Medication Overview of Norpramin

Norpramin is a brand name for the pharmaceutical desipramine, a tricyclic antidepressant which operates by inhibiting the reuptake of norepinephrine and serotonin. Despite its effects on serotonin levels, it is not one of the SSRI class of drugs.

A potent neuropathic painkiller, Norpramin activates descending pathways in the spinal cord, which in turn inhibit upward-traveling pain signals, keeping them from reaching the brain. In addition to depression and neuropathic pain, Norpramin can be used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). In this role, however, it is important to note that the drug largely only affects behavioral symptoms, leaving cognitive deficiencies un-addressed.

As with all tricyclic antidepressants, Norpramin causes a host of side effects, including dry mouth, anxiety, confusion, hypotension, nausea, and occasionally cardiac dysrhythmias. Many of these side effects can be managed and become less severe as continuing treatment progresses, or if initial doses are smaller and work gradually up to the appropriate clinical dose. Overdoses of Norpramin and other tricyclics can be cardiotoxic.

Norpramin should not be taken alongside certain other popular drugs, including fluoxetine and some antipsychotics. The mechanism of action for these drugs can cause a potentially dangerous buildup of Norpramin in the blood, leading to the aforementioned toxicity.

Once a popular staple for the treatment of depression and other conditions, Norpramin and the other tricyclics have mostly been replaced by SSRI, a class which presents few side effects, is better tolerated by more people, and has a lower risk of dangerous overdose.

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