Tofranil is an antidepressant drug used mainly to treat depression in adults and childhood enuresis (nighttime bedwetting in children). Tofranil is available only by prescription.
The main active ingredient in Tofranil is a tricyclic antidepressant called Imipramine. A tertiary amine, Imipramine can directly affect the release and reuptake of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, acetylcholine, norepinephrine, epinephrine, histamine, sigma receptors and MOR. All these neurotransmitters are associated in the etiology of psychiatric conditions such as depression, anxiety and mood disorders. Imipramine can effectively inhibit reuptake or affect the release of neurotransmitters to reduce or relieve the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Imipramine also has the ability to shorten the delta wave stages of sleep, and is thus used to treat nighttime bedwetting in children, a condition clinically called enuresis. The bedwetting mostly occurs during the delta wave stage during sleep, and thus shortening the duration of that particular sleep stage can help manage or completely eliminate the need for urination while unconscious during sleep. Imipramine’s ability to block the neurotransmitters acetylcholine can help patients control bladders better.
Tofranil is sometimes prescribed to treat panic disorders, Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) and chronic pain in some patients. However, Tofranil is approved for use only for depression, anxiety and enuresis in particular.
Tofranil dosage depends on the severity of the condition and physician’s recommendation. Tofranil is usually swallowed one to four times per day or as instructed by a healthcare professional. For children, the dosage depends on body weight. Tofranil is commonly prescribed with a lower dosage at the beginning to reduce side effects on the long term.
There is significant scientific research to suggest that antidepressants can worsen the symptoms of depression and increase the risk of suicidal thought and behavior in children, adolescents and young adults. Therefore, Tofranil is not recommended for pediatric prescription or for patients with a history of suicidal behavior. Antidepressants are considered safer in comparison for use with young adults over the age of 24. However, family members and caregivers are advised to remain vigilant with patients who begin antidepressant treatments.
Following side effects are known to be caused by Tofranil and Imipramine:
Dizziness or lightheadedness
Loss of appetite
Sudden weight gain or loss
Decreased sex drive
Uncommon but severe side effects could include:
Sudden mood changes and confusion
Pain or swelling in arms and legs
Fever or persistent sore throat not caused by a virus
Serotonin syndrome (especially if taken with other drugs that increase serotonin)
Immediately seek emergency medical care if any of the above serious side effects are experienced.
Do not take Tofranil if allergic to tricyclic antidepressants.
Do not take Tofranil if pregnant, breastfeeding or suspected to be pregnant without explicit instructions from a physician.
Do not drive if Tofranil causes side effects such as blurred vision or dizziness.
Tofranil is not recommended for patients with a history of heart problems, breathing problems, bleeding problems or mood disorders such as bipolar disorder or psychosis.