How safe are tricyclic antidepressants for people with dementia?

Sarah N. Mourra, MD
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.

Continue Learning about Antidepressant

Are Antidepressants Safe to Take During Pregnancy?
Are Antidepressants Safe to Take During Pregnancy?
Research suggests that depression is diagnosed twice as often in women as it is in men, and it typically presents during a woman’s childbearing years....
Read More
What are the side effects of amitriptyline?
Donna Hill Howes, RNDonna Hill Howes, RN
Side effects may include drowsiness, agitation, dry mouth, blurred vision, urinary problems, constip...
More Answers
How common is taking antidepressants?
Anthony CirilloAnthony Cirillo
Duke University and the University of Arizona periodically conduct a survey on friendship. In their ...
More Answers
What Is Treatment-Resistant Depression?
What Is Treatment-Resistant Depression?

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.