Which medications in the drug class Tricyclic Antidepressants are used in the treatment of Dysthymic Disorder?

Updated: Oct 01, 2019
  • Author: Jerry L Halverson, MD; Chief Editor: David Bienenfeld, MD  more...
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Tricyclic Antidepressants

The tricyclics are the prototypical antidepressants. Their anticholinergic (dry mouth) and antihistaminic (sedating) effects make noncompliance more of a problem than with the newer drugs. This is particularly a problem when the depressive symptoms are relatively mild. However, their very broad-based actions on a variety of neurotransmitters make them effective on occasions when SSRIs fail. Adverse effects with the so-called second-generation drugs generally are less of a problem.

Nortriptyline (Pamelor)

Nortriptyline has demonstrated effectiveness in the treatment of chronic pain. By inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin and/or norepinephrine by the presynaptic neuronal membrane, this drug increases the synaptic concentration of these neurotransmitters in the CNS. Pharmacodynamic effects such as the desensitization of adenyl cyclase and down-regulation of beta-adrenergic receptors and serotonin receptors also appear to play a role in its mechanisms of action.

Desipramine HCl (Norpramin)

Desipramine HCL may increase the synaptic concentration of norepinephrine in the CNS by inhibiting reuptake of norepinephrine by the presynaptic neuronal membrane. It may have effects in the desensitization of adenyl cyclase, down-regulation of beta-adrenergic receptors, and down-regulation of serotonin receptors.

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