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Medicine (MD/DO)
Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCAs) Indications

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Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCAs) Indications

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Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCAs) Indications

Tricycle Ant-tie-depressed-emo
Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) are used to treat major depression, bedwetting, OCD, and fibromyalgia. This drug class acts by blocking the reuptake of norepinephrine and serotonin. A way to remember the TCA medications is by their suffixes (-ipramine or -iptyline) with the exception of doxepin and amoxapine. Amitriptyline may be used for depression, chronic pain, and fibromyalgia. Desipramine is also used for depression and has fewer side effects than other TCAs when dosed properly. Desipramine has a narrow therapeutic index and may easily lead to death from cardiotoxicity. Clomipramine is an agent used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder. Imipramine decreases the delta-wave period of sleep and therefore may be useful in the treatment of nocturnal enuresis. Nortriptyline causes less hypotension when compared to other TCAs.
Major Depression
Major-league Depressed-emo

TCAs are highly effective for the treatment of depression. Amitriptyline and nortriptyline are commonly used to treat major depression.

Bed with Urine

The TCA drug imipramine is used to treat nocturnal enuresis (bedwetting).


Amitriptyline is a TCA drug which can be used to treat fibromyalgia. This disease is described by chronic widespread pain and allodynia (a heightened and painful response to pressure).


Clomipramine is often used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), an anxiety disorder characterized by unreasonable thoughts and fears (obsessions) that leads patients to carry out repetitive behaviors (compulsions).

-Iptyline or -Ipramine Suffix
Tiling or Ramen

TCA drugs can be remembered by the "-ipramine" and "-iptyline" suffixes, which apply to most TCAs.


This is the most common TCA and is used for depression, and is a first-line medication for fibromyalgia and chronic pain. Amitriptyline has more anticholinergic effects than other TCAs, sometimes causing muscle stiffness, nausea, constipation, nervousness, dizziness, tremor, blurred vision, urinary retention, and changes in sexual function.


This TCA is used for depression and is less sedating and has less side effects than other drugs in its class. Desipramine, however, has a narrow therapeutic index and can easily be overdosed.


Clomipramine is a medication primarily used to treat OCD, obsessive compulsive disorder. It also can be used to depression and anxiety disorders.


Imipramine is a TCA which is commonly used for nocturnal enuresis (bedwetting) because of its ability to decrease the delta-wave stage of sleep (when bedwetting typically occurs).


Nortriptyline is a TCA used for depression, which has less side effects than 1st generation TCA medications. Though it has α1 blockade effects, it has less influence on hypotension than other drugs in its class. Nortriptyline keeps blood pressure NORmal.


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