Imipramine (Tofranil)


Overview: Imipramine, known by the brand name Tofranil, is an antidepressant of the Tricyclic class. Imipramine is primarily used to treat Depression, though it can also be used for Anxiety and away from mental health conditions – bedwetting. Imipramine has proven helpful to many people suffering from mental health problems. Imipramine was the first Tricyclic antidepressant to be marketed – back in 1957 – it isn’t used as much in the modern era. There are more side effects and general health concerns over Tricyclic antidepressants compared to newer SSRI antidepressants. Imipramine is only available on prescription.




Key Facts: It will take around four to six weeks for Imipramine to work, however minor improvements might be visible after around a week. There are some side effects to Imipramine, as mentioned below. Imipramine should be used without interruption – you shouldn’t suddenly stop taking the medicine. The medication should help jump start your mood, and slowly make you feel like your old self again.


How do they work?: Unfortunately, it isn’t entirely known how antidepressants work. The most widely accepted belief is that antidepressants work by increasing levels of a group of chemicals in the brain named neurotransmitters. Some of these neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and noradrenaline, can help improve mood and emotion. How this process exactly works is unknown. It is recommended that Imipramine is used in conjunction with therapy.


Dosage: Normally, you will take Imipramine once a day. It doesn’t upset the stomach, and therefore can be taken with or without food. You can take Imipramine at any time in the day. The regular dose in an adult is 100mg. The maximum dose of Imipramine per day is 300mg. A typical treatment course of Imipramine is six months, though a longer treatment cycle is common.


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Side Effects

With each box of Imipramine, there will be an information leaflet enclosed. This will provide an exhaustive list of side effects. Side effects from Imipramine should only last a few days, though can cause issues. It is natural to experience some side effects as your body gets used to the medication.


Common side effects of Imipramine include dizziness, deowsiness, dry mouth, low blood pressure and urinary retention and sexual dysfunction.


Serious side effects include suicidal thinking, seizures, chest pain and psychosis. An overdose should be avoided, as it can cause the potentially fatal Serotonin Syndrome and severe cardiovascular problems. You should contact your doctor if any of these serious side effects take place.




You should always read the information leaflet that comes with your medication as it will include important information there. You should tell your doctor if you are taking any other medication. It is important that you don’t use the herbal remedy St. Johns wort. You shouldn’t take any other antidepressant with Imipramine unless directed by your doctor. There are many medicines to avoid when using Imipramine, including some opiods. Always ask your doctor if you are unsure on combining medicines.


Alcohol acts as a depressant, therefore it is recommended that anyone taking an antidepressant stays away from drinking alcohol. Combining Imipramine with recreational drugs is also not recommended.


Imipramine is not recommended in pregnancy or the breastfeeding stage. Antidepressants are generally considered unsafe to use in pregnancy.


Imipramine is not normally prescribed to anyone under the age of 18. Instead, some form of psychotherapy is recommended. Younger people have been shown to be more vulnerable to suicidal thoughts when using antidepressants. In the case that an antidepressant needs to be prescribed, Fluoxetine will instead generally be prescribed.


Other Tricyclic Antidepressants: