Depression Home > Tricyclic Antidepressants

When and How Do I Take Them?

Some general considerations for when and how to take tricyclic antidepressant medications include:
  • They are taken by mouth. Some people take their tricyclic antidepressant several times a day, while others take it just once a day at bedtime.
  • If your tricyclic antidepressant makes you drowsy, ask your healthcare provider about taking it at night.
  • You can take them with or without food. If your tricyclic antidepressant bothers your stomach, try taking it with food.
  • They should be taken at the same time(s) each day to maintain an even level of the drug in your blood.
  • For tricyclic antidepressants to work properly, they must be taken as prescribed. Your medication will not work if you stop taking it.

Tricyclic Antidepressant Dosage

The dosage your healthcare provider recommends will vary depending on a number of factors, including:
  • The specific type of tricyclic antidepressant
  • The medical condition being treated
  • Other medical conditions you may have
  • Other medications you may currently be taking.
As is always the case, do not adjust your tricyclic antidepressant dose unless your healthcare provider specifically instructs you to do so.

Side Effects

(The tricyclic antidepressant side effects listed below are NOT a complete list of possible side effects. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list of side effects with you. You can also read about specific side effects for each type of tricyclic antidepressant by going to the specific drug within the eMedTV Web site.)
As with any medicine, there are possible side effects with tricyclic antidepressants. However, not everyone who takes them will experience side effects. In fact, most people tolerate the medication well. When side effects do occur, in most cases they are minor and either require no treatment or can easily be treated by you or your healthcare provider. Serious side effects are less common.
The most common side effects of tricyclic antidepressants include:
(Click Side Effects of Tricyclic Antidepressants to learn about specific side effects, including some of the more serious side effects that you should report to your healthcare provider.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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