Meds and you

Updated 11 February 2013

Lofepramine

Lofepramine is an antidepressant drug prescribed for the treatment of depression and associated anxiety/panic disorders.

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Lofepramine is the active ingredient of Emdalen.

General information

Lofepramine is an antidepressant drug prescribed for the treatment of depression and associated anxiety/panic disorders. It is of particular use in patients with ongoing feelings of sadness, despair, worthlessness, hopelessness, fatigue, pessimism and difficulty dealing with normal daily life.

Lofepramine elevates mood, increases physical activity, improves appetite and restores interest in everyday activities.

This medication appears to have milder side effects compared to related drugs and is also less sedating, making it suitable in patients whose symptoms tend towards withdrawal and apathy .

It may take several weeks for the full benefit of lofepramine to be achieved. During this period, it is important to continue taking this medication.

Because of its effect on appetite, many taking lofepramine may experience unwelcome weight gain.

How does lofepramine work?

Lofepramine has an effect on serotonin, noradrenaline and acethylcholine. These brain chemicals play an important role in mood, emotion, mental state and anxiety, and by elevating these brain chemicals, the conditions for which lofepramine are indicated, are greatly improved.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: Schedule 5

Available as : Lofepramine is available as tablets

What does it do? Lofepramine is an antidepressant

Overdose risk: Medium

Dependence risk: Low

Is lofepramine available as a generic? Yes

Is lofepramine available on prescription only? Yes

User information

Onset of effect: antidepressant effect is only evident after 3-6 weeks; to induce sedation, the drug is effective within a couple of hours

Duration of action: as an antidepressant, the effects may continue for as long as 6 weeks after discontinuing the drug

Dietary advice: take lofepramine with food to reduce gastrointestinal side effects

Stopping this medicine: stopping this medication too soon may cause a recurrence of the original symptoms; always consult your doctor before discontinuing this medication

Prolonged use: no problems are foreseen; tolerance to many side effects may occur over time

Special precautions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if:

  • you have epilepsy
  • you have impaired liver or kidney function
  • you had a recent heart attack
  • you have a thyroid condition
  • you have an enlarged prostate or have difficulty in passing urine
  • you have glaucoma
  • you are taking other medication

Pregnancy: avoid. Potential risk to the foetus has been reported. Consult your doctor before use, or if you are planning to fall pregnant.

Breastfeeding: avoid. It is not known how this medication may affect your baby. Consult your doctor before use.

Porphyria: avoid. This medication may cause serious adverse effects. Consult your doctor before use.

Infants and children: safety and efficacy of this medication has not been established for children under the age of 18 and use in these patients is not recommended.

The elderly: caution is advised in the elderly as side effects may be more severe.

Driving and hazardous work: caution is advised as use of this medication may lead to dizziness, light-headedness and/or sedation. Avoid such activities until you know how this medication affects you.

Alcohol: avoid concomitant use of alcohol with this medication as alcohol may potentiate sedative effects.

Possible side effects

Side effect

Frequency

Consult your doctor

Common

Rare

Only if severe

In all cases

drowsiness, dizziness

x

x

dry mouth

x

x

headache

x

x

nausea/ vomiting

x

x

sweating

x

x

constipation

x

x

difficulty urinating

x

x

hallucinations

x

x

fatigue

x

x

blurred vision

x

x

impaired concentration

x

x

difficulty breathing

x

x

seizures

x

x

palpitations

x

x

fever/ sore throat

x

x

Interactions

Drug interactions

warfarin

blood-clotting time may be affected

antihistamines

increased risk of heart rhythm disturbance

barbiturates

reduced lofepramine efficacy

benzodiazepines

possible increase in sedative effects

cimetidine

possible lofepramine toxicity

fluoxetine

increased risk of serotonin toxicity

fluvoxamine

increased risk of lofepramine toxicity

monoamine oxidase-inhibitors

serious interactions may occur - wait at least after stopping MAOI before starting lofepramine

nitrates

possible reduced effect on sublingual (under tongue) nitrates

oral contraceptives

increased risk of lofepramine toxicity

rifampicin

reduced lofepramine effect

sertraline

increased risk of serotonin toxicity

tobacco

possible reduced effect of l ofepramine

Disease interactions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if you have epilepsy, glaucoma, abnormal heart rhythms, impaired liver or kidney function, had a recent heart attack, have a thyroid condition or if you have an enlarged prostate.

Overdose action

A small overdose is no cause for concern. In case of intentional large overdose seek emergency medical attention.

Recommended dosage

Adults: 140-210 mg daily given as 2-3 divided doses

This material is not intended to substitute medical advice, but is for informational purposes only. Please consult a physician for specific treatment and recommendations.

 

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