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How safe are tricyclic antidepressants for people with dementia?

Sarah N. Mourra, MD
Neurology
Tricyclic antidepressants are used as second-line medications for depression in people with dementia. Examples of tricyclic antidepressants include amitriptyline (Elavil) and nortriptyline (Aventyl). These are frequently used in people who have comorbid migraines or who may be having neuropathic pain. However, they are considered "dirtier" drugs in the sense that they are less specific in terms of the receptors that they target and can have more anticholinergic side effects, as well as a higher risk for cardiac arrhythmias.

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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.