What Is Vivactil (Protriptyline)?

Protriptyline is the generic name for the antidepressant Vivactil (brand name). Vivactil is known as a tricyclic antidepressant and works to treat symptoms of depression and other mood disorders like anxiety. Tricyclic antidepressants block the reuptake of neurotransmitters that affect one’s mood – such as dopamine and serotonin – which are typically low in people with depression. Protriptyline helps treat symptoms of depression by blocking the absorption of these chemicals, regulating the normal balance and improving one’s mood. Vivactil is sometimes used to treat narcolepsy and attention deficit disorder (ADD) because the drug does not work as a sedative, unlike most tricyclic antidepressants.

Vivactil was approved by the FDA in 1967, though it is not commonly prescribed due to its severe side effects compared to other antidepressants. It is normally only prescribed after other antidepressants are found to be ineffective with a patient’s symptoms of depression.

How Is Vivactil (Protriptyline) Used?

Protriptyline is taken orally in a tablet form. A doctor will usually prescribe an adult with depression 10 mg to 15 mg per day to start to avoid the risk of side effects. It is important to follow all the instructions on the prescription label and to follow the instructions provided by a doctor.

Vivactil may take up to 4 weeks before it achieves desired affects, though it typically begins working within the first week. Do not exceed the dosage amount given by a healthcare provider.

Inform your doctor of any previously taken medications to avoid interactions with Vivactil.

Protriptyline can cause severe side effects due to its impact on neurotransmitters. If any severe side effects occur, get in touch with a doctor immediately. Common side effects include dry mouth, nausea, blurred vision, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and weakness. The more serious side effects of Vivactil are fainting, irregular heartbeat and chest pains, numbness, unable to keep balance, hallucinations, seizures, and painful urination problems. Protriptyline may cause worsened depressive symptoms, mood changes, increased suicidal thoughts, and insomnia.
If any severe side effects begin, get in touch with a doctor immediately.

Abruptly stopping protriptyline may increase the chances and severity of withdrawal symptoms. Always finish a Vivactil prescription. A doctor will decrease the prescribed dosage amount over time to avoid symptoms that arise upon discontinuance of use. Do not consume alcohol while taking Vivactil as it may lead to overdose.

Vivactil (Protriptyline) Addiction

Substance use disorder is not uncommon among tricyclic antidepressants such as protriptyline. Reoccurrence of use tends to happen because protriptyline does not produce immediate effects, ultimately leading to overuse. The energizing effects of Vivactil may leave one with cravings since it no longer prevents reuptake, allowing the brain to vacuum away the mood-altering chemicals. This often leads to overdose. Signs of overdose from Vivactil are hypothermia, disorientation, tremors, and sometimes strokes. It is best to monitor a person taking protriptyline.

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.