine (Norpramin). Trimipramine works by raising the brain's level of norepinephrine (a neurotransmitter) to more normal levels. It also has anti-cholinergic actions (opposing the effects of the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine) which cause many of its side effects. Trimipramine also acts as a sedative. Trimipramine was approved by the FDA in June 1979.

What brand names are available for trimipramine?

Surmontil

Is trimipramine available as a generic drug?

GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes

Do I need a prescription for trimipramine?

Yes

What are the side effects of trimipramine?

Trimipramine may impair the mental and/or physical abilities required for the performance of potentially hazardous tasks such as driving a car or operating machinery. The anti-cholinergic effects of trimipramine may cause:

Older adults are especially sensitive to the anti-cholinergic effects of trimipramine.

Sucking hard candy or chewing gum can help prevent dry mouth.

Trimipramine can increase a person's sensitivity to sunlight; patient's taking trimipramine should wear sunscreen and avoid sun exposure. Since trimipramine can impair the body's ability to sweat and adapt to hot environments, patients should avoid saunas and excessive heat. Trimipramine is used with caution in patients with seizures since it can increase the risk of seizures.

If trimipramine is discontinued abruptly headache, nausea, and general discomfort may occur. Therefore, it is recommended that the dose of antidepressant be reduced gradually when therapy is discontinued.

Antidepressants increased the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in short-term studies in children and adolescents with depression and other psychiatric disorders. Anyone considering the use of trimipramine or any other antidepressant in a child or adolescent must balance this risk with the clinical need. Patients who are started on therapy should be closely observed for clinical worsening, suicidal thinking or behavior, and unusual changes in behavior.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/27/2015

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