Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan


  • John C. Courtney
  • Efrain Antonio GonzalezEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_1646

Generic Name


Brand Name



Tricyclic antidepressant.

Proposed Mechanism(s) of Action

Desipramine acts primarily as an inhibitor of the norepinephrine reuptake pump. This results in a boost in neurotransmitter availability in the cleft and, since dopamine is inactivated by norepinephrine reuptake in the prefrontal cortex, it is hypothesized that desipramine also increases to total ambient availability of dopamine as well. At higher doses, it appears to boost presynaptic serotonin production and release.



Off-Label Use

Anxiety, insomnia, neuropathic pain, and treatment-resistant depression.

Side Effects


Paralytic ileus, hyperthermia, lowered seizure threshold, sudden death, cardiac arrhythmias, tachycardia, QT prolongation, hepatic failure, mania, and potential for activation of suicidal ideation.


Blurred vision, constipation, urinary retention, increased appetite, dry mouth, diarrhea, heartburn, weight gain, fatigue,...

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References and Readings

  1. Physicians’ desk reference (71st ed.) (2017). Montvale: Thomson PDR.Google Scholar
  2. Stahl, S. M. (2007). Essential psychopharmacology: The prescriber’s guide (2nd ed.). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

Additional Information

  1. Free Drug Online and PDA Software. www.epocrates.com.
  2. Free Drug Online and PDA Software. www.medscape.com.

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Socorro Mental HealthPresbyterian Medical ServicesSocorroUSA
  2. 2.College of Psychology, Nova Southeastern UniversityFort LauderdaleUSA
  3. 3.Utah State UniversityLoganUSA