Pamelor-nortriptyline-aventylWhat is Pamelor?

Pamelor is the brand name for the tricyclic antidepressant drug nortriptyline that is also used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Nortriptyline is also marketed in Canada under the brand name Aventyl.

How does Pamelor work?

Pamelor works by restoring balance to chemicals in the brain that helps regulate mood. The medication is also sometimes used to treat symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity in patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder when traditional medications are ineffective.

When did the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approve Pamelor?

Nortriptyline was first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1964 under the brand name Pamelor.

What are the major differences between Pamelor and other ADHD medications?

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 Pamelor are sometimes prescribed. Pamelor can be effective for adults with ADHD and also in treating symptoms of depression and anxiety that often accompany ADHD. Pamelor can also help a person sleep better, as opposed to a stimulant which can have side effect of insomnia.

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Can children take Pamelor?

Pamelor has been approved for adults ages 18 and over, but in some cases a doctor may prescribe the medication to someone younger. Teenagers and young adults 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 Pamelor and any other drugs? 

Do not take Aventyl 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 Aventyl in major, moderate, or mild ways, so let your doctor know what other medications you are taking before you begin Aventyl therapy. Some of these include other antidepressants, antihistamines, tranquilizers, sedatives, or muscle relaxers. The medication can also increase the effects of alcohol.

Are there any other medical conditions that would make someone ineligible for using Pamelor? 

You should talk to your doctor before you take Aventyl if you have had any of the following conditions: heart disease, heart attack, hyperthyroidism, trouble urinating, seizures, arrhythmia, or glaucoma. Also tell your doctor if you have experienced panic attacks, psychosis, schizophrenia, or another mental illness.

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

Pamelor comes in 10mg and 25mg capsules. The recommended adult starting dosage is 25mg, and the maximum dosage is 150 mg per day.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

Take the medication as soon as you remember, but if it’s close to your next dose, then skip the dose you missed and stay with your schedule. Never take a double dose of the medication.

How long does it usually take for Pamelor to work? 

Patients may report effects 2 weeks after beginning the medication, but it can take up to 2 months for Aventyl to achieve its full effect.

What are Pamelor’s side effects? 

Common side effects of Pamelor can include:

  • insomnia
  • nausea or vomiting
  • dry mouth
  • less urination and constipation
  • changes in vision
  • decreased sex drive
  • breast swelling.

If you experience major side effects, report them to your doctor immediately and stop using the medication. Major side effects can include seizure, lightheadedness, jaundice, hallucinations. restless muscle movement, vision or balance problems, and chest pain. You can also report them to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or online.

Are there any psychiatric side effects that can develop when taking Pamelor? 

Talk to your doctor if you experience psychiatric symptoms such as suicidal thoughts, increased depression, hyperactivity, restlessness, aggressiveness, irritability, agitation, impulsivity, insomnia, increased anxiety, panic attacks, or any other behavior changes.

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

There are no human pregnancy studies on the drug, but animal studies indicate that notriptyline can potentially have harmful effects on a fetus. It is known whether the drug can effect a nursing infant, but traces of drug can be transferred via breast milk. Therefore, talk to your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are nursing, before you take Pamelor.

Can withdrawal symptoms occur if Pamelor is discontinued? 

If Pamelor therapy is suddenly stopped, a person may experience withdrawal symptoms including fatigue, nausea, and headaches. It’s important to eat healthy, exercise, and have a consistent sleep routine to help alleviate withdrawal symptoms.

What should I do if I overdose on Pamelor? 

An overdose of Pamelor could be fatal, so seek immediately help or call the Poison Help Line at 1-800-222-1222 if you overdose. Overdose symptoms can include fever, nausea or vomiting, dilated pupils, seizures, low blood pressure, restlessness, confusion, hallucinations, and fever.

Is Pamelor habit-forming?

Pamelor is not habit-forming, but the medication should not be stopped abruptly and without doctor consultation, as withdrawal symptoms can occur. Make sure that you keep track of the medication and never take more than prescribed. It is illegal to give or sell the medication to others.

How much does Pamelor cost?

Thirty 10mg capsules of Pamelor can cost approximately $10.

Are there any disadvantages to taking Pamelor? 

The biggest disadvantage of Pamelor is that it can cause suicidal thoughts in people who take it. Patients are also advised not to drink alcohol while taking the medication. Side effects including insomnia, nausea, dry mouth, changes in vision, and decreased sex drive are also a potential disadvantage.



DISCLAIMER: The information contained herein should NOT be used as a substitute for the advice of an appropriately qualified and licensed physician or other health care provider.  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: Nov 25, 2018