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What is Nortriptyline?

Meshell Powell
Meshell Powell

Nortriptyline is a prescription medication that is often used to treat depression. This medication works by changing the chemical balance in the brain. Patients with certain medical conditions or patients who are taking certain medications should not use nortriptyline. For this reason, it is important that the patient give the doctor a complete and accurate medical history. Some potential side effects of using nortriptyline may include digestive disturbances, weight changes, or coordination issues.

Some medical conditions may affect the dosage of nortriptyline or may indicate that the patient should not take this medications at all. The doctor should be notified if the patient has had any recent heart issues, especially a heart attack. Patients with psychiatric disturbances such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder may not be able to take this medication. The doctor should also be notified if the patient has been diagnosed with diabetes, glaucoma, or thyroid problems. The doctor will also need to be notified of any other medications that are being taken, including over-the-counter medications and herbal supplements, as the effectiveness of nortriptyline may be affected by other medications.


Digestive disturbances are commonly reported nortriptyline side effects. These disturbances may include stomach pain, nausea, and constipation. Weight changes or a mild skin rash may also develop. Breast swelling is a relatively common side effect of this medication and may affect both men and women. Most of these side effects are mild, but any concerns should be discussed with a doctor.

Some uncommon yet potentially serious nortriptyline side effects may include irregular heartbeat, chest pain, or becoming easily bruised. A sudden headache, extreme confusion, or seizures should be reported to a doctor right away. Swelling, especially involving the face, hives, or difficulty breathing, could be a sign of a severe allergic reaction. This is a medical emergency and must be treated immediately in order to prevent potentially fatal complications.

It is important to note that some patients may begin to experience suicidal thoughts shortly after beginning treatment with nortriptyline. While this side effect may go away on its own after the patient has adjusted to the medication, the doctor should be notified immediately about these thoughts. Patients will need to be closely monitored, and the dosage of the medication may have to be altered. In some cases, the medication will have to be discontinued completely and replaced with a different type of medication.

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