Trimipramine for depression

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Keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can check on your progress.

Trimipramine can make you feel sleepy. Do not drive and do not or use tools or machines while affected. Do not drink alcohol.

Tell your doctor if you experience any troublesome side-effects.
Type of medicineA tricyclic antidepressant
Used forTreatment of depression in adults
Available asTablets and capsules

Trimipramine belongs to a group of medicines called tricyclic antidepressants. It is prescribed for the treatment of depression.

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. People with depression have a consistently low mood and other symptoms severe enough to interfere with normal day-to-day activities. Medicines like trimipramine can help to ease the symptoms caused by depression, such as sleep disturbance and a loss of appetite. Trimipramine is thought to work by interfering with certain brain chemicals (called neurotransmitters) which may be involved in causing the symptoms of depression.

Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine can only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking trimipramine it is important that your doctor knows:

  • If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • If you have any problems with the way your liver works.
  • If you have had problems with constipation.
  • If you have any difficulties passing urine, or if you have had prostate trouble.
  • If you have any of the following conditions: epilepsy, sugar diabetes, increased pressure in your eye (glaucoma), an overactive thyroid gland, or a heart condition.
  • If you have ever had a mental health problem (in particular, bipolar disorder or psychosis).
  • If you have either of the following rare conditions: a tumour on your adrenal gland, called phaeochromocytoma, or an inherited blood disorder called porphyria.
  • If you are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines which are available to buy without a prescription, as well as herbal and complementary medicines. It is especially important that you tell your doctor 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.
  • Before you start the treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. It will give you more information about trimipramine and will provide you with a full list of the side-effects which you could experience from taking it.
  • It is usual to take trimipramine once a day, at bedtime. Some doctors, however, may recommend smaller doses taken two or three times a day. Your doctor will tell you which is right for you and the directions will also be printed on the label of the pack to remind you about what the doctor said to you.
  • You can take trimipramine either with or without food. Swallow the tablet/capsule with a drink of water.
  • If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember (unless it is nearly time for your next dose, in which case leave out the missed dose and take the next dose as normal). Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.
  • Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can check on your progress.
  • Take trimipramine exactly as your doctor tells you to. It can cause drowsiness so your doctor may advise you to take a small dose to begin with, and then that you gradually increase it as your body becomes used to the medicine.
  • When you start taking trimipramine, you may feel that it is not working for you straightaway. It can take a week or so for the effect to build up and several weeks before you feel the full benefit. It is important that you do not stop taking it thinking it is not helping. Also, 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 it straightaway.
  • Your doctor will recommend that you do not drink alcohol while you are on trimipramine. This is because it increases the risk of side-effects, such as feeling sleepy.
  • If you buy any medicines 'over the counter', check with a pharmacist that they are suitable to take with trimipramine. This is because a number of medicines can increase the risk of side-effects from trimipramine, including some strong painkillers, flu remedies and antihistamines which can be bought from pharmacies.
  • If you have diabetes you may need to check your blood sugar (glucose) more frequently. This is because trimipramine may affect the levels of sugar in your blood. Your doctor will advise you about this.
  • A few people who take trimipramine find that their skin becomes more sensitive to sunlight than usual. Try to avoid strong sunlight until you know how your skin reacts, or use a sun cream with a high sun protection factor. Do not use sunbeds.
  • There are several types of antidepressants - each type works in a slightly different way and can have different side-effects. If you find that trimipramine does not suit you then let your doctor know, as another antidepressant may be found that does.
  • If you are due to have any medical treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are taking trimipramine, as it can interfere with some anaesthetics.
  • If you suspect that someone (especially if it is a child) might have taken trimipramine by accident, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital straightaway. This is very important because trimipramine can cause serious problems when it is taken accidentally or in overdose. Take the container with you to show what has been taken, even if the pack is now empty.
  • Your doctor will ask you to carry on taking trimipramine 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.
  • Continue to take trimipramine unless your doctor tells you otherwise. Stopping treatment suddenly can sometimes cause problems and your doctor will want you to reduce your dose gradually over a number of weeks when this becomes necessary.

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 trimipramine. 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 trimipramine side-effects (these affect less than 1 in 10 people)What can I do if I experience this?
Feeling sleepy or tired, blurred visionDo not drive and do not use tools or machines while affected. Do not drink alcohol
Feeling dizzyGetting up more slowly may help. If you begin to feel faint, sit down until the feeling passes
Dry mouthTry chewing sugar-free gum or sucking sugar-free sweets
ConstipationTry to eat a well-balanced diet containing plenty of fibre and drink plenty of water each day
Sweating, feeling anxious or confused, sexual problems, difficulty passing urine, a fast heartbeat, feeling shaky, rashSpeak with your doctor if any of these become troublesome

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to trimipramine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.

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

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.

Original Author:
Helen Allen
Current Version:
Peer Reviewer:
Prof Cathy Jackson
Document ID:
3507 (v25)
Last Checked:
Next Review:
The Information Standard - certified member

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