What should I know about Pamelor before taking it?

Before taking Pamelor (nortriptyline), you should know what the drug is, why it is being prescribed to you and what to expect from taking it. Pamelor is prescribed to treat depression in adults. It belongs to a class of drugs called tricyclic antidepressants, which are thought to work by balancing the levels of certain brain chemicals, called neurotransmitters.

Doctors may prescribe Pamelor "off label" to treat panic disorder or the pain that can linger after a bout of shingles. Pamelor may also help some people quit smoking. Pamelor has not been shown to be safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women, or for children, although doctors may occasionally prescribe it to them if other drugs have failed and/or if the benefits of taking Pamelor appear to outweigh the risks.

Pamelor can cause side effects, most commonly dry mouth, constipation, trouble urinating, sexual problems, temporarily blurred vision, and drowsiness. These side effects are usually mild and improve as treatment with the medication continues or if the dose is reduced. In a very small percentage of people, Pamelor (like other antidepressants) may increase suicidal thoughts and even attempts. This is more likely in people under age 25. Your doctor may monitor you closely for changes in mood and behavior, especially when you start taking Pamelor.

In order to minimize Pamelor's side effects, your doctor will probably start you on a low dose of the drug and gradually increase the dose over several weeks. It may take a month or more before you notice improvements in your symptoms. Once your symptoms do improve, your doctor may slowly reduce your dose until you arrive at a maintenance dose that minimizes your symptoms with the fewest possible side effects.

People with certain medical conditions or who take certain medications may not be good candidates for treatment with Pamelor. Be sure to give your doctor a detailed medical history and a list of all your medications (prescription and over-the-counter) and supplements.

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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.