Can Imipramine Cause Weight gain or Weight Loss?

Imipramine belongs to a group of antidepressants called tricyclic antidepressants. Imipramine is also called imipramine hydrochloride and is a prescription drug. It interferes with neurotransmitters which are certain brain chemicals that may be unbalanced and responsible for depression. 

It comes in tablet and oral liquid form. 

Imipramine was the first tricyclic antidepressant introduced in the late 1950s. It has a three-ring molecular structure hence the name tricyclic.(Weinstein, D.O. and Stern, W.C., 1984)

Benefits

Imipramine helps to ease the symptoms caused by depression, such as loss of appetite and disturbing sleep. 

Some further benefits of Imipramine are:

  • Proper sleep
  • Improved mood
  • Appetite
  • Increase energy level

These are some positive factors that help us positively in our daily lives.

Who Can Take Imipramine?

Adults who are in depression can take Imipramine.

It is also used to treat nighttime bedwetting (Enuresis)in children who are six years of age and older.

Inform your doctor if you ever had these conditions:

  • Heart diseases or strokes
  • Seizures
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Kidney or liver disease
  • Thyroid issues
  • Problems with urination
  • If you are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Allergies to medicines.

Dosage

1. Adult Dose For Depression:

Tablets (for hospitalized patients)

An initial dose of 100 mg orally once a day, increasing to 200 mg if needed.

Maintenance dose of 100- 200 mg once a day.

Maximum dose of 300 mg/ day.

Tablets (for outpatients)

An initial dose of 75 mg/ day

Maintenance dose of 50- 150 mg orally once a day

Maximum dose of 200 mg/ day. 

2. Dose For Children With Enuresis:

Tablets (6-12 years of age)

An initial dose of 25 mg orally once a day

Maintainance dose of 50 mg orally once a day

Tablets (12-18 years of age)

An initial dose of 25 mg orally once a day

Maintainance dose of 75 mg orally once a day

How Should You Take Imipramine?

Imipramine comes in tablets and capsules to be taken orally. The medicine is usually taken one or more times a day and can be consumed with or without food. 

Imipramine tablets, when used to prevent bedwetting in children, they are usually taken an hour before sleeping. Children who wet the bed in the evenings are typically given one dose in the mid-afternoon and another dose before they sleep at night. Try to take Imipramine daily at around the same time. 

Use the directions on your prescription label carefully before taking medicine. Feel free to ask your doctor if you do not understand anything. Take Imipramine precisely as directed. Do not take more, less, or more frequently than advised.(Hassman, H., 1993)

Side Effects

Report any worsening symptoms to your doctor. Some people may have suicidal thoughts after first taking antidepressants.

Common Side Effects Caused Due To Imipramine Are:

  • Tunnel vision, eye pain
  • Light-head
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Drowsiness
  • Sore Throat
  • Unusual bleeding
  • Chest pains
  • Confusion and hallucinations
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Slow or difficult speech
  • Weight gain (During treatment)
  • Weight loss (After treatment)

Can Imipramine Cause Weight Loss?

With many positive effects, most antidepressants, like any other medicine, can cause side effects to some people. Weight gain is one of the most common side effects of such antidepressants. 

In a placebo-controlled double-blind study the patients on Imipramine lost -2.2+/ -1.8 kg compared to placebo-treated subjects (+0.2+/-3.3 kg, p<.001).  

A study conducted by Gilbert H.Berken, Dorothy O.Weinstein, and Warren C.Stern stated that chronic administration of low to modest doses of tricyclic antidepressants frequently causes considerable weight gain. It also can significantly interfere with the ability to provide long-term maintenance therapy. 

Bodyweight and appetite were evaluated in 40 depressed patients from private psychiatric practice. They were receiving low to modest doses of tricyclic antidepressants such as Amitriptyline (maximum of 150 mg per day), nortriptyline(maximum of 50 mg per day), and Imipramine (maximum of 80 mg per day) were given for an average of 6 months of the treatment. A considerable weight gain of 1.3-2.9 lbs/month and an average total weight gain of 3-16 lbs. This depended on the dose, drug, and usage, which varied. 

These increases in weights were linear over time and were marked by the increased preference for sweets. 

In the end, excessive weight gain was the most common cause for the discontinuation of treatment, occurring in one-half of the patients. Significant weight loss occurred upon discontinuation of the drug.

It is nowhere stated that a patient could lose weight during the medication but may gain weight. It is only after the treatment they may lose weight drastically.(Kuhn, R., 1958)

Consulting your doctor from time to time is advisable. 

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