Asendin (amoxapine) is a tricyclic antidepressant medication that is only available by means of a prescription from a psychiatrist or physician. This medication promotes emotional and behavioral balance by increasing the amount of important neurotransmitters, including serotonin and norepinephrine, present in the body. Asendin is used to manage the thoughts and behaviors experienced by adults and teens with depression. While this drug may help to manage the associated symptoms, it is not a cure for depression.
- How should I take this medication?
Asendin comes in oral tablet form and may be taken one or more times per day. Your doctor may increase or decrease your dosage until he or she finds the ideal dosage to manage your symptoms. Try to take this medication at the same time each day for best results. If you take this medication once per day, you should take it just before you go to bed. It may take several weeks in order for you to feel its complete range of effects. Take this medication exactly as directed by your doctor, even if you start to feel better. Do not increase or decrease your dosage, or take this medication for a shorter or longer time than prescribed by your doctor.
- I did not remember to take my medication. What should I do?
Take the dose you forgot as soon as you remember it. But if you are close to the time for your next scheduled dose, skip the missed dose completely. Taking too much of this drug too quickly may result in an overdose. Never take a double dose of this medication in order to make up for a missed dose.
- What should I do if I overdose on this medication?
Contact your health care provider or call a poison control center immediately. Seek urgent medical care as an overdose of this medication may be fatal. Symptoms of overdose include delirium, persistent seizures, fatigue, drowsiness, and loss of consciousness.
Find a Therapist
People who are allergic to amoxapine or who have recently had a heart attack should not use this drug. Do not use this drug if you have taken a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) in the past two weeks, as severe drug interactions may occur. This medication should not be taken by people under the age of 18 unless specifically advised by a qualified medical professional.
- Are there ways to get more out of my treatment with this medication?
Several reputable bodies of research indicate that depression, for some, is as treatable with psychotherapy as it may be with medication. In light of this research, consider complementing your drug treatment with a type of psychotherapy. While medication may dull some debilitating symptoms of depression and make you feel better, it cannot help you develop a self-care routine, understand what you are experiencing better, or help you learn healthy strategies to cope with depression should you experience it again. Finding a therapist or counselor to work with if you are experiencing depression may help you achieve a longer-lasting mental health outcome than treatment with medication alone.
- How should I store this medication?
Store this medication at a temperature between 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit (20 and 25 degrees Celsius). When not in use, keep Asendin in a container with a child-proof lid. Do not expose this drug to excess moisture or heat.
Some antidepressant medications, including Asendin, may cause suicidal thoughts and behavior in children, teens, or young adults who are 24 years old or younger. Individuals with a family history of bipolar issues may also be more likely to experience suicidal ideation. Be alert to any sudden or severe changes in emotions, mood, thoughts, or behavior. Call your doctor if you become aware of any symptoms which make you feel uncomfortable. Your doctor will help you decide if the benefit of this medication outweighs the risk of using it.
If you have a history of urinary problems, schizophrenia, bipolar issues, heart attack, heart failure, diabetes, glaucoma, an enlarged prostate, an overactive thyroid, or any type of liver, kidney, or heart disease, you should talk to your doctor before you start taking this medication. Tell your doctor if you have ever been treated with electroshock therapy. You should also mention any serious reactions you may 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 Asendin. This medication may interact with other medications or supplements including, but not necessarily limited to:
- Other antidepressants
- Antifungal drugs
- Sleeping pills
- High blood pressure medications
- Herbal products such as St. John’s wort
Asendin, like many tricyclic antidepressants, increases the risks for certain conditions. If you are prescribed this drug, ensure your doctor discusses the following warnings:
- If you become pregnant while taking this medication, you should ask your doctor about other possible treatments for depression. While there is currently no controlled data regarding human pregnancy, animal studies with this drug have discovered a decreased postnatal survival rate. This medication should only be prescribed for pregnant women when the benefits clearly outweigh the risks to mother and fetus. Amoxapine, the major ingredient in Asendin, may pass into breast milk. This medication’s effect on nursing infants is unknown.
- This drug may make you very drowsy; avoid driving, climbing, or working with heavy machinery until you are sure you know how this drug will affect you.
- Avoid drinking alcohol while taking this medication as it may intensify potential side effects.
- Do not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice as it may alter the effectiveness of this drug.
- If you are scheduled for surgery or plan on having surgery during your treatment with this drug, inform your doctor and/or anesthesiologist about this medication.
If you experience any of the following side effects after taking this drug, please inform your doctor immediately. Serious potential side effects may include:
- Irregular or rapid heartbeat
- Uncontrollable shaking or tremors
- Flu-like symptoms
- Difficulties with speech
- Extremely stiff muscles
Less serious side effects may include:
- Dry mouth
- Weight gain or increase in appetite
- Nausea, stomach upset, or constipation
- Increased sensitivity to sunlight
- Changes in difficulty or frequency of urination
- Excessive sweating
- Changes in or blurry vision
Create a safe plan with doctor before you stop taking this drug; do not stop taking this medication abruptly. Tapering off of this medication may reduce the occurrence and severity of withdrawal symptoms such as:
- Return of depression symptoms
- Physical or mental fatigue
- Sleep disturbances
- Citizens Commission on Human Rights International. (2012). The side effects of common psychiatric drugs. Retrieved from http://www.cchrint.org/pdfs/The_Side_Effects_of_Common_Psychiatric_Drugs.pdf
- Drugs.com. (2012). Asendin. Retrieved from http://www.drugs.com/mtm/asendin.html
- Medline Plus. (2010). Amoxapine. Retrieved from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a682202.html
Page content reviewed by James Pendleton, ND.