Depression Home > Nortriptyline

Nortriptyline is commonly prescribed to treat depression. It is thought to work by allowing certain chemicals to stay in the brain for a longer period of time. The medication comes in a tablet form or as a liquid, and is generally taken one to four times a day. Possible side effects of nortriptyline include dizziness, drowsiness, and dry mouth.

What Is Nortriptyline?

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

Who Makes It?

Nortriptyline is made by Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals. It is sold under the brand name Pamelor. Generic nortriptyline is made by several different manufacturers.

How Does Nortriptyline Work?

Nortriptyline belongs to a class of medications called tricyclic antidepressants. It is not entirely clear how the medication works. However, it does affect several chemicals in the brain, including serotonin and norepinephrine. The medication may allow these chemicals to stay in the brain longer, which can help with symptoms of depression.

When and How to Take It

Some considerations for when and how to take nortriptyline include the following:
  • The medication comes in capsule form. When used for depression, it is usually taken by mouth one to four times daily.
  • For people with trouble swallowing capsules, a liquid form is also available.
  • You can take nortriptyline with or without food. If the medication upsets your stomach, try taking it with food.
  • Nortriptyline should be taken at the same time(s) each day to maintain an even level in your blood.
  • For the medication to work properly, you have to take it as prescribed. Nortriptyline 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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