Tricyclic Antidepressants Drug Facts

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Patients who are suffering from depression and anxiety are familiar with tricyclic antidepressants. Also known as cyclic antidepressants or TCA, it is a class of antidepressant medications that the physician may prescribe to people suffering from depression and resistant to other depression-related drugs. Some people feel that it is difficult to tolerate, and hence these drugs are not used mainly by physicians as the first line of medication for the patients.

Table Of Contents:

How does TCA work?

TCA helps balance serotonin and norepinephrine levels in your brain and keeps you away from depression and anxiety. Your body naturally produces them. You can elevate and balance your mood by taking TCA as per doctor’s prescriptions. In addition, some of the TCA medications are used for other off-label uses. Lower doses of TCA are used to treat migraines and chronic headaches, and other injuries and pain.

They have their effects also.

  1. They affect the automatic muscle movements for specific functions like respiration and digestion.
  2. They also block histamine throughout the body, leading to some severe side effects like drowsiness, dry mouth, blurred vision, etc.

TCA Drugs

Some of the notable TCA drugs include

  • Amitriptyline
  • Amoxapine
  • Desipramine (Norpramin)
  • Doxepin
  • Imipramine (Tofranil)
  • Maprotiline
  • Nortriptyline (Pamelor)
  • Protriptyline (Vivactil)
  • Trimipramine (Surmontil)

Side Effects of TCA

  • Dryness in the mouth
  • Blurred vision and dry eyes
  • Rough skin
  • Feeling of dizziness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Mild to severe headache
  • Lack of orientation
  • seizures
  • Diarrhea
  • Urinary infection and retention
  • Lack of sexual desire
  • Drop in blood pressure
  • Increase in weight

TCA with Other Drugs

TCA, when taken with alcohol, can create sedative effects. This is because alcohol suppresses the effect of TCA on the brain receptors, hence making it less reactive.

TCA with epinephrine can increase your blood pressure and heart rate leading to serious cardiovascular impairments like Myocardial infarction, stroke, or cardiac arrest.

TCA can have more severe effects when combined with other illegal drugs.


There is no such treatment for TCA overdose. Detoxification can reduce the effect of the withdrawal symptoms. If the abuse is intense, your doctor might recommend you inpatient treatment.


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