Desipramine is used to treat depression. This medication may improve your mood, sleep, appetite, and energy level and may help restore your interest in daily living. This medication belongs to a class of medications called tricyclic antidepressants. It works by restoring the balance of a certain natural substance (norepinephrine) in the brain.
Read the Medication Guide available from your pharmacist. Consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. Take this medication by mouth with or without food as directed by your doctor, usually 1 to 3 times daily. The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. Your doctor may start you at a low dose and gradually increase your dose. This medication may make you sleepy or wakeful. Therefore, depending on how this medication affects you, your doctor may direct you to take the entire dose once daily either in the morning or at bedtime. Follow your doctor's instructions carefully. Do not take more or less medication or take it more frequently than prescribed. Your condition will not improve any faster and your risk of side effects will increase. Use this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, use it at the same time(s) each day. It is important to continue taking this medication even if you feel well. Do not suddenly stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor. Some conditions may become worse when the drug is abruptly stopped. Your dose may need to be gradually decreased. This medication does not work right away. It may take 2 to 3 weeks before you experience the full benefits when this medication is used for depression. Inform your doctor if your condition persists or worsens.
See also Warning section. Headache, nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, nervousness, trouble sleeping, blurred vision, increased appetite, weight gain, constipation and dry mouth may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly. To relieve dry mouth, suck on (sugarless) hard candy or ice chips, chew (sugarless) gum, drink water, or use a saliva substitute. Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects. Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: mental/mood changes (e.g., confusion, hallucinations, memory problems), enlarged/painful breasts, unusual breast milk production, irregular/painful menstrual periods, ringing in the ears, sexual problems (e.g., decreased sexual ability, changes in desire), shakiness (tremors), numbness/tingling of the hands/feet, pain/redness/swelling of arms or legs, trouble urinating, easy bruising/bleeding, signs of infection (e.g., fever, persistent sore throat), severe stomach/abdominal pain, dark urine, yellowing of eyes/skin. Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including: chest pain, slow/fast/irregular heartbeat, seizures, fainting, slurred speech, weakness on one side of the body, eye pain/swelling/redness, widened pupils, vision changes (such as seeing rainbows around lights at night). This medication may increase serotonin and rarely cause a very serious condition called serotonin syndrome/toxicity. The risk increases if you are also taking other drugs that increase serotonin, so tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the drugs you take (see Drug Interactions section). Get medical help right away if you develop some of the following symptoms: fast heartbeat, hallucinations, loss of coordination, severe dizziness, severe nausea/vomiting/diarrhea, twitching muscles, unexplained fever, unusual agitation/restlessness. This drug may rarely cause a serious nervous system disorder (neuroleptic malignant syndrome). Get medical help right away if you notice any of the following very serious side effects: muscle stiffness, high fever, increased sweating, fast heartbeat, sudden mental/mood changes, signs of kidney problems (such as change in the amount of urine). A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing. This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist. In the US - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch. In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets. Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval. Some products that may interact with this drug include: disopyramide, anticholinergics (including atropine, belladonna alkaloids, scopolamine, drugs for Parkinson's disease such as benztropine), certain drugs for high blood pressure (such as clonidine, guanadrel, guanethidine), digoxin, thyroid supplements, valproic acid. Taking MAO inhibitors with this medication may cause a serious (possibly fatal) drug interaction. Avoid taking MAO inhibitors (isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue, moclobemide, phenelzine, procarbazine, rasagiline, safinamide, selegiline, tranylcypromine) during treatment with this medication. Most MAO inhibitors should also not be taken for two weeks before and after treatment with this medication. Ask your doctor when to start or stop taking this medication. The risk of serotonin syndrome/toxicity increases if you are also taking other drugs that increase serotonin. Examples include street drugs such as MDMA/"ecstasy," St. John's wort, certain antidepressants (including SSRIs such as fluoxetine/paroxetine, SNRIs such as duloxetine/venlafaxine), among others. The risk of serotonin syndrome/toxicity may be more likely when you start or increase the dose of these drugs. Other medications can affect the removal of desipramine from your body, which may affect how desipramine works. Examples include barbiturates (such as phenobarbital), cimetidine, cisapride, haloperidol, certain drugs for heart rhythm (such as flecainide, propafenone), halofantrine, HIV protease inhibitors (such as fosamprenavir), phenothiazines (such as thioridazine), pimozide, certain anti-seizure drugs (such as phenytoin), antidepressants (such as trazodone), terbinafine, among others. Cigarette smoking decreases blood levels of this medication. Tell your doctor if you smoke or if you have recently stopped smoking. Many drugs besides desipramine may affect the heart rhythm (QT prolongation in the EKG), including amiodarone, dofetilide, pimozide, procainamide, quinidine, sotalol, sparfloxacin, macrolide antibiotics (such as erythromycin), among others. Therefore, before using desipramine, report all medications you are currently using to your doctor or pharmacist. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking other products that cause drowsiness including alcohol, marijuana (cannabis), antihistamines (such as cetirizine, diphenhydramine), drugs for sleep or anxiety (such as alprazolam, diazepam, zolpidem), muscle relaxants (such as carisoprodol, cyclobenzaprine), and narcotic pain relievers (such as codeine, hydrocodone). Check the labels on all your medicines (e.g., cough-and-cold products) because they may contain drowsiness-containing ingredients or decongestants that could increase your heart rate or blood pressure. Ask your pharmacist about the safe use of those products. Desipramine is very similar to imipramine. Do not take medications containing imipramine while using desipramine.
If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: severe dizziness, fast/irregular heartbeat, fainting, hallucinations, seizures.