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Systematic (IUPAC) name
10, 11-dihydro-5-[3-(methylamino) propyl]-5H-dibenz[b,f]azepine monohydrochloride
CAS number 50-47-5
ATC code N06AA01
PubChem 2995
DrugBank APRD00022
Chemical data
Formula C18H22N2 
Mol. mass 266.381
Pharmacokinetic data
Bioavailability 73-92%
Metabolism Hepatic
Half life 21-23 hours
Excretion Renal
Therapeutic considerations
Pregnancy cat.


Legal status

Rx only

Routes oral

Desipramine is a tricyclic antidepressant (TCA) that inhibits the reuptake of norepinephrine. It is sold under the brand names Norpramin® and Pertofrane®. It is used to treat depression, but not considered a first line treatment since the introduction of SSRI antidepressants. Desipramine is an active metabolite of imipramine.

Along with other tricyclics, desipramine has found use in treating neuropathic pain. The mechanism of action seems to involve the activation, through norepinephrine reuptake inhibition, of descending pathways in the spinal cord that block pain signals from ascending to the brain. Desipramine is one of the most potent and selective medications in this respect. It may also be used to treat symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder, as the underproduction of norepinephrine has been increasingly linked to symptoms associated with Attention Deficit Disorder.


Desipramin has been shown to be genotoxic in fruit flies and associated with an increased risk of breast cancer in women.[1]

See also

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Desipramine". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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