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Pamelor Uses: How It Helps Depression and Migraines

Pamelor medication

Pamelor Uses: How It Helps Depression and Migraines

Written by:

Rabia Khaliq

MSc in Applied Psychology


The medications listed on this website are provided for informational purposes only. Their inclusion does not guarantee that they will be prescribed to any individual, as treatment decisions are ultimately at the discretion of healthcare providers. This list is not exhaustive, and healthcare providers may prescribe other medications, including non-stimulant options, based on the patient’s unique health circumstances and needs.

Pamelor [1*] is a popular prescription antidepressant. Medical specialists find this medication more effective for the endogenous major depressive disorder caused by internal stressors instead of for an externally-influenced depressive episode.

Because of its characteristics resulting from the mechanism of action and drug class, Pamelor is not the first-line choice for depression treatment. Still, this drug has certain advantages. In this post, let’s explore the basic facts about it.

Ask a certified doctor if you need medication treatment for depression.

What Is Pamelor?

Pamelor’s generic name is nortriptyline. It is a tricyclic antidepressant used to treat depression [2*] in adults. An ideal Pamelor dosage will prove effective in improving mood and feeling of well-being, relieving tension and anxiety. By affecting the balance of specific neurotransmitters (nerve-signaling chemicals in the brain), Pamelor helps fight depression.

How to Use Pamelor

A patient must have an approved Pamelor prescription from a licensed health practitioner before starting to use Pamelor. Also, one should follow the doctor’s instructions for safe ingestion and use. Please note that the brand name Pamelor has been discontinued, but the medication is still available in generic forms.

The dosage significantly depends on a patient’s medical condition and treatment response. Most doctors recommend dividing the Pamelor dosage and taking 25 mg by mouth 1 to 4 times daily. If liquid, a patient should use a particular measuring device to measure the dose correctly. The maximum daily dose cannot exceed 150 mg. One must not skip any dose to get the most benefit from the medication.

What are the Side Effects of Using Pamelor?

The list of Pamelor’s side effects is extensive. The good thing is there are approaches to reducing the risks. For instance, the doctor will first prescribe low doses and gradually increase them.

The most common side effects are:

  • Drowsiness
  • Tiredness
  • Weakness
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Weight loss
  • Constipation
  • Unusual taste
  • Dry mouth
  • Sleep problems and insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Changes in urination
  • Excessive sweating
  • Impotence
  • Breast swelling
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Difficulty experiencing orgasm

One must contact a doctor immediately after observing some of the following serious side effects;

  • Back muscle spasms
  • A shuffling walk
  • Rash
  • Shakiness
  • Fever
  • Yellowish skin or eyes
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Suicidal thoughts

Here is how to manage some of these effects when under medication:

  • Try to get up slowly to reduce the risk of lightheadedness and dizziness
  • Keep yourself hydrated to relieve dry mouth
  • Eat more dietary fiber and exercise to prevent constipation

Communicate with a doctor immediately after observing serious side effects like persistent heartburn, severe abdominal pain, and muscle spasms. Some studies show Pamelor can increase serotonin, risking serotonin syndrome.

It would help to understand that the doctor will only prescribe any medication, including Pamelor if its benefits for the patient outweigh the side effects it exposes one to.

Consult a doctor if you experience any side effects from antidepressants.

Pamelor for Migraines

A migraine is more than just a headache. It is a neurological condition experienced [3*] by up to four million adults daily, involving chronic pain, nausea, and other symptoms. Medications in the tricyclic antidepressant class, like nortriptyline, help relieve migraines by manipulating the central nervous system to increase serotonin levels in the brain.

Doctors ideally prescribe Pamelor for depression, but several studies [4*] reveal enough evidence supporting the efficacy of Pamelor for migraines. One of the many theories behind migraines involves an imbalance in neurotransmitters like serotonin. Nortriptyline is among the few prescriptions that can restore a safe neurotransmitter balance.

Pamelor dosage

Warnings Before Taking Pamelor

Patients should take Pamelor only as prescribed by the doctor. It would help to note that antidepressant use among young patients can lead to suicidal thoughts. Also, avoid taking it if you:

  • Are allergic to nortriptyline or similar medication
  • Are allergic to seizure medications
  • Recently experienced a heart attack

Is It Safe to Take Pamelor During Pregnancy?

Not many studies focus on solving the risks of women taking Pamelor during pregnancy. These studies found no evidence of an increased risk of congenital disabilities for pregnant patients. The only verified chance with a pregnant patient using Nortriptyline is withdrawal [5*] in the baby. However, for treating depression during pregnancy, antidepressants with proven safety are considered first before choosing any alternative medication.

Consult a doctor before taking Pamelor to avoid unwanted side effects.

Pamelor Interactions

Pamelor interacts with several medications, so you should consult your doctor and let them know all medications you are taking to avoid interactions and adverse effects. Products like arbutamine, thyroid supplements, disulfiram, and specific blood pressure drugs are examples of medicines that may interact with Pamelor. Avoid taking MAO inhibitors with this drug as it may result in a possibly fatal interaction. They include phenelzine, linezolid, metaxalone, rasagiline, tranylcypromine, and methylene blue.

Taking medication that increases serotonin levels in the body increases the risk of serotonin syndrome. They primarily include street psychiatric drugs like lithium and antidepressants like fluoxetine. Drugs treating irregular heart rates will affect the effectiveness of nortriptyline by facilitating its removal from the body.


Nortriptyline is a medication with several uses in the field of medicine. The medical practitioner might prescribe this antidepressant to treat depression and migraine. Following the doctor’s dosage and ingestion instructions is crucial to achieving the desired medical results and avoiding severe complications like side effects, withdrawal, or addiction. Contact MEDvidi doctors to know what medication will work best for you, and get prescription for depression online.


+5 sources
  1. Pamelor
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  2. Nortriptyline for treatment-resistant depression. (2003)
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  3. Migraine prophylaxis in adult patients. (2000)
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  4. Topiramate plus nortriptyline in the preventive treatment of migraine: a controlled study for nonresponders. (2012)
    Source link
  5. Nortriptyline (Aventyl®). (2022)
    Source link
Written by:

Rabia Khaliq

MSc in Applied Psychology
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Evidence Based

This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by experts.

Our team of experts strive to be objective, unbiased, honest and to present both sides of the argument.

This article contains scientific references. The numbers
in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.