Precautions

It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to allow for changes in your dose. Blood tests may be needed to check for any unwanted effects.

For some children, teenagers, and young adults, this medicine can increase thoughts of suicide. Tell your doctor right away if you start to feel more depressed and have thoughts about hurting yourself. Report any unusual thoughts or behaviors that trouble you, especially if they are new or get worse quickly. Make sure the doctor knows if you have trouble sleeping, get upset easily, have a big increase in energy, or start to act reckless. Also tell the doctor if you have sudden or strong feelings, such as feeling nervous, angry, restless, violent, or scared. Let the doctor know if you or anyone in your family has bipolar disorder (manic-depressive) or has tried to commit suicide.

Do not use nortriptyline with a monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor (eg, isocarboxazid [Marplan®], linezolid (Zyvox®), methylene blue, phenelzine [Nardil®], selegiline [Eldepryl®], tranylcypromine [Parnate®]). Do not start using nortriptyline during the 2 weeks after you stop a MAO inhibitor. Wait 2 weeks after stopping nortriptyline before you start using a MAO inhibitor. If you take them together or do not wait 2 weeks, you may develop confusion, agitation, restlessness, stomach or bowel symptoms, a sudden high body temperature, an extremely high blood pressure, or severe convulsions (seizures).

Nortriptyline may cause a serious condition called serotonin syndrome if taken together with certain medicines. Do not use nortriptyline with buspirone (Buspar®), fentanyl (Abstral®, Duragesic®), lithium (Eskalith®, Lithobid®), tryptophan, St. John's wort, or some pain or migraine medicines (eg, sumatriptan, tramadol, Frova®, Maxalt®, Relpax®, Zomig®). Check with your doctor first before using any other medicines with nortriptyline.

This medicine may increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Check with your doctor right away if you are having chest pain or discomfort, nausea or vomiting, pain or discomfort in the arms, jaw, back, or neck, trouble breathing, slurred speech, or weakness.

Make sure your doctor knows if you have a heart disorder called Brugada syndrome. Brugada syndrome can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Call your doctor or the emergency department right away if you have a fast, pounding, or uneven heartbeat, unexplained fainting, lightheadedness, or troubled breathing after using this medicine.

Do not stop using this medicine without checking first with your doctor. Your doctor may want you to gradually reduce the amount you are using before stopping it completely. This may help prevent a possible worsening of your condition and reduce the possibility of withdrawal symptoms such as headache, nausea, or a general feeling of discomfort or illness.

This medicine will add to the effects of alcohol and other central nervous system (CNS) depressants (medicines that cause drowsiness). Some examples of CNS depressants are antihistamines or medicines for hay fever, other allergies or colds, sedatives, tranquilizers, or sleeping medicines, prescription pain medicine or narcotics, medicines for seizures or barbiturates, muscle relaxants, or anesthetics, including some dental anesthetics. Check with your doctor before using any of these medicines with nortriptyline.

Before having any kind of surgery, tell the medical doctor in charge that you are using this medicine. Taking nortriptyline together with medicines used during surgery may increase the risk of side effects.

This medicine may cause some people to become drowsy. Do not drive or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how this medicine affects you.

Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.