Generic Name: Nortriptyline (nor-TRIP-ti-leen)

Drug Class: Antidepressant, Tricyclic


Drug Uses

This medication is a tricyclic antidepressant used for short-term treatment of various forms of depression. Your doctor may prescribe this medicine for other conditions as well.

General Information

This information is for educational purposes only. Not every known side effect, adverse effect, or drug interaction is in this database. If you have questions about your medicines, talk to your health care provider.

How it Works

This medication works by increasing the levels of serotonin in the brain, a chemical that affects one’s mood. It may take 3 o 4 weeks to reach the desired effect.

How to Take It

Take this medicine as directed. It can be taken with or without food. Do not stop taking this medicine abruptly without consulting with your doctor.

Possible Side Effects

    • Some common side effects reported with this medicine include:
      • drowsiness or dizziness
      • dry mouth
      • constipation
      • nausea
      • blurred vision
      • nervousness
      • weight gain
      • headache


    • This medicine should NOT be used by those having take MAO inhibitors in the last two weeks, by those with narrow angle glaucoma, or by those with cardiac rhythm problems.

    • Do NOT discontinue this medicine abruptly.

    • Elderly patients generally should avoid it because of an increase in dizziness and falls.

    • This medicine may cause dizziness or drowsiness. Alcoholic beverages can increase the side effects of this medicine and should be avoided.


    • Seek medical attention immediately. For non emergencies, contact your local or regional poison control center.

Drug Interactions

    • Possible drug interactions may occur with phenobarbital causing a decrease in the effect of the medications. Severe blood pressure problems and seizure can occur with taken with MAO inhibitors.

    • Talk with your physician or pharmacist if you are taking other medications.

Missed Dose

Take your next dose as soon as you remember. If it is time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular schedule. Do not double doses.


Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed.


For women, it should be avoided during pregnancy and lactation. As with other medications, if you suspect that you may be pregnant, talk to you physician or pharmacist before using this medication.

More Information

This medicine may cause depletion of Coenzyme Q10 and vitamin B2. Talk to your doctor about adding these supplements to your diet.

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 19 May 2015
    Published on All rights reserved.