Desipramine, commonly sold under the brand name Norpramin, can stay in your system anywhere between 1.5 to 4 days. This length largely depends on genetics and the function of your liver — the organ that metabolizes the drug. The half-life of Norpramin is 7 to 65 hours, so half of the concentration in your body could be gone within as little as 7 hours. According to the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), around 70 percent of Norpramin is excreted through urine.
Norpramin belongs to a group of medications known as tricyclic antidepressants. Norpramin is used in the treatment of major depression, though it is also prescribed to alleviate panic attacks. This drug is typically taken orally via tablet and is commonly used in conjunction with therapy. Norpramin works by inhibiting the reuptake of neurotransmitters — such as norepinephrine and serotonin — in the brain. These chemicals have been linked to controlling mood, digestion, the immune system and sleep. By preventing the recycling of these chemicals in the brain, the body is forced to produce more, a process that is believed to help lighten a patient’s mood.
- Suicidal thoughts
- Dry mouth
- Blurred vision
- Loss of appetite
- Increased heart rate
- High blood pressure
- Sexual changes
The biggest danger of desipramine is its link to heightened suicidal thoughts. Considering this, the FDA has given the drug a black box warning, which alerts practitioners of the dangers of the drug. The likelihood of having suicidal thoughts while taking desipramine is the highest within the early months of treatment or whenever dosage increases. Suicidal thoughts are more prevalent in children and young adults who are taking Norpramin. Because of these dangers, people who are taking desipramine are advised to closely monitor their thoughts and behaviors, paying attention to abrupt changes in feelings or mood. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your doctor immediately.
Norpramin belongs in the same class of drugs as other tricyclic antidepressants, such as:
- Imipramine (Tofranil)
- Nortriptyline (Pamelor)
- Protriptyline (Vivactil)
- Trimipramine (Surmontil)
These antidepressants use different active ingredients to achieve similar results. They are not typically described as being habit forming, though a person can develop a dependency due to the way the drug affects serotonin levels in the body. People who stop taking Norpramin all at once typically experience high levels of withdrawals that can last a significant period.
Norpramin works by restraining the body’s ability to recycle certain neurotransmitters (specifically serotonin and norepinephrine), which forces the body to balance these chemicals in the brain. Serotonin is known to control excitement and inhibition in the brain and helps maintain digestion, sleep, immune system and mood. Norepinephrine, meanwhile, is known as a stimulating neurotransmitter and controls many of the same functions as serotonin. Blocking these two neurotransmitters helps alter moods and can create a sedative effect on the brain.
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The half-life of desipramine varies depending on the person, but it is usually in the range of 7 to 65 hours. This means that the drug is normally out of the body within four days, depending on a range of factors. At that point, the levels of desipramine in the body are much lower than is detectable by typical drug tests.
The two biggest factors that influence how long desipramine remains in the body are genetics and liver function. The liver metabolizes the drug, and a person with a high functioning liver should flush out most desipramine within one to two days. Smaller levels of desipramine can remain in the system for longer periods of time because the drug tends to attach itself to blood proteins. But like most antidepressants, Norpramin levels should steadily decrease over time.
Most Norpramin is excreted in urine from 7 to 65 hours after the last dose. The drug first gets absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract before entering the bloodstream. It reaches a peak concentration in the blood anywhere from four to six hours. Norpramin is metabolized in the liver before leaving the body via urine. This drug also binds itself to proteins and does not detach at a high rate. The specific time that Norpramin stays inside an individual’s system is determined mostly by genetics and/or liver function. The drug is typically gone from the system within four to five days.
The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.