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Imipramine (By mouth)

Imipramine (im-IP-ra-meen)

Treats depression. May also be used to treat bedwetting in children. This medicine is a tricyclic antidepressant.

Brand Name(s):

Tofranil, Tofranil-PM

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to imipramine or to related medicines such as amitriptyline (Elavil®), carbamazepine (Tegretol®), maprotiline (Ludiomil®), or nortriptyline (Aventyl®). You should not use this medicine if you have had a recent heart attack or have taken an MAO inhibitor such as isocarboxazid (Marplan®), phenelzine (Nardil®), selegiline (Eldepryl®), or tranylcypromine (Parnate®) in the past 14 days.

How to Use This Medicine:

Capsule, Tablet

  • Take your medicine as directed. Your dose may need to be changed several times to find what works best for you.
  • You may take this medicine with or without food.
  • Do not crush or chew the capsules. You may open the capsules and mix the medicine beads with soft food (pudding or applesauce). Swallow the mixture without chewing.
  • If you are taking this drug for depression, it may take 2 to 3 weeks before you start to feel better.
  • This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Ask your pharmacist for a copy if you do not have one.

If a dose is missed:

  • Take a dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then and take a regular dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.
  • If you take one dose a day at bedtime, you should not use the missed dose the next morning. Wait until your next regular bedtime dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine:

  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are using atropine, benztropine (Cogentin®), cimetidine (Tagamet®), guanethidine (Ismelin®), methylphenidate (Ritalin®), scopolamine, medicine for high blood pressure (such as clonidine or Catapres®), certain medicine for heart rhythm problems (such as quinidine, flecainide, propafenone, Quinaglute®, Tambocor®, or Rythmol®), medicine to treat seizures (such as phenobarbital, phenytoin, or Dilantin®), a phenothiazine medicine (such as chlorpromazine, perphenazine, prochlorperazine, promethazine, thioridazine, Compazine®, Mellaril®, Phenergan®, Thorazine®, or Trilafon®), or other medicines to treat depression (such as fluoxetine, paroxetine, sertraline, Paxil®, Prozac®, or Zoloft®).
  • Tell your doctor if you drink alcohol or if you are using any medicine that makes you sleepy, such as allergy medicine or narcotic pain medicine.
  • Do not drink alcohol while you are using this medicine.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding. Tell your doctor if you have glaucoma, trouble urinating, mental problems, stomach problems, seizures, heart disease, liver disease, kidney disease, or thyroid disease.
  • For some children, teenagers, and young adults, this medicine can increase thoughts of suicide. Tell your doctor or your child's doctor right away if you or your child start to feel more depressed and have thoughts about hurting yourselves. Report any unusual thoughts or behaviors that trouble you or your child, especially if they are new or are getting worse quickly. Make sure the doctor knows if you or your child have trouble sleeping, get upset easily, have a big increase in energy, or start to act reckless. Also tell the doctor if you or your child have sudden or strong feelings, such as feeling nervous, angry, restless, violent, or scared. Let the doctor know if you, your child, or anyone in your family has bipolar disorder (manic-depressive) or has tried to commit suicide.
  • Do not give this medicine to a child unless directed to do so by the child's doctor.
  • This medicine may raise or lower your blood sugar level.
  • Tell any doctor or dentist who treats you that you are using this medicine. You may need to stop using this medicine several days before you have surgery or medical tests.
  • Do not stop using this medicine suddenly. Your doctor will need to slowly decrease your dose before you stop it completely.
  • This medicine may make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. Wear sunscreen. Do not use sunlamps or tanning beds.
  • This medicine may cause dizziness and vision changes. Avoid driving, using machines, or doing anything else that could be dangerous if you are not alert or able to see well.
  • Your doctor will check your progress and the effects of this medicine at regular visits. Keep all appointments.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Anxiety, restlessness, nervousness, or mood or mental changes.
  • Change in how much or how often you urinate, or problems with urination.
  • Changes in behavior, or thoughts of hurting yourself or others.
  • Chest pain, shortness of breath, cold sweats, and bluish-colored skin.
  • Fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat.
  • Lightheadedness or fainting when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position.
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet.
  • Numbness or weakness in your arm or leg, or on one side of your body.
  • Seizures or tremors.
  • Sudden or severe headache, problems with vision, speech, balance, or walking.
  • Swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet.
  • Trouble sleeping.
  • Twitching or muscle movements you cannot control.
  • Unexplained fever or sore throat.
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising.
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness.
  • Yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes.

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Breast swelling or discharge.
  • Changes in vision.
  • Changes in weight.
  • Dizziness or drowsiness.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, or upset stomach.
  • Problems having sex.
  • Ringing in the ears.
  • Skin rash or itching.
  • Swelling of the breast or testicles in men.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088


Last Updated: 7/4/2014


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