Which medications in the drug class Tricyclic Antidepressants are used in the treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

Updated: May 17, 2018
  • Author: William M Greenberg, MD; Chief Editor: David Bienenfeld, MD  more...
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Tricyclic Antidepressants

Tricyclic are a class of antidepressants that work by inhibiting the reuptake of norepinephrine or serotonin at presynaptic neurons.

Clomipramine (Anafranil)

Clomipramine is FDA approved to treat obsessions and compulsions in OCD. It is a dibenzazepine compound belonging to family of TCAs. It inhibits the membrane pump mechanism responsible for uptake of norepinephrine and serotonin in adrenergic and serotonergic neurons. Clomipramine affects serotonin uptake, while it affects norepinephrine uptake when converted into its metabolite desmethylclomipramine.


Desipramine is a TCA that has norepinephrine and serotonin reuptake-inhibition properties. It is not FDA approved for OCD; however, it has shown beneficial effects, especially when combined with SSRIs.

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