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What is Doxepin?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 13 June 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2019
    Conjecture Corporation
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Doxepin is a drug used in the treatment of depression, anxiety, and insomnia. It is known by brand names like Xepin, Deptran, and Sinequan. This medication may also be used in the management of withdrawal from drugs, with the use of other medications, and in the treatment of itching, in the form of a topical cream. It is a tricylic antidepressant, altering the brain chemistry with the goal of addressing mental health problems caused by imbalances in the neurotransmitters.

This medication comes with a number of risks that need to be considered during the prescription process. As with other antidepressant drugs, there is a concern about patients with suicidal ideation while taking this medication, and such patients must be monitored closely. Doxepin has also been associated with cardiovascular complications, including irregular heartbeat and stroke, along with seizure activity in patients who have a history of convulsions. Patients must be carefully evaluated to see if they are good candidates for the drug.

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Common doxepin side effects can include nausea, constipation, fatigue, dry mouth, and tremors. Some patients experience acute allergic reactions, often involving the skin, and can develop liver and kidney problems while on the medication. Patients should report side effects to their doctors and in some cases may need to adjust the dosage or try a different medication. It is also important to taper the dosage of doxepin when going off the medication, if possible, to help prevent uncomfortable side effects like vomiting.

Use in children has not been approved, as the effects of doxepin on younger patients haven't been fully studied. It is also not advised for use in pregnant women, as the fetus can absorb some of the medication and may develop withdrawal symptoms after birth. Women in pregnancy who experience depression and anxiety do have treatment options available, but these must be chosen carefully to minimize the risks to the developing baby. Breastfeeding mothers should consult their doctors to get information about the kinds of medication safe for use during breastfeeding.

Doxepin is available in a variety of doses, by prescription only. Like other medications, it can interact negatively with other drugs a patient is taking. Doctors and pharmacists should be provided with a complete list of the drugs a patient is taking, including over-the-counter medicines and herbal remedies, to check for any potentially dangerous drug interactions. Filling prescriptions consistently and at the same pharmacy can help increase the chances of catching a drug conflict, as the pharmacist will be familiar with the patient's prescription history.

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