Tricyclic antidepressants are one of the more popular drugs used to fight depression in people today. Known as the “first generation” antidepressants because Tricyclic antidepressants were the first medications to come into use in the 1950’s to treat depression. They are still one of the better drugs to treat not only depression but have been found to treat chronic pain also. None of the Tricyclic antidepressants have been approved by the government to be used for chronic pain; they are one of the basic treatments for pain even when no depression is involved. These antidepressants seem to work effectively for the burning or searing pain common after nerve damage which may occur with shingles, diabetes, and strokes. This medication can only be prescribed by your doctor, only he or she knows your specific condition and would be able to tell you if using this drug is a good idea for you to use. There are some side effects that come with this drug however, most people claim it’s a “slight nuisance.”
It is not fully understood why Tricyclic antidepressants work so well on killing the pain. The theory is that these type of antidepressants increase neurotransmitters in the spinal cord that reduces pain signals. However, Tricyclic antidepressants do not work immediately and you may have to take them for several weeks before they start reducing pain. The good thing about using Tricyclic antidepressants is they are not addicting or cause people to become dependent on them but they do have the ability to make you drowsy at first. Your doctor will probably prescribe them for you to take at night before you go to bed. Side effects can be anything from causing dry mouth, sleepiness, constipation and weight gain, difficulty with urination, and changes in blood pressure. To reduce side effects, your doctor will probably start you on a low dose and increase the dosage until the one that is right for you is achieved.
Other side effects you will want to watch out for are dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting may occur, especially when getting up from a sitting or lying position, it’s recommended to rise slowly when getting up. Tricyclic antidepressants may cause your skin to be more sensitive to sunlight than normal. Be aware of how long you are out in strong sunlight when you first start this medication until you know if it will have an adverse affect on your skin. Getting too much exposure from the sun may cause a skin rash, itching, redness or other discoloration; even server sunburn may be an adverse effect from this medication. It is suggested that one stay out of the sunlight during the hours of 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. if possible. Be sure to apply a good sunblock to exposed areas of skin when taking Tricyclic antidepressants, with at least an SPF of 15, and for fair skin a sunblock with a higher SPF rating. Be sure to discuss these types of topics and any others you may have a concern about with your doctor before you start taking any medication. You want your medication to work for you so it will help you get well.
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