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What is Tofranil®?

Abrielle Lynch
Abrielle Lynch

Tofranil® is a tricyclic antidepressant used in depression treatments and as a bed-wetting treatment for children. Generically known as imipramine, Tofranil® helps treat depression because it elevates the mood by increasing natural substances within the brain. Use of this drug for depression treatment might improve mood, sleep, appetite and energy level. Tofranil® treats bed-wetting by stopping the effects of acetylcholine on the bladder.

This drug comes in tablet or capsule form and is taken by mouth one or more times a day for depression. It can be taken with or without eating, but it recommended to be taken at the same time each day. Children taking Tofranil® usually take it either one hour before bedtime or in the early afternoon and again at night, depending on the times that bed-wetting usually occurs. One to three weeks might be needed before the effects of the medication are felt. Patients taking Tofranil® should consult their doctor before stopping.

Doctor taking notes
Doctor taking notes

Before taking Tofranil®, patients should tell their doctors of any other medications or medical conditions or whether they are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning to get pregnant. This medication should be stored away from high heat or moisture in a secure container where children cannot reach it. Patients taking this medication should keep all of their appointments with their doctor. Doctors might want to see the patient more often when starting this medication in order to monitor the effects.

The side effects of Tofranil® might include drowsiness, nausea, weakness, anxiety and dry mouth. Other side effects might include excessive sweating, nightmares, sensitivity to the sun and constipation. Patients should contact their doctor if these symptoms become severe or are long in duration.

If more severe symptoms occur — such as muscle spasms, slow or difficult speech, yellowing of the eyes, rash, fever or uncontrollable shaking — patients should seek medical help immediately. The potential side effect of drowsiness is why patients taking Tofranil® are advised not to drive a car or operate heavy machinery until they see how the medication affects them. Patients should remember that consumption of alcohol would increase the drowsiness associated with the medication.

Anyone taking Tofranil® should be warned that this medication has caused a low number of patients age 24 or younger to develop suicidal thoughts during clinical trials. A family member or caregiver should monitor any patients in this age range while he or she is taking this medication. If symptoms such as extreme worry, suicidal thoughts, panic attacks, aggressive behavior or abnormal excitement occur while a person is on this medication, a doctor should be contacted immediately. Family members and caregivers should be aware of these symptoms in case the patient is unable to contact the doctor himself or herself.

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      Doctor taking notes