Anxiety Medication Overview of Vivactil

Vivactil (generic protriptyline hydrochloride) is a tricyclic antidepressant approved by the FDA to treat depression in adults (age 18 and over). Like many medications in its class, Vivactil is also prescribed off-label to treat anxiety disorders, particularly panic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Vivactil and other tricyclic antidepressants affect brain chemistry by blocking the absorption of serotonin and norepinephrine, neurotransmitters that have been implicated in depression and anxiety disorders. They are known to be effective but are an older class of antidepressants that are no longer as commonly prescribed. SSRIs and SNRIs, antidepressants like Zoloft and Effexor, have largely replaced tricyclic antidepressants as the first line of treatment because these newer drugs are thought to cause fewer side effects. But because everyone reacts to drugs in a different way, a tricyclic antidepressant is still the best option for some people.

Vivactil has a number of common side effects, including dry mouth, dizziness, drowsiness, headache, excitement, impotence, nausea, pupil dilation, nightmares, sensitivity to sunlight, sweating, tiredness, vomiting, weakness, and weight loss or gain. Although it can be effective in treating anxiety for some people, Vivactil is also known for being more likely than other tricyclic antidepressants to aggravate agitation and anxiety and produce cardiovascular reactions such as tachycardia and hypotension.


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