Why is nortriptyline taken at night?

Nortriptyline is often taken at night because it can cause drowsiness and sedation, which may interfere with daily activities if taken during the day. Taking nortriptyline at night can help individuals with depression, anxiety, or chronic pain to fall asleep more easily and stay asleep longer, while also reducing the risk of daytime drowsiness.

In addition, taking nortriptyline at night may help to enhance its effectiveness in treating certain conditions, such as depression or anxiety. This is because the body’s natural circadian rhythm, or sleep-wake cycle, affects the way that medications are absorbed, metabolized, and distributed throughout the body. Some medications, including nortriptyline, may be more effective when taken at specific times of the day or night, based on their pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties.

It is important to follow all instructions for taking nortriptyline and to take it on a regular schedule, as directed by a healthcare provider. If you have any concerns about the timing or dosing of nortriptyline, it is important to discuss these with a healthcare provider, who can help determine the most appropriate treatment plan based on individual needs and medical history.


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:

  • The British National Formulary (BNF)
  • Electronic medicines compendium (emc)
  • The National Library of Medicine's DailyMed
  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 
  • Different drug forms like tablets or liquids have specific patient information leaflets (PIL) for various doses. Refer to the PIL for your prescribed drug form and dose.

    Search for PILs on websites like:

    France

    • ANSM (Agence nationale de sécurité du médicament et des produits de santé): ansm.sante.fr

    Spain

    • AEMPS (Agencia Española de Medicamentos y Productos Sanitarios): aemps.gob.es

    Germany

    • BfArM (Bundesinstitut für Arzneimittel und Medizinprodukte): bfarm.de

    Italy

    For questions about your medication:

    • Consult your doctor, a healthcare professional, or a pharmacist

    France

    • Contact SOS Médecins: 3624
    • For mental health support, contact SOS Suicide: 01 45 39 40 00

    Belgium (French)

    Switzerland (French)

    • La Main Tendue: 143
    • Website: 143.ch

    Canada (French)

    • Centre de prévention du suicide du Québec: 1 866 APPELLE (1 866 277-3553)
    • Website: cpsquebec.ca

    Spain

    • Contact emergency number: 112
    • For mental health support, contact Teléfono de la Esperanza: 717 003 717

    Germany

    • Contact emergency number: 112
    • For mental health support, contact Telefonseelsorge: 0800 111 0 111 or 0800 111 0 222

    Italy

    • Contact emergency number: 112
    • For mental health support, contact Telefono Amico: 199 284 284

    Netherlands

    • Contact emergency number: 112
    • For mental health support, contact 113 Zelfmoordpreventie: 0800 0113

    Portugal

    • Contact emergency number: 112
    • For mental health support, contact Sos Voz Amiga: 21 354 45 45, 91 280 26 69, or 96 352 46 60

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