Depression and other mood disorders can be addressed in patients through exercise, therapy and/or prescriptions. Antidepressants designed to treat these disorders are divided into groups which take different routes to help relieve depression. The differing antidepressant prescription groups are: 1. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) 2. Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) 3. Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) 4. Tricyclic antidepressants Tofranil (imipramine) is an antidepressant medication in the tricyclic group.

What Is Tofranil (Imipramine)?

Tofranil, the brand name for the generic prescription medication imipramine, is part of a group called tricyclic antidepressants. Not only is it used to treat depression, but doctors may also prescribe it to treat nighttime bed-wetting (functional enuresis) in children, panic disorders, ADHD and eating disorders.

Doctors may couple imipramine with a medication to treat mania in order to help patients with bipolar disorder.

Tricyclic antidepressants have a three-ringed chemical structure. They work by balancing the neurochemicals in the brain, thereby treating the underlying condition. Since mood disorder is caused by imipramine changing the chemistry in the brain, the tricyclic also affects other chemicals, which is why it can be effective in treating a child’s bedwetting problem.

The prescription is recommended for patients over 16 years old and, like other medications, has risks of side effects. In cases of bedwetting, doctors may prescribe a very low dose over the course of no more than three months for children over 6 years old. The minimum dosage for Tofranil is 25mg and the highest is 200mg for those who are not hospitalized. Hospitals may increase the dosage to 300mg in patients over 16 during inpatient treatment.

The most common side effects from imipramine are:

  1. dry mouth
  2. blurred vision
  3. headache
  4. increased depression
  5. drowsiness
  6. dizziness
  7. constipation
  8. nausea
  9. vomiting
  10. heart palpitations
  11. loss of appetite
  12. diarrhea
  13. stomach cramps
  14. blood sugar changes
  15. weight gain/loss
  16. increased sweating

If you experience any side effects at all, including undesired changes in mood or body temperature, it is important to consult with your doctor. It’s inadvisable to suddenly stop taking the medication, but it is okay to slowly lower the dosage under medical supervision.

Tofranil (imipramine) is a prescription which builds up in your system, so it may take three or four weeks to reach the desired results for the medication. Work with your doctor to make sure this is the right medication for you.

Tofranil (Imipramine) Addiction

While Tofranil is not considered to be a catalyst for the psychological disease of addiction, it can be used to treat depression and anxiety caused by the misuse of benzodiazepines.

If you have been on Tofranil for over a month and decide you want or need to stop taking it, there may be uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms for you and your doctor to look out for and monitor. These side effects may include lack of coordination, excessive crying, depersonalization, flu-like symptoms, hyperactivity, and insomnia.

Tofranil (Imipramine) Long-Term Effects

A study performed in 2002 showed tachycardia, dry mouth, weight gain and sweating to be potential lasting effects after long-term, continuous use of imipramine. In panic disorders, despite the long-term side effects, patients’ use of this prescription over the long-term showed signs of permanent relief from panic.

If you or a loved one are struggling to overcome substance use disorder, you are not alone. The highly trained team at The Recovery Village is always available to answer questions and provide guidance to help you on the road to recovery.

Medical Disclaimer

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.