What is Imipramine?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 17 October 2019
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Imipramine is one of several medications used for the treatment of depression. The drug belongs to the family of antidepressants known as tricyclics. Imapramine is available in several different strengths, as well as in capsules formulated for extended release throughout the day.

Drugs used to treat depression focus on different parts of brain chemistry to bring about relief. A tricyclic antidepressant like imipramine focuses on the function of the neurotransmitters in the brain. Because neurotransmitters help the nerves of the brain to communicate, regulating their activity can help to restore emotional balance. Use of this type of antidepressant is often helpful when patients experience negative reactions to other forms of antidepressants, such as SSRIs.

Along with treatment for depression, imipramine is also effective for several other ailments. Persons suffering with anxiety complicated with depression may respond well to imipramine. Insomnia due to chronic pain can also be treated with the use of this drug. There is some evidence that people suffering with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) may respond well to use of imipramine.


As with any type of antidepressant, imipramine may be prescribed alone or with other medications. For example, a person suffering with both depression and panic disorder may be provided with imipramine to help elevate mood while also given a prescription for an anti-anxiety medication to control the panic attacks on an as-needed basis. Combining different medications should only be done under the direction of a qualified physician.

The daily dosage range for imipramine will vary, depending on the severity of the condition of the patient. Treatments may involve two or three smaller amounts during the day, or a larger dosage taken before bedtime. Along with the severity of the depression, the dosage may be influenced by such factors as how pronounced the sedation effect of the drug is on the patient, and whether or not other medications are prescribed for concurrent use with imipramine. In any event, the dosage should not be adjusted without the express consent of the attending physician.

Imipramine is marketed under a number of different brand names. One of the most popular is Tofranil®. Other popular brand names include Janimine®, Eupramin®, and Antideprin®. As with any antidepressant, the patient should not discontinue usage of imipramine without the approval of a physician.


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