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Treatment and Therapy - Pain Medication

Back to Antidepressants (as pain relievers)

Tricyclic Antidepressants

Tricyclic antidepressants have been used to treat mild-to-moderate pain associated with neuropathy for more than 20 years. They work by increasing the level of neurotransmitters in brain tissue and inhibiting the chemical processes in the brain that enable you to feel pain. These drugs are often used in combination with non-narcotic or narcotic pain relievers to help manage pain.

Neuropathic pain generally responds more quickly than depression to tricyclic antidepressants (i.e., three-to-ten days, versus two-to-four weeks). If one form of tricyclic antidepressant does not work, another one may be more effective. Patients may need to try two or three types to find adequate relief.

There are many different kinds of tricyclic antidepressants used to treat neuropathy pain. The most common are:

  • Amitriptyline (Elavil®, Endep®)
  • Nortriptyline (Pamelor®, Aventyl®)

Other tricyclic antidepressants also used to treat pain are:

  • Desipramine (Norpramin®, Pertofrane®)
  • Imipramine (Tofranil®, Janamine®)
  • Doxepin (Sinequan®, Adapin®)
  • Trimipramine (Surmontil®)
  • Clomipramine (Anafranil®)

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