Depression Home > Tofranil

Tofranil is commonly prescribed for the treatment of depression in adults and bedwetting in children. By allowing certain chemicals to stay in the brain longer, the medication can help improve the symptoms of depression. Since Tofranil has been shown to relax bladder muscles, it can help children get through the night without bedwetting. Potential side effects of the drug include dizziness, constipation, and drowsiness.

What Is Tofranil?

Tofranil® (imipramine hydrochloride) is a tricyclic antidepressant that is prescribed to treat a couple of conditions related to the nervous system.

What Is Tofranil Used For?

Tofranil is approved to treat the following conditions:
  • Depression (also known as major depression or clinical depression) in adults
  • Bedwetting in children.
Tofranil is different from Tofranil PM®, a similar medication that is only approved for the treatment of depression.
(Click Imipramine for information about the differences between Tofranil and Tofranil PM. Click Tofranil Uses for more information on what Tofranil is used for, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes Tofranil?

Tofranil is made by Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals. Generic Tofranil is made by several manufacturers of generic medications.


How Does It Work?

It is not entirely clear how Tofranil works. It does affect several chemicals in the brain, including serotonin and norepinephrine. It is thought that perhaps Tofranil allows these chemicals to stay in the brain longer, which can help with symptoms of depression.
Tofranil probably works in several ways to help with bedwetting. One of the side effects of tricyclic antidepressants is relaxation of the bladder muscles (which keeps the bladder from contracting forcefully). In many adults, this is a bothersome side effect that makes it difficult to urinate. However, it can also help children make it through the night without bedwetting. Tofranil may also have effects on the brain, hormones, and the sleep cycle (which may also help with bedwetting).
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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