Tricyclic antidepressants are widely prescribed drugs which are effective in treating depression and a range of other disorders.
Tricyclic antidepressants should be used with care because they are dangerous in overdose.
The choice of a particular tricyclic is usually made according to the spectrum of side-effects for each compound:
- sedative tricylcics e.g. amitriptyline are used where sleep disturbance and anxiety are predominant
- imipramine, which is non-sedating or stimulating, is used where psychomotor retardation is predominant
- lofepramine is used in patients who:
- cannot tolerate side-effects
- are at risk of deliberate self-harm by overdosage