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Tricyclic Antidepressants

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Updated October 01, 2008

Definition: Tricyclic antidepressants are a type, or class of, medication used to treat depression. They may also be used to treat people with some chronic pain conditions, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and some adolescents with irritable bowel syndrome.

During the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, tricyclic antidepressants were the most commonly used drugs to treat depression. Since then, they have largely been replaced by a class of antidepressant medications known as the SSRIs, which includes such medications as Lexapro (escitalopram), Paxil (paroxetine), and Zoloft (sertraline).

Examples:
The following list includes some of the currently available tricyclic antidepressants.
  • amitriptyline (Elavil, Endep)
  • amoxapine (Asendin)
  • clomipramine (Anafranil)
  • desipramine (Norpramin)
  • doxepin (Sinequan)
  • imipramine (Tofranil)
  • maprotiline (Ludiomil)
  • nortriptyline (Pamelor, Aventyl)
  • protriptyline (Vivactil)
  • trimipramine (Surmontil)

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