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Norpramin (Desipramine)

Norpramin, also called desipramine, is used to control the symptoms of depression in adults, young adults and teens. Norpramin is one of a class of medications called tricyclic antidepressants and helps control the thoughts and behaviors that accompany depression.


Norpramin comes in tablet form and can be taken from one or more times per day. Your doctor may start you on a low dosage, and then increase your daily dosage as needed to manage your symptoms. It may take several weeks before you feel the full effects of this medication. You should take this medication each day as directed by your doctor, even if you feel better.

Important Information Before Use

  • Your doctor can help you decide if the benefit of this medication outweighs the risk of using it. Antidepressants, including Norpramin, can cause suicidal thoughts and behavior in children, teens or young adults under the age of 24.
  • Tell your doctor if you are taking or have recently taken a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI). You should not take Norpramin within two weeks of taking a MAO inhibitor.
  • If you have ever had a heart attack, you should not use this medication.
  • If you have or have ever had a heart or blood disease of any type, or if a family member has died from a heart related condition. If you have glaucoma, an enlarged prostate, seizures, diabetes, an overactive thyroid or any type of liver or kidney disease, you should talk to your doctor before you take Norpramin.
  • You should also mention any serious reactions you have had to other similar medications.
  • If you are taking other prescription drugs or supplements, you should check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking Norpramin. This drug may interact with other medications or supplements, including MAOIs, antihistamines, antidepressants, antacids, sleeping pills, antipsychotics, high blood pressure medications, and more.

Important Information During Use

  • If you are pregnant or become pregnant while taking Norpramin, you should talk to your doctor about alternative treatments for depression. If taken during pregnancy or while breastfeeding Norpramin can cause problems in newborns.
  • Tobacco or cigarette products can reduce the effectiveness of this medication.
  • Norpramin can make you extremely drowsy; using alcohol with Norpramin can worsen this side effect. You should not drive or work with heavy machinery until you know how Norpramin may affect you.
  • Your surgeon or anesthesiologist needs to know that you are taking Norpramin if you are having any type of surgery, including oral or dental surgery.
  • Norpramin overdose can be deadly, so it is important to take only the correct amount of this medication each day. Signs of Norpramin overdose include drowsiness, breathing difficulties, irregular or rapid heartbeat, lightheadedness, seizure, or coma.

Side Effects

Call your doctor immediately if you experience serious or severe side effects from Norpramin. Serious side effects from this medication can include:

  • Irregular, pounding, or fast heartbeat
  • Severe rash
  • Faintness or dizziness
  • Slowed or shuffling walk
  • Unusual, uncontrollable shaking
  • Spasms in the back, neck, or jaw
  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • Speech difficulties
  • Yellowed skin or eyes
  • Seizures
  • Fever, sore throat, and other signs of an infection
  • Brusing or bleeding

Less serious side effects may include:

  • Drowsiness or weakness
  • Dry mouth
  • Weight gain or increase in appetite
  • Nausea or constipation
  • Difficult or frequent urination
  • Nightmares
  • Increased sweating
  • Blurred vision
  • Changes in sex drive or ability
  • Increased sensitivity to sunlight


Do not stop taking Norpramin abruptly, you should see your doctor before reducing or discontinuing this medication. Slowly tapering off of this medication will help reduce withdrawal symptoms.

  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • General unwell feeling or malaise



Last Update: 12-17-2014


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