Imipramine belongs to the class of medications called tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs). Imipramine helps to elevate mood and eliminate or reduce other symptoms associated with depression. Tricyclic antidepressants such as imipramine work by increasing the amount of norepinephrine and serotonin neurotransmitters (chemical substances in the brain) available in certain parts of the brain.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.
This medication is available as 10 mg, 25 mg, and 50 mg tablets.
For the treatment of depression in adults, the recommended starting dose of imipramine is 25 mg three times daily, with or without food. This dose is usually increased gradually until the most effective dose is found. The maximum recommended daily dose is 300 mg. It may take several weeks before the medication has its full effect so you should be patient with the results. Your doctor will try to eventually prescribe the lowest dose that is effective. Once this dose has been reached, you may be able to take your entire dose at bedtime as recommended by your doctor.
Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones given here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.
It is important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue on with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Store this medication at room temperature and keep it out of the reach of children.
Do not take imipramine if you:
Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.
The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.
Although most of the side effects listed below don’t happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:
Before you begin taking a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Diabetes: Both elevation and lowering of blood sugar levels have been reported with imipramine use. People with diabetes or hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) should monitor their blood glucose levels closely while taking this medication.
Dizziness: Use caution (i.e., move slowly) when rising from a sitting or lying position since imipramine can cause sudden temporary low blood pressure resulting in dizziness.
Drowsiness/reduced alertness: Imipramine may impair the mental or physical abilities required for the potentially hazardous tasks such as driving a car or operating machinery. Use appropriate caution until you determine how this medication affects you.
Heart rhythm: Imipramine can cause abnormal heart rhythms, particularly when taken in high doses. Therefore, seniors and those with a history of heart disease should take imipramine with caution.
Medical conditions: If you have a history of seizures, reduced liver function, heart conditions, glaucoma, certain blood disorders, a history of mania or bipolar disorder, or urinary retention, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Suicidal thoughts: Imipramine may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts, especially when starting therapy or dosage adjustment. Seek medical attention at any signs of worsening condition.
Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: Imipramine passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking imipramine it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children.
Seniors: Seniors should use this medication with caution, and should not exceed the recommended dose.
There may be an interaction between imipramine and any of the following:
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