Doxepin, which belongs to a group of drugs called tricyclic antidepressants, is used to treat a multitude of mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety. It works by fixing the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain, which then improves one’s mood, increases their feelings of well-being, relieves anxiety, helps them sleep better, and increases their overall energy level.
Use and Dosage
This medication is typically taken by mouth, 1-3 times a day, or as directed by your doctor. If you’re prescribed to take it only once a day, you should take it at bedtime to prevent abnormal daytime sleepiness. Exact dosage, however, depends on your underlying medical condition and initial response to treatment—it is likely that your doctor will start you on a small dose and then gradually increase it as needed, in order to reduce your risk of experiencing unwanted side effects.
It is important that you take Doxepin exactly as instructed by your doctor—this means that you take only the amount prescribed, when instructed to do so, and you do not abruptly stop taking the medication. If you do wish to go off of Doxepin, simply talk to your doctor about your concerns who can then gradually ween you off of it—this will prevent any conditions from worsening or harmful side effects from emerging, such as mood swings, headaches, and tiredness. Furthermore, Doxepin may not work immediately; it often takes at least a week or so before benefits are observed.
Possible Side Effects
As with the start of most new medications, Doxepin may produce some unwanted side effects, which range in severity. These side effects, however, do not typically outweigh the benefits of the medication. And if they persist or worsen, a simple discussion with your doctor may lead to a simple solution so you can continue to reap the benefits of Doxepin. Still, it is important you’re aware of possible mild, serious, and severe effects this medication may cause:
- Possible mild effects include drowsiness, dizziness, blurred vision, constipation, trouble urinating, dry mouth. To reduce your risk of dizziness, get up slowly from sitting and lying positions; to relieve dry mouth, try chewing gum, sucking on ice, or drink a lot of water; and to prevent constipation, maintain a diet rich in fiber and water.
- Possible serious effects include persistent heartburn, anxiety, agitation, confusion, severe stomach pain, and shaking. Tell your doctor right away if you experience any of these effects.
- Possible severe effects include severe dizziness, fainting, seizures, fast or irregular heartbeat, eye pain or swelling, widened pupils, or other strange changes in vision. You should seek medical help right away if you develop any of these side effects.
You can also have a very serious allergic reaction to Doxepin—though this seldom occurs, you should be aware of the symptoms, which include a rash, itching, swelling, difficulty breathing, and severe dizziness. If you do experience any of these symptoms, you should again seek medical help right away.
Before Taking Doxepin
It is vital you take precautionary measures anytime you’re considering a new medication, as they have very real and direct effects on your everyday life. Before you start taking Doxepin it is vital you first…
- Talk to your doctor about existing allergies, especially to other tricyclic antidepressants (e.g., nortriptyline). This product may contain inactive ingredients that can cause allergic reactions or other issues.
- Discuss your medical history with your doctor, especially of bleeding or breathing problems, liver issues, heart attacks, and problems urinating. Furthermore, a personal or family history of glaucoma, bipolar disorder, psychosis, and suicide, are notable as well.
- Understand all of Doxepin’s possible side effects and risks, as dizziness or drowsiness may occur, which will affect your ability to drive, use machinery, or perform any other activity that requires alertness and clear vision. Doxepin can also cause a condition that affects heart rhythm—this particular condition can then (though rarely) cause a fast or irregular heartbeat and other severe symptoms that require immediate medical attention. And finally, this medication may make you abnormally sensitive to the sun; you should therefore use sunscreen generously, limit your time spent in the sun, and avoid tanning booths.