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What Are the Most Common Clomipramine Side Effects?

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  • Written By: Debra Barnhart
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 24 November 2016
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Clomipramine is an anti-depressant drug commonly used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). This drug has a number of common side effects that include dizziness, weight gain, fatigue and insomnia. Less common clomipramine side effects are digestive system upsets, increased sweating, and blurred vision. Risks like seizures and suicidal thoughts are possible but rare with clomipramine.

Developed in the 1960s, clomipramine is particularly effective for treating obsessive-compulsive disorder. It is prescribed when the uncontrollable thoughts and repetitive actions that are characteristic of OCD severely disturb a person’s daily life. Doctors also prescribe clomipramine for the eating disorder anorexia nervosa, the neurological disorder Tourette syndrome, and trichotillomania — a compulsive psychological condition in which people pull the hair from their bodies.

Dizziness can be a common side effect of clomipramine, because the drug can trigger lowered blood pressure. Another result of taking clomipramine could be increased appetite and weight gain. A number of antidepressants can produce added pounds, though the cause is not certain. Antidepressant weight gain may be caused by an increased craving for carbohydrates, or it may just be a consequence of relief from the symptoms of depression.

Antidepressants, such as clomipramine, can also induce tiredness and fatigue. Patients should be careful about driving and other activities that require attentiveness. By the same token, difficulty sleeping is another of the reported clomipramine side effects, and of course lack of sleep can often result in fatigue.

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Less common clomipramine side effects are digestive track upsets, such as vomiting, heartburn and diarrhea. Some people report increased sweating and blurred vision. Other uncommon side effects of clomipramine are breast enlargement, which can occur in both women and men, skin rash, and facial swelling.

Seizures are one of the infrequent but severe clomipramine side effects, and research suggests that epileptic seizures can occur in one percent of persons taking the drug. Other unusual side effects are suicidal thoughts and behavior or a worsening of these tendencies. The US Federal Drug Administration (FDA) measured the effects of nine different antidepressants among children and adolescents; however, the FDA extended its warning about increased suicidal tendencies among children and adolescents to all antidepressants. Clomipramine is sometimes prescribed for children, so parents should especially be aware of signs of distress in a child taking clomipramine. These signs include ongoing depression and anxiety, withdrawal from friends and family, and changes in appetite and sleep patterns.

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