Published on 24 November 2021

How Long Does Imipramine Stay In Your System?

Tofranil (Imipramine) how-long-does-imipramine-stay-in-your-system-1
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Imipramine is an antidepressant medication sold under the brand name Tofranil. It comes under a class of drugs called tricyclic antidepressants. It is used to treat depression and bedwetting in children under six.

It is available as tablets and oral liquid medicine. You can also buy Imipramine online from a certified online pharmacy, but getting a doctor's prescription is recommended first.

What Is Imipramine?

Imipramine was first developed in 1951 as an antihistamine. In 1952, antipsychotic effects of chlorpromazine were discovered but with slight effectiveness. Imipramine was then studied and developed as an antipsychotic for use in patients with schizophrenia.

However, Imipramine was fortunately found to possess antidepressant properties in the mid-1950s. Then, in the late 1950s, it was the first TCA developed (by Ciba). Chemically, this drug belongs to the dibenzazepine family.

Imipramine has additional benefits in treating chronic pain, panic attacks, and Kleine-Levin syndrome.
It is also limited in treating ADHD, migraines, and post-concussive syndrome. In pediatric patients, it is relatively frequently used to treat nocturnal enuresis.

How Does Imipramine Work?

The mechanism of action of Imipramine is similar to that of other tricyclic antidepressants. Imipramine treats depression by increasing the number of natural neurotransmitters, such as norepinephrine, in the brain, which is needed to maintain mental balance.

Imipramine has more serotonin effects initially, then balances this effect with more norepinephrine transport inhibition. On the other hand, it is highly anticholinergic and is a relatively effective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. It also has moderate activity for alpha-1 adrenoreceptors and Histamine-1 receptors.

Dosages Of Imipramine

Medical condition

Initial dosage

Maintenance dosage

Maximum dosage

Depression in adults

Inpatients: 100mg/day Outpatients: 75mg/day

Inpatients: 100-200mg/day. Outpatients: 50-150mg/day

Inpatients: 300mg/day Outpatients: 200mg/day

Pediatric Dose for Enuresis(6-12yr olds)



2.5 mg/kg/day

Pediatric Dose for Enuresis(12-18yr olds)



2.5 mg/kg/day

If you miss a dose, take the medication as soon as you remember. If it's time for your next dose, skip the missed dose, and continue your regular dosing schedule.

Note: Taking Antidepressants showed an increased risk compared to a placebo of suicidal thoughts in patients, especially adolescents, children, and young adults in studies of major depressive disorder (MDD) and other psychiatric disorders.

Frequently asked questions

MAO inhibitors (such as Metaxalone, Dicarboxamide, Methylene blue, Procarbazine, Safinamide, Phenelzine, Linezolid, Selegiline, and Moclobemide) with Imipramine may result in a possibly fatal outcome.
Usually, antidepressants are more likely to cause weight gain than others. These include certain TCAs such as Amitriptyline, Imipramine, and Doxepin.
Do not discontinue taking Imipramine without first checking with your doctor. Your doctor will gradually reduce the amount you use before stopping it completely.

Imipramine can balance neurotransmitters in the brain. Neurotransmitters regulate the transmission of nerve impulses between cells. The correct balance of neurotransmitters results in mental well-being. Imipramine increases the concentration of specific neurotransmitters, serotonin, and norepinephrine. It also blocks the action of acetylcholine.

This drug is not always immediate when you start taking Tofranil. Usually, benefits are not evident until two to three weeks after beginning treatment.

How Long Does Imipramine Stay In Your System?

The average half-life of Imipramine is around 19 hours. Half-life refers to the time your body takes to reduce the medication in your blood by 50 percent. Usually, about 80% of Imipramine is removed through urine and the rest 20% through feces.

The duration time of Imipramine depends on several factors, such as age, metabolism, frequency, and more. Since every person's body functions differently, the time taken to eliminate Imipramine from your body might vary.

Different tests are available to determine how long Imipramine stays in your body. The average time Imipramine stays in your urine, blood, and hair:

Urine Imipramine can be found in your urine for around 3-4 days.
Blood Imipramine can be found in your blood for up to 24 hours.
Hair Imipramine can be detected in the hair follicles for approximately 90 days.

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Factors That Affect The Stay Of Imipramine

Age: an individual's age influences how long a drug stays in their system. A younger person's organs and metabolism are better than his older peers. If the patient is young, it will take less time for Imipramine to leave the system than the older patients.

Body (height/weight/ fat): the amount of Imipramine your doctor prescribes depends on your height, weight, and fats. Taking more than the recommended dosage will extend the time taken to eliminate the drug.

Genetics: genetic factors can also influence how long Imipramine stays in your body and affect the reaction of Imipramine in the body.

Kidney and liver functions: your liver and kidney are responsible for processing and eliminating everything you put into your mouth. If your liver or kidney is damaged, then, in turn, it will take a longer time for you to eliminate the drug.

Metabolism: the faster your rate of metabolism, the quicker it will take for you to process foods, liquids, and medication, including Imipramine. Thus if you have a slow metabolism rate, it will take longer to get rid of the drug.

Usage frequency: the frequency at which you have been using Imipramine also defines how long it will take to get rid of the drug. If you take Imipramine at high dosages frequently, it will stay in your system longer and vice versa.

Side Effects Of Imipramine

Common Side Effects Side Effects On Children
Nausea Stomach pain
Drowsiness Nervousness
Constipation Nausea
Blurred vision Vomiting
Dizziness Tiredness
Diarrhea Stomach cramps

If they are mild, these side effects might go away within a few days or weeks. While using Imipramine, you might develop suicidal thoughts if you are under 24 years. Contact your doctor or concerned medical professional regarding abnormal studies or if you have any severe side effects, such as:

  • Blistering or bleeding easily
  • Vision Speech or balance issues
  • Unexpected numbness or weakness
  • Unusual bleeding (nose, mouth, vagina, or rectum),
  • Yellowing of the eyes or skin
  • New or worsening chest discomfort
  • Dizziness
  • Pounding heartbeats or fluttering in the chest

Adverse Drug Interactions

  • Imipramine, like other TCAs, has several drug interactions of which to be aware. If you are taking this medication, ensure that you are made aware of the following drug interaction Safety information:
  • Antihistamine: causes an increase in the soothing effects
  • Alcohol: increases the sedative effects of Imipramine.
  • Antiepileptic agents: Imipramine decreases the antiepileptic effects of such medications.
  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs): Individuals should not start on MAOIs until one to two weeks after stopping Imipramine.
  • Barbiturates: Imipramine antagonizes the anticonvulsant effects of barbiturates.
  • Anxiolytics and hypnotics: cause an increase in sedative effects during concurrent administration.
  • Antihypertensive: increases hypotensive effects when mixed with Imipramine.

Bottom Line From Practical Anxiety Solutions

Imipramine is an antidepressant drug used to treat depression and bedwetting in children. The average half-life of Imipramine is 19 hours. The time for which Imipramine stays in your body varies from person to person. Many factors like age, body composition, metabolism rate, frequency of the drug, etc., influence the stay of Imipramine.