Nortriptyline - Uses - Dosages - Side Effects - Precautions

Nortriptyline: Frequently Asked Questions Answered

What is nortriptyline?

Nortriptyline belongs to a group of medicines called tricyclic antidepressants. It treats different mood disorders and neuropathic pain. The mechanism surges the amounts of certain neurotransmitters in the brain required for maintaining mental equilibrium.

Nortriptyline is available under the brand name Pamelor. You can consume it as a capsule or an oral liquid, generally 1–4 times a day with or without food. Doctors prescribe a low dosage and will gradually increase or decrease it to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

What are the uses of nortriptyline?

The main uses of nortriptyline lie in treating mental disorders like depression, anxiety, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and lowering panic attacks. It is also used to treat post-herpetic neuralgia – burning or throbbing pain that lasts for a few months or years after a shingles infection.

Doctors may also use it in combination with other drugs. Many treat muscle disorders, seizures, and anxiety or restlessness with this medicine. Few specialists prescribe nortriptyline to help quit smoking.

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What are the side effects of nortriptyline?

Consult a doctor first about the potential risks and handling precautions before using nortriptyline. Common side effects are:

  • Low or high blood pressure
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Confusion
  • Sleeping problems,nightmares or insomnia
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Skin issues, rashes, itches, sensitivity to light
  • Hives
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • Stomach cramps
  • Decreased libido
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Sweating
  • Headache

Seek immediate consultation for the following severe side effects:

  • Psychiatric problems – suicidal thoughts, heightened anxiety, panic attacks, disorientation, rapid speech, and signs of mania
  • Heart attack symptoms – chest pain, breathlessness, pressure in the upper body, stroke or slurred speech
  • Seizures
  • Increased eye pressure – eye pain, swelling and redness near eyes, vision changes


Frequently Asked Questions about Nortriptyline

1. Does nortriptyline help you sleep?

Yes. Apart from depression, nortriptyline is effective in improving sleep. Take a single tablet (25 mg) each night for one week an hour before bedtime. If there is no change in the pain at this low dosage, increase the intake by one tablet to a total of 50 mg at bedtime.

2. Can nortriptyline cause kidney problems?

No studies have indicated if nortriptyline causes kidney damage. However, this medication is not recommended for the age group of 18-60. If you have an existing history of liver or kidney damage, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and seizures, refrain from taking this drug. Consult your doctor regarding the correct dosage and possible alternatives.

3. How to stop taking nortriptyline?

You may experience severe withdrawal symptoms if you stop nortriptyline suddenly. Reduce the dosage gradually. Your doctor will taper it over weeks to months to prohibit painful side effects from occurring. For deteriorating mood symptoms such as suicidal thoughts, sleep troubles, serotonin syndrome, eye pain, or vision problems, seek immediate help.

4. Why avoid alcohol with nortriptyline?

Consuming alcohol with nortriptyline, especially during the initial stages of treatment, can trigger severe side effects or even cause death. It can result in drowsiness, memory issues, concentration troubles, and put you at risk of physical danger like falls and other accidents. It can also trigger agitation, aggression, anxiety, panic, and forgetfulness.

5. Can nortriptyline cause weight gain?

Yes. As per a study, antidepressants such as nortriptyline are associated with moderate weight gain. Few patients witnessed an increase of 1.3-2.9 lbs/month for 6 months, depending on their dosage and duration. This can also intervene with your ability to keep up with maintenance therapy in the long term.

6. Does nortriptyline cause hair loss?

Not all the side effects listed above in this article will occur. However, you may experience some rare side effects like hair thinning and hair loss temporarily as your body adjusts to the medication. Some antidepressants – like nortriptyline – can diminish your vitamin B and hemoglobin levels, which hampers hair growth.

7. Is nortriptyline used for anxiety?

Yes. Nortriptyline belongs to the family of tricyclic antidepressants. Its chief uses lie in treating and lowering symptoms of mental and mood disorders such as depression. Additionally, it may also enhance feelings of well-being and boost your energy levels, thus reducing anxiety and panic. It has a calming effect on the brain.

8. Is nortriptyline a muscle relaxer?

Yes. Nortriptyline is prescribed to relieve one from pain. As per a study, nortriptyline can effectively relax the vascular smooth muscles of precontracted arteries due to noradrenaline or KCl. Nortriptyline is an effective inhibitor of contractions resulting from the nervous system. However, overdose can lead to muscle tremors and stiffness.

9. Who should not take nortriptyline?

Avoid taking nortriptyline if you:

  • Have a recent history of heart attack
  • Have used MAO inhibitors in the past 14 days (isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue, moclobemide, phenelzine, procarbazine, rasagiline, safinamide, selegiline, and tranylcypromine)
  • Are below 18 years
  • Are breastfeeding, have had recent surgeries, or have allergies

Consult your doctor before proceeding to take nortriptyline.

10. Does nortriptyline affect memory?

Antidepressants can often temporarily cause memory troubles during the treatment. As per a study, many participants experienced delayed recognition, lower performance levels, inability to retrieve recently learned information, and poor recall. Discontinuation of the medication led to superior and enhanced memory for many individuals. Reach out to our team of experts at Yashoda Hospitals with your queries on dosage and precautions, side effects, and all uses of nortriptyline. We will be able to provide you with the most suitable treatment and assist you with all your medical needs.



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      Disclaimer: The information provided herein is accurate, updated and complete as per the best practices of the Company. Please note that this information should not be treated as a replacement for physical medical consultation or advice. We do not guarantee the accuracy and the completeness of the information so provided. The absence of any information and/or warning to any drug shall not be considered and assumed as an implied assurance of the Company. We do not take any responsibility for the consequences arising out of the aforementioned information and strongly recommend you for a physical consultation in case of any queries or doubts.