Keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can check on your progress.
This medicine may make you feel sleepy. If this happens, do not drive or use tools or machines. Do not drink alcohol.
Tell your doctor if you experience any troublesome side-effects.
|Type of medicine||Tricyclic antidepressant|
|Used for||Depression in adults|
|Available as||Tablets and oral liquid medicine|
The exact cause of depression is not known. It can develop for no apparent reason or it may be triggered by a life event such as a relationship problem, bereavement, or illness. Medicines like lofepramine can help to ease the symptoms caused by depression.
Before taking lofepramine
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking lofepramine it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
- If you have an overactive thyroid gland.
- If you have liver or kidney problems.
- If you have epilepsy or sugar diabetes.
- If you have had problems with constipation over a long time.
- If you have any difficulties passing urine, or if you have had prostate trouble.
- If you have a heart disorder or an unusual heart rhythm.
- If you have any other mental health problem (in particular, bipolar disorder or psychosis).
- If you have glaucoma (increased pressure in your eyes).
- If you have been told you have phaeochromocytoma (a tumour on your adrenal gland).
- If you have porphyria (this is a rare inherited blood disorder).
- If you are taking other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal and complementary medicines. This is especially important if you have recently taken a medicine for depression, known as a monoamine-oxidase inhibitor (MAOI).
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
How to take lofepramine
- Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The manufacturer's leaflet will give you more information about lofepramine and a full list of side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
- It is usual to take one tablet of lofepramine two or three times a day. Your doctor will tell you what dose is right for you and this will be printed on the label of the pack to remind you.
- Swallow the tablets whole with a drink of water. You can take lofepramine before or after meals.
- If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember unless your next dose is due. If when you remember your next dose is due, then take the dose that is due and leave out the forgotten one. Do not take two doses together to make up for a missed dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can check on your progress.
- Take lofepramine exactly as your doctor has told you to. It can cause drowsiness so your doctor may advise you to take a smaller dose to begin with, and then to increase it gradually as your body gets used to the medicine.
- You may feel that lofepramine is not working for you straightaway. It can take a week or two after starting it before the effect begins to build up, and 4-6 weeks before you feel the full benefit. It is important that you do not stop taking it thinking it is not helping.
- While you feel depressed, you may have distressing thoughts and think about harming yourself or ending your life. If this happens, it is very important that you tell your doctor about this as soon as possible.
- If you drink alcohol, ask your doctor for advice. Your doctor is likely to recommend that you do not drink alcohol while you are on lofepramine, as it increases the risk of side-effects, such as feeling sleepy.
- A very few people who have taken lofepramine have found that their skin has become more sensitive to sunlight than usual. Avoid strong sunlight and sunbeds until you know how your skin reacts.
- There are several types of antidepressants. Each type works in a slightly different way. If you find that lofepramine does not suit you, then let your doctor know, as another may be found that does.
- Continue to take lofepramine unless your doctor tells you otherwise. Stopping treatment suddenly can sometimes cause problems and your doctor may want you to reduce your dose gradually if this is necessary.
- If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are suitable for you to take. This is because a number of medicines can increase the risk of side-effects from lofepramine, including some painkillers, flu remedies and antihistamines which can be bought from pharmacies.
- If you have diabetes you may need to check your blood glucose more frequently. This is because lofepramine may affect the levels of sugar in your blood. Your doctor will advise you about this.
- If you are having any medical treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are taking this medicine, as it can interfere with some anaesthetics.
- Your doctor will ask you to carry on taking lofepramine even after you feel better. This is to help stop your depression from returning. It is normal for a course of treatment to last for around six months after your symptoms have eased.
Can lofepramine cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the most common ones associated with lofepramine. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your medicine. The unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.
|Common lofepramine side-effects||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Feeling dizzy or faint||Getting up more slowly may help. If you begin to feel faint, sit down until the feeling passes|
|Dry mouth||Try chewing sugar-free gum, or sucking sugar-free sweets|
|Constipation||Try to eat a well-balanced diet containing plenty of fibre and drink plenty of water|
|Feeling sleepy or tired, blurred vision||If this happens, do not drive or use tools or machines. Do not drink alcohol|
|Sweating, feeling anxious or confused, tingling or numb feelings,
breast tenderness, difficulties with sexual function, increased appetite and weight, difficulty passing urine, feeling sick, a fast heartbeat, feeling shaky, rash, headache, disturbed sleep
|Speak with your doctor if any of these become troublesome|
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store lofepramine
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital at once. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.
Further reading & references
- Manufacturer's PIL, Lofepramine 70 mg Tablets (Arrow); Actavis UK Ltd, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated June 2010.
- British National Formulary; 65th Edition (Mar 2013) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.
Dr Adrian Bonsall