Effects of Desipramine during pregnancy and breastfeeding

There is inadequate information about possible complications of using Desipramine during pregnancy. While some studies say that the risks to foetus are quite low whereas there a couple of reports saying that withdrawal effects are seen in new born babies who were exposed to Desipramine during pregnancy. These withdrawal effects include fast heart beat, weight loss, blue skin and sweating. Make sure you talk to your doctor to know the risks of using Desipramine during pregnancy.

Desipramine and Pregnancy

Taking Desipramine hydrochloride during pregnancy is not safe. Most doctors recommend new antidepressants instead of using Desipramine. Health care providers often recommend Desipramine during pregnancy if they feel the benefits are higher than the risk associated with the use of Desipramine. Health experts also claim that not treating depression in pregnant women is more harmful to the unborn baby than using Desipramine.

If you are already using Desipramine and you get pregnant, make sure you tell your doctor that you are pregnant so that your doctor can determine the possible benefits and risks of Desipramine to be used during pregnancy.

Desipramine and Breastfeeding

Desipramine secrets in breast milk in low amounts. Due to some effects that Desipramine may have on a breastfeeding baby, you should check with your doctor before using Desipramine while breastfeeding.
As far as it is concerned whether use of Desipramine is safe during breastfeeding, there are very less evidences available to show if Desipramine is secreted in breast milk or whether it leads to any complications in a breastfeeding baby.

It is better to discuss with your doctor as every case is different and based on your current health status, your doctor can judge whether you should continue taking Desipramine or not. Since there are no studies available, some people prefer to avoid use of Desipramine during breastfeeding and look out for alternative treatment to manage depression. You can speak to your doctor if he can suggest you an alternative treatment or medication that can help you control depression without causing harm to your baby.

Sometimes it becomes necessary to take Desipramine as it helps treating depression, anxiety, OCD, Chronic pain, eating disorders, panic attacks, migraine etc., in such situations you can speak to your doctor to advise you the right dosage of Desipramine.

Pregnant women and breastfeeding mother often face depression and to manage depression they need medicines like Desipramine, but make sure you do not use it in high doses or for a prolonged period. Since you don’t know how it is going to affect your baby, consult your doctor before you start using it during pregnancy or breastfeeding. If you notice any unusual symptoms in your baby’s health, talk to your doctor immediately.

Using antidepressant is not recommended during breastfeeding or pregnancy until and unless the benefits of the drug are higher than the risk to ensure the safety of mother and baby. Your doctor can examine you and suggest you if you can use Desipramine during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

Desipramine drug interactions that you must know about

Desipramine can interact with many other drugs. Knowing about the drug interactions can help you identify the possible side effects and seek medical help immediately. Some of the drugs that interact with Desipramine are

  • Amiodarone
  • pimozide
  • quinine
  • phenylephrine
  • sotalol
  • erythromycin
  • domperidone
  • ziprasidone
  • methadone
  • clarithromycin
  • butyrophenones
  • barbiturates
  • St. John’s Wort

If Desipramine hydrochloride is used with other psychotropic agents like sedatives, tranquilizers, hynotics, extra caution should be taken as sedative effects of this medication and benzodiazepines are highly additive. Both the anticholinergic and sedative effects of main tranquilizers are also additive same as those of Desipramine.

Do not use Desipramine with alcohol as it can be dangerous. Avoid exposure to tanning beds or sunlight. Taking Desipramine with other medications can make you drowsy. Check with your doctor before using Desipramine with narcotic medicine for pain, sleeping pills, and muscle relaxer, medicine for seizures or depression.

Before using Desipramine, inform your doctor if you have taken an SSRI antidepressant in last 5 weeks like fluoxetine, citalopram, fluvoxamine, escitalopram, sertraline or paroxetine.

Desipramine and Zolpidem

Taking Desipramine and Zolpidem together can increase dizziness, confusion, drowsiness and difficulty in concentrating. Some people especially senior citizens may notice impairment in motor coordination, judgement and thinking. You should not consume alcohol and do not perform activities that need you to be awake and alert. Discuss with your doctor if you are using any other medications like dietary supplement, vitamins or herbal preparations. Do not discontinue any medication before discussing with your doctor.

Desipramine and Duloxetine

Taking Desipramine and Duloxetine together can enhance the risk of rare but very serious condition known as serotonin syndrome, which includes symptoms like

  1. seizure
  2. confusion
  3. hallucination
  4. excessive sweating
  5. fever
  6. increased heart rate
  7. tremor
  8. muscle spasms
  9. muscle stiffness
  10. stomach cramp
  11. vomiting
  12. nausea
  13. in coordination
  14. shivering
  15. blurred vision

Seek medical help immediately if you notice these symptoms while you are using the medications. Your doctor might know about the risk factors already and he can guide you on how to prevent these symptoms or related complications.

Desipramine and Citalopram

Taking Desipramine and Citalopram together can enhance the risk of rare but very serious condition known as serotonin syndrome, which includes symptoms like seizure, fever, excessive sweating,     blurred vision, muscle spasms , muscle cramps, stomach cramp, vomiting nausea etc., Severe cases even result in death or coma. If you notice these symptoms during the treatment, call your doctor immediately. Also combination of these medications can result in increased heart rhythm that can be severe and life threatening, although this is a rare side effect. You can be susceptible to heart ailments like cardiac diseases, QT syndrome, electrolyte disturbances, and conduction abnormalities. Discuss with your doctor if you have any questions or doubts. You should immediately call your health care provider if you notice symptoms like fainting, sudden dizziness, heart palpitations and breathlessness during the treatment.

Desipramine dosage information for depression and other conditions

The Desipramine dosage, drug form and the dosage frequency entirely depends on the following factors

  • your age
  • the medical condition which is treated
  • how severe the medical condition is
  • other medical conditions
  • Your response to the initial dose

Desipramine Dosage information for depression

Normal dose for Adults

100-200mg to be taken orally on a daily basis

Maximum dose: 300 mg to be taken orally on a daily basis

Note: The dosage should be started with lowest possible dose and increased gradually based on patient’s tolerance and clinical response. In patients who suffer from severe illness, the dosage can be increased to 300mg/per day if required.

Patient who require 300mg dose should be treated initially in hospitals.

Normal Dose for depression- Geriatric Dose

25-100mg to be taken orally on a daily basis

Maximum dose: 150mg to be taken orally on a daily basis

Note: The dose should be increased gradually based on patient’s tolerance and clinical response.

Child dosage between age group 13-17 years- Depression

Normal dosage

25-100mg/day in split doses or in a single dose

Maintenance therapy

After the depression in your child improves, if they need treatment for a long term, the lowest possible dose should be taken. Once you get on maintenance dose, the daily dose prescribed can be taken once in a day.

Maximum dosage

The doctor may increase the dose gradually for your child to 100mg /day at home or to 150mg if your child is hospitalized.

Dosage for Senior citizens (65 years and above)

Normal dose

25-100mg/day in split doses or in a single dose

Maintenance therapy

After you see improvement in your depression and you need a treatment for a long term, the lowest possible dosages should be taken. Once you get on maintenance dose, the daily dose prescribed can be taken once in a day.

Desipramine- Over dosage and treatment

Desipramine over dosage can even lead to death. The death rate is higher in over dose of Desipramine as compared to other tricyclic antidepressants. Multiple drug intakes contribute to Desipramine overdose. In case of overdose the doctor’s are recommended to call poison control centre to seek information regarding treatment. Immediate hospitalization is required as the symptoms and signs of toxicity develop faster. There is no particular antidote for Desipramine over dosage.

Critical demonstrations of overdose include

  • convulsions
  • severe hypotension
  • cardiac dysrhythmias
  • CNS depression (coma in some cases)

Hostile supportive care as well as serum alkalinisation is the backbone of therapy.

ECG should be obtained and cardiac monitoring should be started immediately. Secure patient’s airway and start with gastric contamination.

Activated charcoal can be used to treat patients who reach early, post an overdose.

Over dose need immediate medical attention and patient should be hospitalized immediately so that he gets proper treatment. Timely treatment can help flush out the toxin out of the body and can prevent life threatening problems. It becomes difficult to save a patient’s life if the drug ingestion is detected after long hours.

Desipramine can treat depression and other conditions

Desipramine is used to treat depression and various other conditions. The generic name is Desipramine and brand name is Norpramin. It is a common tricyclic antidepressant, which enhances the activity of certain chemicals in brain which helps boost your mood.

Some important Information

Avoid using Desipramine if

  • You are allergic to any of the ingredient present in Desipramine.
  • You are regaining health after an heart attack
  • You are using or have used MAOI or Linezolid in past 14 days.

Get in touch with your health care provider if any of the above is applicable to you

Some medical conditions can interact with Desipramine. Discuss with your physician if you have following medical conditions like

  • If you are using any prescription/non prescription  medication, dietary supplement or herbal preparation
  • If you are pregnant or planning to conceive or a nursing mother.
  • If you have history of alcohol addiction or you consume alcohol
  • If you have a family history of irregular heartbeat or sudden death
  • If you suffer from serious allergic reactions like breathing problems, severe rash, dizziness, hives to any other tricyclic medicine.
  • If you have history of liver or kidney disease, enlarged prostate, glaucoma, problems urinating, heart problems, mood or mental problems, suicidal tendencies or thoughts, seizures, thyroid problems or a blood disease.
  • If you are about to undergo a surgery or an electroshock therapy
  • If you are using a medicine containing methylene blue or thyroid medicine.

Before you use Desipramine, read the label for instructions carefully. Take Desipramine orally without food or with food. If you are shifting from fluoxetine to Desipramine, you may have to stop taking fluoxetine for at least 5 weeks before you start using Desipramine. Check with your doctor in case you have any questions.

You can reduce daytime drowsiness by taking Desipramine at bedtime. You can speak to your health care provider to check if this is possible. If you miss a dose of Desipramine, take the missed dose as soon as possible and if you think it is the time for your next dose, then skip the dose you missed and get back to your normal dosing schedule. Avoid taking 2 doses at one time.

Speak to your doctor to know the right way to use Desipramine.

Is Desipramine addictive?      

If you are on a regular dose of Desipramine for a long term, do not stop taking Desipramine suddenly as it can lead to withdrawal symptoms. Though not addictive, using Desipramine when stopped suddenly can cause malaise, headache, and nausea. So before you decide on stopping the medicine speak to your doctor so that he can help you reduce the dose gradually and help you stop taking drug over a period of weeks/months safely.

The withdrawal symptoms can be bothersome and to avoid these withdrawal symptoms do not stop the medication suddenly. Desipramine can help treat depression if used the right way as per your doctor’s prescription and guidance. For any doubts, consult your physician.

Call your doctor immediately to treat Desipramine side effects

Depression results in disturbed life and to fight depression, you often think of using antidepressants as they give you desired results. Along with expected results you tend to get many side effects that you are not aware of and might treat ignore those side effects. These side effects can be mild to severe and for long lasting side effects you need medical treatment. Let us learn about Desipramine side effects that need immediate medical attention.

Major side effects – Desipramine

You should contact your doctor immediately in case you notice any of these side effects

Occurrence not known

  • tarry and black stools
  • anxiety
  • stomach and abdominal pain
  • chest discomfort or pain
  • double or blurred vision
  • convulsions
  • dark urine
  • hoarseness or cough
  • confusion about time, place or identity
  • fainting
  • dry mouth
  • speech problem
  • appetite loss
  • loss of control over bladder
  • nightmares
  • nausea
  • difficult or painful urination
  • rash
  • restlessness
  • slow speech
  • fever or sore throat
  • unsteady walk or shakiness
  • swelling
  • sweating
  • trouble sleeping
  • unusual bruising or bleeding
  • unusual weakness or tiredness
  • vomiting
  • pounding, racing, irregular or fast pulse or heartbeat
  • irritability
  • muscle spasms
  • inability to move facial, arms or leg muscles
  • faintness, light-headedness, dizziness when rising suddenly from a sitting or lying position
  • yellow skin or eyes


Minor side effects- Desipramine

You don’t need to worry about some minor side effects of Desipramine as they don’t need medical attention and go away with time. As your body gets used to the medication, these side effects disappear with time. If the side effects continue to last for a longer period, you need to seek medical help immediately.

Occurrence not known

  • decreased urination
  • bloating
  • stomach or abdominal cramps
  • constipation
  • dribbling
  • hair thinning or hair loss
  • erection problems
  • painful urination
  • inflammation or swelling of mouth
  • loss in sexual drive, desire, ability or performance
  • breast soreness or swelling of breast in both males and females
  • sensitivity to light
  • decreased interest in sex(intercourse)
  • increased interest in sex(intercourse)
  • excess or unexpected flow of milk from breasts in females

Symptoms of Desipramine overdose

  • dry mouth
  • hallucination
  • coma
  • convulsions
  • irregular or rapid heartbeat
  • stupor
  • shock
  • restlessness
  • vomiting
  • urinary hesitancy
  • coma
  • dilated pupils
  • drowsiness
  • uncoordinated movements
  • muscle rigidity

The above mentioned side effects need immediate treatments so if you notice the symptoms, contact your doctor immediately. In case of overdose, call poison control centre immediately so that the person can get appropriate treatment on time.

You can discuss with your doctor about related side effects of Desipramine so that you can monitor the symptoms and get immediate medical help. Do not ignore the side effects as they can be fatal too. Receiving medical treatment on time can save your life.

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