Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) are chemical compounds used primarily as antidepressants. The TCAs were first discovered in the early 1950s and were subsequently introduced later in the decade; they are named after their chemical structure, which contains three rings of atoms. The tetracyclic antidepressants (TeCAs), which contain four rings of atoms, are a closely related group of antidepressant compounds.
In recent times, the TCAs have been largely replaced in clinical use in most parts of the world by newer antidepressants which typically have more favorable side-effects profiles such as the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) and the norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (NRIs) like reboxetine, though they are still sometimes prescribed for certain indications.
List of TCAs
Those that preferentially inhibit the reuptake of serotonin (by at least 10 fold over norepinephrine and dopamine) include:
- Clomipramine (Anafranil) (~200x selective for serotonin over norepinephrine reuptake)
- Imipramine (Tofranil, Janimine, Praminil)
Those that preferentially inhibit the reuptake of norepinephrine (by at least 10 fold over serotonin and dopamine) include:
- Desipramine (Norpramin, Pertofrane)
- Dibenzepin‡ (Noveril, Victoril)
- Lofepramine§ (Lomont, Gamanil)
- Nortriptyline (Pamelor, Aventyl, Norpress)
- Protriptyline (Vivactil)
Whereas fairly balanced serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors include:
- Amitriptyline (Tryptomer, Elavil, Endep)
- Amitriptylinoxide (Amioxid, Ambivalon, Equilibrin)
- Amoxapine (Asendin) – can be classed with the tetracyclic antidepressants (TeCAs) but more frequently classed with the secondary amine TCAs.
- Butriptyline† (Evadyne)
- Demexiptiline† (Deparon, Tinoran)
- Dimetacrine† (Istonil, Istonyl, Miroistonil)
- Dosulepin/Dothiepin§ (Prothiaden)
- Doxepin (Adapin, Sinequan)
- Imipraminoxide† (Imiprex, Elepsin)
- Melitracen§ (Deanxit, Dixeran, Melixeran, Trausabun)
- Metapramine† (Timaxel)
- Nitroxazepine‡ (Sintamil)
- Noxiptiline‡ (Agedal, Elronon, Nogedal)
- Pipofezine‡ (Azafen/Azaphen)
- Propizepine† (Depressin, Vagran)
- Quinupramine† (Kevopril, Kinupril, Adeprim, Quinuprine)
and the following are TCAs that act via other mechanisms beside serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibition:
- Amineptine‡ (Survector, Maneon, Directim) – Norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor
- Iprindole† (Prondol, Galatur, Tetran) – 5-HT2 receptor antagonist
- Opipramol‡ (Insidon, Pramolan, Ensidon, Oprimol) – σ receptor agonist
- Tianeptine‡ (Stablon, Coaxil, Tatinol) – Selective serotonin reuptake enhancer
- Trimipramine (Surmontil) – 5-HT2 receptor antagonist and moderate-potency norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor.
† indicates products that have been withdrawn from the market worldwide. ‡ indicates products that are not available in any country in of which English is an official language. § indicates products that are not available in the United States of America, but is available in other English-speaking countries such as Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, etc. Bolded names indicates products that are available in at least three countries where English is an official language.
The TCAs were developed amid the "explosive birth" of psychopharmacology in the early 1950s. The story begins with the synthesis of chlorpromazine in December 1950 by Rhône-Poulenc's chief chemist, Paul Charpentier, from synthetic antihistamines developed by Rhône-Poulenc in the 1940s. Its psychiatric effects were first noticed at a hospital in Paris in 1952. The first widely used psychiatric drug, by 1955 it was already generating significant revenue as an antipsychotic. Research chemists quickly began to explore other derivatives of chlorpromazine.
The first TCA reported for the treatment of depression was imipramine, a dibenzazepine analogue of chlorpromazine code-named G22355. It was not originally targeted for the treatment of depression. The drug's tendency to induce manic effects was "later described as 'in some patients, quite disastrous'". The paradoxical observation of a sedative inducing mania led to testing with depressed patients. The first trial of imipramine took place in 1955 and the first report of antidepressant effects was published by Swiss psychiatrist Roland Kuhn in 1957. Some testing of Geigy’s imipramine, then known as Tofranil, took place at the Münsterlingen Hospital near Konstanz. Geigy later became Ciba-Geigy and eventually Novartis.
Dibenzazepine derivatives are described in U.S. patent 3,074,931 issued 1963-01-22 by assignment to Smith Kline & French Laboratories. The compounds described share a tricyclic backbone different from the backbone of the TCA amitriptyline.
The TCAs are used primarily in the clinical treatment of mood disorders such as major depressive disorder (MDD), dysthymia, and treatment-resistant variants. They are also used in the treatment of a number of other medical disorders, including anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social phobia (SP) also known as social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and panic disorder (PD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), eating disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, certain personality disorders such as borderline personality disorder (BPD), attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), as well as chronic pain, neuralgia or neuropathic pain, and fibromyalgia, headache, or migraine, smoking cessation, tourette syndrome, trichotillomania, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), interstitial cystitis (IC), nocturnal enuresis (NE), narcolepsy, insomnia, pathological crying and/or laughing, chronic hiccups, ciguatera poisoning, and as an adjunct in schizophrenia.
For many years the TCAs were the first choice for pharmacological treatment of clinical depression. Although they are still considered to be highly effective, they have been increasingly replaced by antidepressants with an improved safety and side effect profile, such as the SSRIs and other newer antidepressants such as the novel reversible MAOI moclobemide. However, tricyclic antidepressants still are probably more successful in treating melancholic depression than other antidepressant drug classes. Newer antidepressants are thought to have fewer and less severe side effects and are also thought to be less likely to result in injury or death if used in a suicide attempt, as the doses required for clinical treatment and potentially lethal overdose (see therapeutic index) are far wider in comparison.
Nonetheless, the TCAs are still occasionally used for treatment-resistant depression that has failed to respond to therapy with newer antidepressants.They are not considered addictive and are somewhat preferable to the monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). The side effects of the TCAs usually come to prominence before the therapeutic benefits against depression and/or anxiety do, and for this reason, they may potentially be somewhat dangerous, as volition can be increased, possibly giving the patient a greater desire to attempt or commit suicide.
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder
The TCAs were used in the past in the clinical treatment of ADHD, though they are not typically used anymore on account of being replaced by more effective agents with fewer side effects such as atomoxetine (Strattera, Tomoxetin, Attentin) and stimulants like methylphenidate(Ritalin, Focalin, Concerta), and amphetamine (Adderall, Dexedrine, Vyvanse). ADHD is thought to be caused by an insufficiency of dopamine and norepinephrine activity in the prefrontal cortex of the brain. Most of the TCAs inhibit the reuptake of norepinephrine, though not dopamine, and as a result, they show some efficacy in remedying the disorder. Notably, the TCAs are more effective in treating the behavioral aspects of ADHD than the cognitive deficits, as they help limit hyperactivity and impulsivity, but have little to no benefits on attention.
The TCAs show efficacy in the clinical treatment of a number of different types of chronic pain, notably neuralgia or neuropathic pain and fibromyalgia. The precise mechanism of action in explanation of their analgesic efficacy is unclear, but it is thought that they indirectly modulate the opioid system in the brain downstream via serotonergic and noradrenergic neuromodulation, among other properties. They are also effective in migraine prophylaxis, though not in the instant relief of an acute migraine attack. They may also be effective to prevent chronic tension headaches.
The majority of the TCAs act primarily as serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) by blocking the serotonin transporter (SERT) and the norepinephrine transporter (NET), respectively, which results in an elevation of the synaptic concentrations of these neurotransmitters, and therefore an enhancement of neurotransmission. Notably, the TCAs have negligible affinity for the dopamine transporter (DAT), and therefore have no efficacy as dopamine reuptake inhibitors (DRIs). Both serotonin and norepinephrine have been highly implicated in depression and anxiety, and it has been shown that facilitation of their activity has beneficial effects on these mental disorders.
In addition to their reuptake inhibition, many TCAs also have high affinity as antagonists at the 5-HT2 (5-HT2A and 5-HT2C), 5-HT6, 5-HT7, α1-adrenergic, and NMDA receptors, and as agonists at the sigma receptors (σ1 and σ2), some of which may contribute to their therapeutic efficacy, as well as their side effects. The TCAs also have varying but typically high affinity for antagonising the H1 and H2 histamine receptors, as well as the muscarinic acetylcholine receptors. As a result, they also act as potent antihistamines and anticholinergics. These properties are generally undesirable in antidepressants, however, and likely contribute to their large side effect profiles.
Most, if not all, of the TCAs also potently inhibit sodium channels and L-type calcium channels, and therefore act as sodium channel blockers and calcium channel blockers, respectively. The former property is responsible for the high mortality rate upon overdose seen with the TCAs via cardiotoxicity.
Many side effects may be related to the antimuscarinic properties of the TCAs. Such side effects are relatively common and may include dry mouth, dry nose, blurry vision, lowered gastrointestinal motility or constipation, urinary retention, cognitive and/or memory impairment, and increased body temperature.
Other side effects may include drowsiness, anxiety, emotional blunting (apathy/anhedonia), confusion, restlessness, dizziness, akathisia, hypersensitivity, changes in appetite and weight, sweating, sexual dysfunction, muscle twitches, weakness, nausea and vomiting, hypotension, tachycardia, and rarely, irregular heart rhythms. Twitching, hallucinations, delirium and coma are also some of the toxic effects caused by overdose. Rhabdomyolysis or muscle breakdown has been rarely reported with this class of drugs as well.
Tolerance to these adverse effects of these drugs often develops if treatment is continued. Side effects may also be less troublesome if treatment is initiated with low doses and then gradually increased, although this may also delay the beneficial effects.
TCAs can behave like class 1A Antiarrhythmics, as such, they can theoretically terminate ventricular fibrillation, decrease cardiac contractility and increase collateral blood circulation to ischemic heart muscle. Naturally, in overdose, they can be cardiotoxic, prolonging heart rhythms and increasing myocardial irritability.
Antidepressants in general may produce a discontinuation syndrome. Since the term "withdrawal" has been linked to addiction to recreational drugs like opioids the medical profession and pharmaceutical public relations prefer that a different term be used, hence "discontinuation syndrome." Discontinuation symptoms can be managed by a gradual reduction in dosage over a period of weeks or months to minimise symptoms. In tricyclics, discontinuation syndrome symptoms include anxiety, insomnia, headache, nausea, malaise, or motor disturbance.
The TCAs are highly metabolised by the cytochrome P450 hepatic enzymes. Drugs that inhibit cytochrome P450 (for example cimetidine, methylphenidate, fluoxetine, antipsychotics, and calcium channel blockers) may produce decreases in the TCAs' metabolism, leading to increases in their blood concentrations and accompanying toxicity. Drugs that prolong the QT interval including antiarrhythmics such as quinidine, the antihistamines astemizole and terfenadine, and some antipsychotics may increase the chance of ventricular dysrhythmias. TCAs may enhance the response to alcohol and the effects of barbiturates and other CNS depressants. Side effects may also be enhanced by other drugs that have antimuscarinic properties.
TCA overdose is a significant cause of fatal drug poisoning. The severe morbidity and mortality associated with these drugs is well documented due to their cardiovascular and neurological toxicity. Additionally, it is a serious problem in the pediatric population due to their inherent toxicity and the availability of these in the home when prescribed for bed wetting and depression. In the event of a known or suspected overdose medical assistance should be sought immediately.
A number of treatments are effective in a TCA overdose.
An overdose on TCA is especially fatal as they are rapidly absorbed from GI tract in the alkaline conditions of the small intestines. As a result, toxicity often becomes apparent in the first hour after an overdose. However, symptoms may take several hours to appear if a mixed overdose has caused delayed gastric emptying
Many of the initial signs are those associated to the anticholinergic effects of TCAs such as dry mouth, blurred vision, urinary retention, constipation, dizziness, and emesis (or vomiting). Due to the location of norepinephrine receptors all over the body, many physical signs are also associated with a TCA overdose:
- Anticholinergic effects: altered mental status (e.g., agitation, confusion, lethargy, etc.), resting sinus tachycardia, dry mouth, mydriasis (pupil dilation), fever
- Cardiac effects: hypertension (early and transient, should not be treated), tachycardia, orthostasis and hypotension, arrhythmias (including ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation, most serious consequence) / ECG changes (prolonged QRS, QT, and PR intervals)
- CNS effects: syncope, seizure, coma, myoclonus, hyperreflexia
- Pulmonary effects: hypoventilation resulting from CNS depression
- Gastrointestinal effects: decreased or absent bowel sounds
Treatment of TCA overdose depends on severity of symptoms:
Initially, gastric decontamination of the patient is achieved by administering, either orally or via a nasogastric tube, activated charcoal pre-mixed with water, which adsorbs the drug in the gastrointestinal tract(most useful if given within 2 hours of drug ingestion). Other decontamination methods such as stomach pumps, gastric lavage, whole bowel irrigation, or (ipecac induced) emesis, are not recommended in TCA poisoning.
If there is metabolic acidosis, intravenous infusion of sodium bicarbonate is recommended by Toxbase.org, the UK and Ireland poisons advice database (TCAs are protein bound and become less bound in more acidic conditions, so by reversing the acidosis, protein binding increases and bioavailability thus decreases – the sodium load may also help to reverse the Na+ channel blocking effects of the TCA).
Treatment is otherwise supportive.
|This section requires expansion. (December 2010)|
A very small number of cases involving non-medical use of antidepressants have been reported over the past 30 years. According to the US government classification of psychiatric medications, TCAs are "non-abusable" and generally have low abuse potential. Several cases of the misuse of amitriptyline alone or together with methadone or in other drug dependent patientsand of dothiepin with alcohol or in methadone patients have been reported.
- Carson VB (2000). Mental health nursing: the nurse-patient journey W.B. Saunders. ISBN 978-0-7216-8053-8. pp. 423
- A Guide to the Extrapyramidal Side-Effects of Antipsychotic Drugs, D. G. Cunningham Owens,http://assets.cambridge.org/97805216/33536/excerpt/9780521633536_excerpt.pdf
- Becoming Neurochemical Selves, Nikolas Rose, p.3
- Glazener C, Evans J, Peto R (2003). "Tricyclic and related drugs for nocturnal enuresis in children". In Glazener, Cathryn MA. Cochrane Database Syst Rev (3): CD002117. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD002117. PMID 12917922.
- Mitchell PB, Mitchell MS (September 1994). "The management of depression. Part 2. The place of the new antidepressants". Aust Fam Physician 23 (9): 1771–3, 1776–81. PMID 7980178.
- Broquet K (1999). "Status of treatment of depression". South Med J 92 (9): 846–56. doi:10.1097/00007611-199909000-00001. PMID 10498158.
- Teicher M, Glod C, Cole J (1993). "Antidepressant drugs and the emergence of suicidal tendencies". Drug Saf 8 (3): 186–212. doi:10.2165/00002018-199308030-00002. PMID 8452661.
- Biederman J, Baldessarini R, Wright V, Knee D, Harmatz J (1989). "A double-blind placebo controlled study of desipramine in the treatment of ADD: I. Efficacy". J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 28 (5): 777–84. doi:10.1097/00004583-198909000-00022. PMID 2676967.
- Biederman J, Spencer T (1999). "Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as a noradrenergic disorder". Biol Psychiatry 46 (9): 1234–42. doi:10.1016/S0006-3223(99)00192-4. PMID 10560028.
- Popper C (1997). "Antidepressants in the treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder". J Clin Psychiatry 58 (Suppl 14): 14–29; discussion 30–1. PMID 9418743.
- Micó J, Ardid D, Berrocoso E, Eschalier A (2006). "Antidepressants and pain". Trends Pharmacol Sci 27 (7): 348–54. doi:10.1016/j.tips.2006.05.004. PMID 16762426.
- McQuay H, Tramèr M, Nye B, Carroll D, Wiffen P, Moore R (1996). "A systematic review of antidepressants in neuropathic pain". Pain 68 (2–3): 217–27. doi:10.1016/S0304-3959(96)03140-5. PMID 9121808.
- Botney M, Fields H (1983). "Amitriptyline potentiates morphine analgesia by a direct action on the central nervous system". Ann Neurol 13 (2): 160–4. doi:10.1002/ana.410130209. PMID 6219612.
- Benbouzid M, Gavériaux-Ruff C, Yalcin I et al. (March 2008). "Delta-opioid receptors are critical for tricyclic antidepressant treatment of neuropathic allodynia". Biological Psychiatry 63 (6): 633–6. doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2007.06.016. PMID 17693391.
- de Gandarias JM, Echevarria E, Acebes I, Silio M, Casis L (July 1998). "Effects of imipramine administration on mu-opioid receptor immunostaining in the rat forebrain". Arzneimittel-Forschung 48 (7): 717–9. PMID 9706370.
- Tatsumi M, Groshan K, Blakely RD, Richelson E. (1997). "Pharmacological profile of antidepressants and related compounds at human monoamine transporters". Eur J Pharmacol. 340 (2–3): 249–258. doi:10.1016/S0014-2999(97)01393-9. PMID 9537821.
- Gillman PK (July 2007). "Tricyclic antidepressant pharmacology and therapeutic drug interactions updated". British Journal of Pharmacology 151 (6): 737–48. doi:10.1038/sj.bjp.0707253. PMC 2014120. PMID 17471183.
- Rénéric JP, Lucki I (March 1998). "Antidepressant behavioral effects by dual inhibition of monoamine reuptake in the rat forced swimming test". Psychopharmacology 136 (2): 190–7. doi:10.1007/s002130050555. PMID 9551776.
- Cusack B, Nelson A, Richelson E. (1994). "Binding of antidepressants to human brain receptors: focus on newer generation compounds". Psychopharmacology (Berl). 114 (4): 559–565. doi:10.1007/BF02244985. PMID 7855217.
- Sánchez C, Hyttel J (August 1999). "Comparison of the effects of antidepressants and their metabolites on reuptake of biogenic amines and on receptor binding". Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology 19 (4): 467–89. doi:10.1023/A:1006986824213. PMID 10379421.
- Branchek TA, Blackburn TP (2000). "5-ht6 receptors as emerging targets for drug discovery". Annual Review of Pharmacology and Toxicology 40: 319–34. doi:10.1146/annurev.pharmtox.40.1.319. PMID 10836139.
- Stam NJ, Roesink C, Dijcks F, Garritsen A, van Herpen A, Olijve W (August 1997). "Human serotonin 5-HT7 receptor: cloning and pharmacological characterisation of two receptor variants". FEBS Letters 413 (3): 489–94. doi:10.1016/S0014-5793(97)00964-2. PMID 9303561.
- Sills MA, Loo PS (July 1989). "Tricyclic antidepressants and dextromethorphan bind with higher affinity to the phencyclidine receptor in the absence of magnesium and L-glutamate". Molecular Pharmacology 36 (1): 160–5. PMID 2568580.
- Narita N, Hashimoto K, Tomitaka S, Minabe Y (June 1996). "Interactions of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors with subtypes of sigma receptors in rat brain". European Journal of Pharmacology 307 (1): 117–9. doi:10.1016/0014-2999(96)00254-3. PMID 8831113.
- Volz HP, Stoll KD (November 2004). "Clinical trials with sigma ligands". Pharmacopsychiatry. 37 Suppl 3: S214–20. doi:10.1055/s-2004-832680. PMID 15547788.
- "Differences between tricyclic antidepressants and SNRIs mechanism of action | Pharmacology Corner".
- Green JP, Maayani S; Maayani (September 1977). "Tricyclic antidepressant drugs block histamine H2 receptor in brain". Nature 269 (5624): 163–5. Bibcode:1977Natur.269..163G. doi:10.1038/269163a0. PMID 20581.
- Tsai BS, Yellin TO (November 1984). "Differences in the interaction of histamine H2 receptor antagonists and tricyclic antidepressants with adenylate cyclase from guinea pig gastric mucosa". Biochemical Pharmacology 33 (22): 3621–5. doi:10.1016/0006-2952(84)90147-3. PMID 6150708.
- Pancrazio JJ, Kamatchi GL, Roscoe AK, Lynch C (January 1998). "Inhibition of neuronal Na+ channels by antidepressant drugs". The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 284 (1): 208–14. PMID 9435180.
- Zahradník I, Minarovic I, Zahradníková A (March 2008). "Inhibition of the cardiac L-type calcium channel current by antidepressant drugs". The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 324 (3): 977–84. doi:10.1124/jpet.107.132456. PMID 18048694.
- Harrigan RA, Brady WJ (July 1999). "ECG abnormalities in tricyclic antidepressant ingestion". The American Journal of Emergency Medicine 17 (4): 387–93. doi:10.1016/S0735-6757(99)90094-3. PMID 10452441.
- Wander TJ, Nelson A, Okazaki H, Richelson E (December 1986). "Antagonism by antidepressants of serotonin S1 and S2 receptors of normal human brain in vitro". European Journal of Pharmacology 132 (2–3): 115–21. doi:10.1016/0014-2999(86)90596-0. PMID 3816971.
- Richelson E, Nelson A (July 1984). "Antagonism by antidepressants of neurotransmitter receptors of normal human brain in vitro". The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 230 (1): 94–102. PMID 6086881.
- Roth, BL; Driscol, J (12 January 2011). "PDSP Ki Database". Psychoactive Drug Screening Program (PDSP). University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the United States National Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved 30 November 2013.
- Gelder, M, Mayou, R. and Geddes, J. 2005. Psychiatry. 3rd ed. New York: Oxford. pp243.
- Chabria SB (2006). "Rhabdomyolysis: a manifestation of cyclobenzaprine toxicity". J Occup Med Toxicol 1: 16. doi:10.1186/1745-6673-1-16. PMC 1540431. PMID 16846511.
- Shelton RC (2006). "The nature of the discontinuation syndrome associated with antidepressant drugs". J Clin Psychiatry. 67 Suppl 4: 3–7. PMID 16683856.
- van Broekhoven F, Kan CC, Zitman FG (June 2002). "Dependence potential of antidepressants compared to benzodiazepines". Progress in Neuro-psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry 26 (5): 939–43. doi:10.1016/S0278-5846(02)00209-9. PMID 12369270.
- Kent Kunze MD. "Somatic Therapies in Psychiatry". Des Moines University Psychiatry Class.
- Rosenbaum T, Kou M (2005). "Are one or two dangerous? Tricyclic antidepressant exposure in toddlers". J Emerg Med 28 (2): 169–74. doi:10.1016/j.jemermed.2004.08.018. PMID 15707813.
- California Poison Control 1-800-876-4766
- Wills, Simon (2005). Drugs Of Abuse, 2nd Edition. London: Pharmaceutical Press. p. 213. ISBN 0-85369-582-2.
- "Exhibit 4-3 Abuse Potential of Common Psychiatric Medications". Health Services/Technology Assessment Text (HSTAT). U.S. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved 2007-05-25.
- "Figure 3-4: Abuse Potential of Common Psychiatric Medications". Health Services/Technology Assessment Text (HSTAT). U.S. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved 2007-05-25.
- Wills, Simon (2005). Drugs Of Abuse, 2nd Edition. London: Pharmaceutical Press. pp. 215–216. ISBN 0-85369-582-2.
- Wohlreich MM, Welch W (1993). "Amitriptyline abuse presenting as acute toxicity". Psychosomatics 34 (2): 191–3. doi:10.1016/S0033-3182(93)71918-0. PMID 8456167. "The patient denied any alcohol or substance abuse, and no signs of withdrawal were noted in the hospital...On examination, Ms. B. denied suicidal ideation or intent but did admit to taking over 800 mg of amitriptyline per day for the past 3 years after being started on the drug for depression. She clearly described a euphoria associated with amitriptyline, noting that it gave her a “buzz” and that she felt “numbed up” and calm about 30 minutes after ingestion. The patient expressed fears of being addicted to the amitriptyline and desired inpatient hospitalization for medication adjustment and education."
- Singh GP, Kaur P, Bhatia S (June 2004). "Dothiepin dependence syndrome". Indian J Med Sci 58 (6): 253–4. PMID 15226578.
- Cohen MJ, Hanbury R, Stimmel B (September 1978). "Abuse of amitriptyline". JAMA 240 (13): 1372–3. doi:10.1001/jama.240.13.1372. PMID 682328.
- Delisle JD (October 1990). "A case of amitriptyline abuse". Am J Psychiatry 147 (10): 1377–8. PMID 2400006. "Ms. A, a 24-year-old abuser of alcohol and cannabis, consulted her family physician because of anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Unaware of her drug abuse, he prescribed amitriptyline, 200 mg. About 30 minutes after taking each dose, she would experience relief from her symptoms that lasted about 2 hours. By increasing the dose, she found she could intensify these effects and prolong them for up to several hours. Her “high” consisted of feelings of relaxation, giddiness, and contentment.Frequently, this progressed to incoordination, slurred speech, and confusion. Sometimes she would forget how much she had taken and ingest up to 2 g."
- Sein Anand J, Chodorowski Z, Habrat B (2005). "Recreational amitriptyline abuse". Prz. Lek. 62 (6): 397–8. PMID 16225078.
- Lepping P, Menkes DB (July 2007). "Abuse of dosulepin to induce mania". Addiction 102 (7): 1166–7. doi:10.1111/j.1360-0443.2007.01828.x. PMID 17567406.
- Dorman A, Talbot D, Byrne P, O'Connor J (December 1995). "Misuse of dothiepin". BMJ 311 (7018): 1502. doi:10.1136/bmj.311.7018.1502b. PMC 2543748. PMID 8520352.
- Tricyclic Antidepressive Agents at the US National Library of Medicine Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)
- More information on TCAs