Depression Home > Protriptyline

Protriptyline is a type of tricyclic antidepressant that is used for treating depression in adults. It can help improve depression symptoms by affecting certain chemicals in the brain (serotonin and norepinephrine). Possible side effects include dry mouth, constipation, and difficulty urinating. The medication, which is available by prescription, comes in tablet form and is generally taken three to four times a day.

What Is Protriptyline?

Protriptyline hydrochloride (Vivactil®) is a prescription medication that is used to treat depression (also known as major depression or clinical depression).
(Click What Is Protriptyline Used For? for more information, including possible off-label uses for the drug.)

Who Makes It?

Brand-name Vivactil is currently manufactured by Duramed Pharmaceuticals. Although Merck was the first manufacturer of Vivactil many years ago, Duramed now holds the rights to make brand-name Vivactil. Also, it has since come off-patent and is available as a generic.

How Does Protriptyline Work?

Protriptyline belongs to a class of medications called tricyclic antidepressants. It is not entirely clear how the drug works. It does affect several chemicals in the brain, including serotonin and norepinephrine. It is thought that perhaps protriptyline allows these chemicals to stay in the brain longer, which can help with depression symptoms.

When and How to Take This Medicine

Considerations for when and how to take protriptyline include the following:
  • Protriptyline comes in tablet form. When used for depression, it is usually taken by mouth three to four times a day.
  • You can take protriptyline with or without food. If the medication upsets your stomach, try taking it with food.
  • The medicine should be taken at the same times each day to maintain an even level in your blood.
  • For protriptyline to work properly, you have to take it as prescribed. The drug will not work if you stop taking it.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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