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Trimipramine

Trimipramine

Definition

Trimipramine is an oral tricyclic antidepressant. It is sold in the United States under the brand name Surmontil.

Purpose

Trimipramine is used primarily to treat depression and to treat the combination of symptoms of anxiety and depression. Like most antidepressants of this chemical and pharmacological class, trimipramine has also been used in limited numbers of patients to treat panic disorder , obsessive-compulsive disorder , attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder , enuresis (bed-wetting), eating disorders such as bulimia nervosa , cocaine dependency, and the depressive phase of bipolar (manic-depressive) disorder.

Description

Tricyclic antidepressants act to change the balance of naturally occurring chemicals in the brain that regulate the transmission of nerve impulses between cells. Trimipramine acts primarily to increase the concentration of norepinephrine and serotonin (both chemicals that stimulate nerve cells) and, to a lesser extent, to block the action of another brain chemical, acetylcholine. Trimipramine shares most of the properties of other tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline , amoxapine , clomipramine , desipramine , imipramine , nortriptyline , and protriptyline . Studies comparing trimipramine with these other drugs have shown that trimipramine is no more or less effective than other antidepressants of its type. Its choice for treatment is as much a function of physician preference as any other factor.

The therapeutic effects of trimipramine, like other antidepressants, appear slowly. Maximum benefit is often not evident for at least two weeks after starting the drug. People taking trimipramine should be aware of this and continue taking the drug as directed even if they do not see immediate improvement.

Recommended dosage

As with any antidepressant, trimipramine must be carefully adjusted by a physician to produce the desired therapeutic effect. Trimipramine is available as 25-mg, 50-mg, and 100-mg oral capsules. Therapy is usually started at 75 to 100 mg per day and gradually increased up to 200 mg daily as needed. Hospitalized patients with more severe depression may require 300 mg per day. Amounts up to 200 mg may be given as a single dose. In people over age 60 and in adolescents, the therapeutic dose should start at 50 mg per day and is rarely increased beyond 100 mg per day.

Precautions

Like all tricyclic antidepressants, trimipramine should be used cautiously and with close physician supervision in people, especially the elderly, who have benign prostatic hypertrophy, urinary retention, and glaucoma, especially angle-closure glaucoma (the most severe form). Before starting treatment, people with these conditions should discuss the relative risks and benefits of treatment with their doctors to help determine if trimipramine is the right antidepressant for them.

A common problem with tricyclic antidepressants is sedation (drowsiness, lack of physical and mental alertness). This side effect is especially noticeable early in therapy. In most patients, sedation decreases or disappears entirely with time, but until then patients taking trimipramine should not perform hazardous activities requiring mental alertness or coordination. The sedative effect is increased when trimipramine is taken with other central nervous system depressants, such as alcoholic beverages, sleeping medications, other sedatives, or antihistamines. It may be dangerous to take trimipramine in combination with these substances. Trimipramine may increase the possibility of having seizures . Patients should tell their physician if they have a history of seizures, including seizures brought on by the abuse of drugs or alcohol. These people should use trimipramine only with caution and be closely monitored by their physician.

Trimipramine may increase heart rate and stress on the heart. It may be dangerous for people with cardiovascular disease, especially those who have recently had a heart attack, to take this drug or other antidepressants in the same pharmacological class. In rare cases where patients with cardiovascular disease must receive trimipramine, they should be monitored closely for cardiac rhythm disturbances and signs of cardiac stress or damage.

Side effects

Trimipramine shares side effects common to all tricyclic antidepressants. The most frequent of these are dry mouth, constipation, urinary retention, increased heart rate, sedation, irritability, dizziness, and decreased coordination. As with most side effects associated with tricyclic antidepressants, the intensity is highest at the beginning of therapy and tends to decrease with continued use.

Dry mouth, if severe to the point of causing difficulty speaking or swallowing, may be managed by dosage reduction or temporary discontinuation of the drug. Patients may also chew sugarless gum or suck on sugarless candy in order to increase the flow of saliva. Some artificial saliva products may give temporary relief.

Men with prostate enlargement who take trimipramine may be especially likely to have problems with urinary retention. Symptoms include having difficulty starting a urine flow and more difficulty than usual passing urine. In most cases, urinary retention is managed with dose reduction or by switching to another type of antidepressant. In extreme cases, patients may require treatment with bethanechol, a drug that reverses this particular side effect. People who think they may be experiencing any side effects from this or any other medication should tell their physicians.

Interactions

Dangerously high blood pressure has resulted from the combination of tricyclic antidepressants, such as trimipramine, and members of another class of antidepressants known as monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors. Because of this, trimipramine should never be taken in combination with MAO inhibitors. Patient taking any MAO inhibitors, for example Nardil (phenelzine sulfate) or Parmate (tranylcypromine sulfate), should stop the MAO inhibitor then wait at least 14 days before starting trimipramine or any other tricyclic antidepressant. The same holds true when discontinuing trimipramine and starting an MAO inhibitor.

Trimipramine may decrease the blood pressurelowering effects of clonidine . Patients who take both drugs should be monitored for loss of blood-pressure control and the dose of clonidine increased as needed.

The sedative effects of trimipramine are increased by other central nervous system depressants such as alcohol, sedatives, sleeping medications, or medications used for other mental disorders such as schizophrenia . The anticholinergic effects of trimipramine are additive with other anticholinergic drugs such as benztropine , biperiden , trihexyphenidyl , and antihistamines.

See also Neurotransmitters

Resources

BOOKS

American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. AHFS Drug Information 2002. Bethesda: American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, 2002.

DeVane, C. Lindsay, Pharm.D. "Drug Therapy for Mood Disorders." In Fundamentals of Monitoring Psychoactive Drug Therapy. Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins, 1990.

Jack Raber, Pharm.D.

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trimipramine

trimipramine (try-mip-ră-meen) n. a tricyclic antidepressant drug that also possesses sedative properties. It is given by mouth for the treatment of depression. Trade name: Surmontil.

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Trimipramine

Trimipramine

Definition

Purpose

Description

Recommended dosage

Precautions

Side effects

Interactions

Resources

Definition

Trimipramine is an oral tricyclic antidepressant. It is sold in the United States under the brand name Surmontil.

Purpose

Trimipramine is used primarily to treat depression and to treat the combination of symptoms of anxiety and depression. Like most antidepressants of this chemical and pharmacological class, trimipramine has also been used in limited numbers of patients to treat panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, enuresis (bed-wetting), eating disorders such as bulimia nervosa, cocaine dependency, and the depressive phase of bipolar (manic-depressive) disorder.

Description

Tricyclic antidepressants act to change the balance of naturally occurring chemicals in the brain that regulate the transmission of nerve impulses between cells. Trimipramine acts primarily to increase the concentration of norepinephrine and serotonin (both chemical messengers in nerve cells) and, to a lesser extent, to block the action of another brain chemical, acetylcholine. Trimipramine shares most of the properties of other tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline, amoxapine, clomipramine, desipramine, imipramine, nortriptyline, and protriptyline . Studies comparing trimipramine with these other drugs have shown that trimipramine is no more or less effective than other antidepressants of its type. Its choice for treatment is as much a function of physician preference as any other factor.

The therapeutic effects of trimipramine, like other antidepressants, appear slowly. Maximum benefit is often not evident for at least two weeks after starting the drug. People taking trimipramine should be aware of this and continue taking the drug as directed even if they do not see immediate improvement.

Recommended dosage

The recommended dosage can vary based on the patient’s age and situation. The initial dose of trimip-amine for depression in an adult begins at 75 mg per day. This dosage can be increased as necessary, usually plateauing at a maximum of 200 mg a day. For patients who are hospitalized, the dose may exceed the 200-mg per day cutoff. This drug is not recommended for children and teenagers (see warnings below), but if it is prescribed, the recommended dosage for teenagers is an initial 50 mg per day that may be gradually increased by the doctor to a typical maximum of 100 mg per day. For children age 12 years and younger, the dose will be determined by the doctor. For the elderly, the initial dose is 50 mg per day, which

can be increased as the doctor deems necessary, but typically no higher than 100 mg per day.

Precautions

Like all tricyclic antidepressants, trimipramine should be used cautiously and with close physician supervision in people, especially the elderly, who have benign prostatic hypertrophy, urinary retention, and glaucoma, especially angle-closure glaucoma (the most severe form). Before starting treatment, people with these conditions should discuss the relative risks and benefits of treatment with their doctors to help determine if trimipramine is the right antidepressant for them.

A common problem with tricyclic antidepressants is sedation (drowsiness, lack of physical and mental alertness). This side effect is especially noticeable early in therapy. In most patients, sedation decreases or disappears entirely with time, but until then patients taking trimipramine should not perform hazardous activities requiring mental alertness or coordination. The sedative effect is increased when trimipramine is taken with other central nervous system depressants, such as alcoholic beverages, sleeping medications, other sedatives, or antihistamines. It may be dangerous to take trimipramine in combination with these substances. Trimipramine may increase the possibility of having seizures . Patients should tell their physician if they have a history of seizures, including seizures brought on by the abuse of drugs or alcohol. These people should use trimipramine only with caution and be closely monitored by their physician.

Trimipramine may increase heart rate and stress on the heart. It may be dangerous for people with cardiovascular disease, especially those who have recently had a heart attack, to take this drug or other antidepressants in the same pharmacological class. In rare cases where patients with cardiovascular disease must receive trimipramine, they should be monitored closely for cardiac rhythm disturbances and signs of cardiac stress or damage.

Side effects

Trimipramine shares side effects common to all tricyclic antidepressants. There is a warning that accompanies patient information about antidepres-sants such as trimipramine. It states that some studies have shown that children and teenagers who take antidepressants such as trimipramine may have an increased likelihood of thinking about self-harm, killing themselves, or suicide attempt. The warning states that children under the age of 18 should not normally take this drug. If a child is prescribed the drug, the parent or caregiver should closely monitor the child because serious symptoms can develop suddenly. Any signs that a child is considering self-harm or suicide warrants an immediate call to the doctor. These signs might include worsening depression, panic attacks, difficulty falling asleep, irritability, planning to engage in self-harm or to attempt suicide, or abnormal excitement. A guide for patients detailing this and related information is available on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Web site at http://www.fda.gov/cder/drug/antidepressants/MG_template.pdf

Of the other side effects, the most frequent are dry mouth, constipation, urinary retention, increased heart rate, sedation, irritability, dizziness, and decreased coordination. As with most side effects associated with tricyclic antidepressants, the intensity is highest at the beginning of therapy and tends to decrease with continued use.

Dry mouth, if severe to the point of causing difficulty speaking or swallowing, may be managed by dosage reduction or temporary discontinuation of the drug. Patients may also chew sugarless gum or suck sugarless candy to increase the flow of saliva. Some artificial saliva products may give temporary relief.

Men with prostate enlargement who take trimipramine may be especially likely to have problems with urinary retention. Symptoms include having difficulty starting a urine flow and more difficulty than usual passing urine. In most cases, urinary retention is managed with dose reduction or by switching to another type of antidepressant. In extreme cases, patients may require treatment with bethanechol, a drug that reverses this particular side effect. People who think they may be experiencing any side effects from this or any other medication should tell their physicians.

Interactions

Dangerously high blood pressure has resulted from the combination of tricyclic antidepressants, such as trimipramine, and members of another class of antidepressants known as monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors. Because of this, trimipramine should never be taken in combination with MAO inhibitors. Patients taking any MAO inhibitors, for example Nardil (phenelzine sulfate) or Parnate (tranylcypromine sulfate), should stop the MAO inhibitor, then wait at least 14 days before starting trimipramine or any other tricyclic antidepressant. The same holds true when discontinuing trimipramine and starting an MAO inhibitor.

KEY TERMS

Acetylcholine —A naturally occurring chemical in the body that transmits nerve impulses from cell to cell. Generally, it has opposite effects from dopamine and norepinephrine; it causes blood vessels to dilate, lowers blood pressure, and slows the heartbeat. Central nervous system well-being is dependent on a balance among acetylcholine, dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine.

Anticholinergic —Related to the ability of a drug to block the nervous system chemical acetylcholine. When acetylcholine is blocked, patients often experience dry mouth and skin, increased heart rate, blurred vision, and difficulty urinating. In severe cases, blocking acetylcholine may cloud thinking and cause delirium.

Benign prostate hypertrophy —Enlargement of the prostate gland.

Norepinephrine —A neurotransmitter in the brain that acts to constrict blood vessels and raise blood pressure. It works in combination with serotonin.

Serotonin —A widely distributed neurotransmitter that is found in blood platelets, the lining of the digestive tract, and the brain, and that works in combination with norepinephrine. It causes very powerful contractions of smooth muscle, and is associated with mood, attention, emotions, and sleep. Low levels of serotonin are associated with depression.

Trimipramine may decrease the blood pressure-lowering effects of clonidine . Patients who take both drugs should be monitored for loss of blood pressure control and the dose of clonidine increased as needed.

The sedative effects of trimipramine are increased by other central nervous system depressants such as alcohol, sedatives, sleeping medications, or medications used for other mental disorders such as schizophrenia . The anticholinergic effects of trimipramine are additive with other anticholinergic drugs such as benztropine, biperiden, trihexyphenidyl, and antihistamines.

See alsoNeurotransmitters.

Resources

BOOKS

DeVane, C. Lindsay, Pharm.D. “Drug Therapy for Mood Disorders.” Fundamentals of Monitoring Psychoactive Drug Therapy. Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins, 1990.

ORGANIZATIONS

American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. AHFS Drug Information 2002. Bethesda: American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, 2002.

United States Food and Drug Administration. “Class Suicidality Labeling Language for Antidepressants.” http://www.fda.gov/cder/foi/label/2005/16792s024lbl.pdf

National Library of Medicine. National Institutes of Health. “Antidepressants, Systemic.” http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/uspdi/202055.html

Jack Raber, Pharm.D.
Emily Jane Willingham, PhD

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"Trimipramine." The Gale Encyclopedia of Mental Health. . Encyclopedia.com. 11 Dec. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Trimipramine." The Gale Encyclopedia of Mental Health. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 11, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/medicine/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/trimipramine

"Trimipramine." The Gale Encyclopedia of Mental Health. . Retrieved December 11, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/medicine/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/trimipramine

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Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

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Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.