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How can nortriptyline help me quit smoking?

Like the antidepressant bupropion, nortriptyline (name brands: Aventyl, Pamelor) doubles your chances of quitting. However, many people -- 78% -- who take it experience side effects, especially dry mouth and sleepiness. Still, if other quit-smoking drugs haven't worked for you, it may be worth a try. In one study, nortriptyline and NRT helped 23% of smokers stop, though exactly how it works isn't clear.

Nortriptyline is an older anti-depressant drug. When used in groups of smokers, it has been found to double their chances of success in quitting smoking. It is started 10 to 28 days before you stop smoking to allow it to reach a stable level in the body.
Some people have side effects like fast heart rate, blurred vision, trouble urinating, dry mouth, constipation, weight gain or loss, and low blood pressure when they stand up. The drug can impair your ability to drive or operate machinery, and there are certain drugs that cannot be used along with it.
Be sure your doctor and pharmacist know exactly what you are taking before you start this medicine. Also be sure you know how to take it and how to taper it down when you are ready to stop. The dose of nortriptyline must be slowly lowered, since the drug cannot be stopped suddenly without the possibility of serious effects. The drug must be used with caution in people with heart disease.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.