MedlinePlus

Nortriptyline

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IMPORTANT WARNING
A small number of children, teenagers, and young adults (up to 24 years of age) who took antidepressants ('mood elevators') such as nortriptyline during clinical studies became suicidal (thinking about harming or killing oneself or planning or trying to do so). Children, teenagers, and young adults who take antidepressants to treat depression or other mental illnesses may be more likely to become suicidal than children, teenagers, and young adults who do not take antidepressants to treat these conditions. However, experts are not sure about how great this risk is and how much it should be considered in deciding whether a child or teenager should take an antidepressant. Children younger than 18 years of age should not normally take nortriptyline, but in some cases, a doctor may decide that nortriptyline is the best medication to treat a child's condition. [More...]
Why is this medication prescribed?
Nortriptyline is used to treat depression. Nortriptyline is in a group of medications called tricyclic antidepressants. It works by increasing the amounts of certain natural substances in the brain that are needed to maintain mental balance.

How should this medicine be used?
Nortriptyline comes as a capsule and an oral liquid to take by mouth. It is usually taken one to four times a day and may be taken with or without food. Take nortriptyline at around the same times every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take nortriptyline exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

Your doctor will probably start you on a low dose of nortriptyline and gradually increase your dose.

Continue to take nortriptyline even if you feel well. Do not stop taking nortriptyline without talking to your doctor. If you suddenly stop taking nortriptyline, you may experience withdrawal symptoms such as headache, nausea, and weakness. Your doctor will probably want to decrease your dose gradually.

Other uses for this medicine
Nortriptyline is also sometimes used to treat panic disorders and post-herpetic neuralgia (the burning, stabbing pains, or aches that may last for months or years after a shingles infection). Nortriptyline is also sometimes used to help people stop smoking. Talk to your doctor about the possible risks of using this medication for your condition.

This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information

What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking nortriptyline,
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.

What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

What side effects can this medication cause?
Nortriptyline may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away: Some side effects may be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment: Nortriptyline may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while you are taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.

In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.

Symptoms of overdose may include
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor may order certain lab tests to check your response to nortriptyline.

Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.

It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.

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Last Revised - 02/15/2013
© 2014. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc.
ASHP
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