Is nortriptyline a high risk medication?

Nortriptyline is not considered a high-risk medication in the same way that some other medications, such as opioids or benzodiazepines, are. However, like any medication, nortriptyline can cause side effects, some of which may be serious. It may also interact with other medications, so it is important to discuss any medications or medical conditions with a healthcare provider before taking nortriptyline.

Here are some of the potential risks and side effects associated with nortriptyline:

  1. Cardiovascular effects: Nortriptyline can cause changes in heart rate and rhythm, as well as other cardiovascular effects, especially in individuals with pre-existing heart conditions.
  2. Weight gain: Nortriptyline can cause weight gain, especially when taken for long periods of time. This side effect may be due to increased appetite and metabolic changes.
  3. Movement disorders: Nortriptyline can cause movement disorders, such as tremors or dystonia, especially in older individuals or those with pre-existing movement disorders.
  4. Cognitive effects: Nortriptyline can affect cognitive function, including memory, attention, and decision-making abilities. This side effect may be more common in older individuals or those with pre-existing cognitive impairments.
  5. Dependence: Long-term use of nortriptyline may lead to dependence, tolerance, and withdrawal symptoms if the medication is discontinued abruptly.

It is important to use nortriptyline only under the guidance of a healthcare provider, who can help determine the most appropriate treatment plan based on individual needs and medical history. Regular monitoring and screening for potential side effects may also be recommended for individuals taking nortriptyline for extended periods of time.

There are various forms of drugs available, such as tablets or liquids, and each may have a separate patient information leaflet (PIL) for different doses. It is important to refer to the PIL for the specific form and dose of the drug that you have been prescribed.

You can search for further information and PILs on websites such as: