What exactly is Norpramin?

Norpramin is a tricyclic antidepressant and brand name of the drug desipramine. It works by restoring balance to chemicals in the brain that helps regulate mood. The medication has been approved for treating depression in adults. The medication is sometimes used to treat symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity in patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder when traditional medications are ineffective.

Is there a generic version of Norpramin available?

Yes, the generic version of Norpramin is called desipramine and is available for purchase.

When did the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approve the medication?

Desipramine was first approved by the FDA in 1964.

What are the major differences between Norpramin and other medications used to treat ADHD?

Most traditional ADHD medications are stimulants. They can be very effective in treating symptoms, but they can be habit-forming. When stimulants are not effective, tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) like Norpramin are sometimes prescribed. Norpramin can be effective for adults with ADHD and also in treating symptoms of depression and anxiety that often accompany ADHD. However, because it an antidepressant, it takes 2 to 4 weeks for the drug to reach maximum efficacy.

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Can children take Norpramin?

Norpramin has been approved for adults ages 18 and over, but in some cases, a doctor may prescribe the medication to someone younger. Children and teens who take antidepressants are at risk for developing suicidal thoughts, so it’s important to talk to your child about this possibility, monitor their mental health, and report all side effects to their doctor.

Are there potential interaction issues for people taking Norpramin and any other drugs?

Do not take Norpramin if you have taken an MAO inhibitor in the past two weeks, as a dangerous interaction effect could occur. There are also hundreds of drugs which are known to interact with Norpramin in major, moderate, or mild ways, so let your doctor know what other medications you are taking before you begin taking the medication.

Are there any other medical conditions that would make someone ineligible for Norpramin therapy?

You should not take Norpramin if you are in acute recovery from myocardial infarction. Talk to your doctor if you have a rapid heartbeat, kidney problems, seizures, recent stroke, enlarged prostate, liver problems, or a history of other mental illness, suicidal thoughts, or substance use.

What is the typical dose that would be prescribed to someone taking Norpramin?

The typical dosage ranges between 25 mg and 100 mg daily, and doses above 150 mg are not recommended.

What do I do if I miss a dose?

Take the dose of Norpramin when you remember, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. You should never take extra doses of the medication to make up for missed doses. 

What are Norpramin’s common side effects?

Common side effects of Norpramin can include:

  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • headaches
  • dry mouth
  • trouble sleeping
  • increased appetiteweight gain
  • constipation
  • blurred vision

If you experience major side effects, report them to your doctor immediately and stop using the medication. Major side effects can include but are not limited to changes in mood, muscle stiffness, trouble urinating, sexual problems, tremors, painful menstrual cycle, tingling of hands and feet, swelling or redness of arms or legs. You can report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or online.

Are there any possible psychiatric side effects that come from taking Norpramin?

Sometimes antidepressants can cause or increase suicidal thoughts in children or adults. If you have a personal history or family history of bipolar disorder, talk to your doctor about the risks.

Is it safe for a woman who is pregnant, about to become pregnant, or nursing to take Norpramin?

There have been no controlled human pregnancy studies on the effects of Norpramin, and animal studies have proven inconclusive. It is not known whether the drug can be transferred via breast milk in small amounts and harm a baby. Therefore, talk to your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are nursing before you take Norpramin.

Can symptoms occur if Norpramin is discontinued?

Withdrawal symptoms of Norpramin can include but are not limited to headaches, weakness, and nausea. Talk to your doctor before you discontinue use and seek medical attention if necessary.

What should I do if I overdose on Norpramin?

An overdose of Norpramin could be fatal, so seek help immediately or call the Poison Help Line at 1-800-222-1222 if you overdose. Higher fatality rates are associated with desipramine overdoses compared to other tricyclic antidepressants. Overdose symptoms can include vomiting, hallucinations, confusion, agitation, drowsiness, rigid muscles stupor, dilated pupils, hypothermia, hyperpyrexia, convulsions, severe hypotension, cardiac dysrhythmias, severe hypotension, and coma.

Is Norpramin habit-forming?

Norpramin is not habit-forming, but withdrawal symptoms can occur, so talk to your doctor before you discontinue use.

How much does Norpramin cost?

According to goodrx.com, 30 tablets of 25 mg Norpramin cost approximately $66. The cost of the generic version desipramine is around $33.

Are there any disadvantages to Norpramin?

The biggest disadvantage of Norpramin is that it can cause suicidal thoughts in people taking the medication. Patients are also advised not to drink alcohol while taking the medication. Unlike many other medications used to treat ADHD, the drug takes several weeks for the effects to be felt. Also, common side effects of the medication may outweigh the benefits.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained herein should NOT be used as a substitute for the advice of an appropriately qualified and licensed physician or other healthcare providers.  This article mentions drugs that were FDA-approved and available at the time of publication and may not include all possible drug interactions or all FDA warnings or alerts. The author of this page explicitly does not endorse this drug or any specific treatment method. If you have health questions or concerns about interactions, please check with your physician or go to the FDA site for a comprehensive list of warnings.

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Last Updated: Feb 21, 2018