trimipramine (Surmontil)

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?


Is trimipramine available as a generic drug?


Do I need a prescription for trimipramine?


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.


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What is the dosage for trimipramine?

The usual starting dose for adults is 50 to 75 mg per day, split into equal, smaller doses (for example, 25 mg three times daily). Doses are gradually increased every 2 to 3 weeks.

Usual doses for long-term therapy may range from 50 to 150 milligrams daily and doses may be increase up to 200 mg per day if needed.

Hospitalized patients may receive up to 300 mg daily. This total daily dosage may be taken once daily at bedtime or spread throughout the day. Beneficial effects may not be seen until treatment at an appropriate dose is given for two to four weeks.

Which drugs or supplements interact with trimipramine?

Trimipramine increases the effects of other medications and drugs that slow the brain's processes, such as alcohol, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, for example, diazepam (Valium) or lorazepam (Ativan), zolpidem (Ambien) and narcotics. Reserpine, given to patients taking TCAs, can cause a stimulatory effect. Trimipramine and other TCAs should not be used with monoamine oxidase inhibiting drugs for example, isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), tranylcypromine (Parnate), and procarbazine (Matulane). High fever, convulsions and even death can occur when these drugs are used together. Trimipramine affects heart rhythm. Therefore, trimipramine should not be administered with amiodarone (Cordarone), sotalol (Betapace), quinidine, procainamide, and other drugs that also affect heart rhythm.

Is trimipramine safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?

Safe use of trimipramine during pregnancy has not been established; therefore, if it is to be administered to pregnant patients or women of childbearing potential, the benefits must be weighed against the potential hazards to the fetus.

Safe use of trimipramine during lactation has not been established; therefore, if it is to be administered to nursing mothers, the benefits must be weighed against the potential hazards to the child.

What else should I know about trimipramine?

What preparations of trimipramine are available?

Capsules: 25, 50, and 100 mg

How should I keep trimipramine stored?

Capsules should be stored at room temperature, approximately 25 C (77 F).


Trimipramine (Surmontil) is a tricyclic antidepressant drug prescribed for the treatment of major depression. Side effects, drug interactions, and patient warnings should be reviewed prior to taking this medication.

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See more info: trimipramine on RxList
Medically reviewed by John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP; Board Certified Emergency Medicine


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