A tricyclic antidepressant medication taken to relieve depression and improve mood and sometimes to relieve chronic neurogenic (nerve-based) pain. Common brand names are Pamelor and Aventyl. As do other tricyclic antide-pressants, nortriptyline extends the brain’s neuro-transmittEr action by blocking neurotransmitter reuptake. It primarily acts on norEpinEphrinE and serotonin. A significant side effect of use of nortriptyline is orthostatic hypotEnsion, or a drop in blood pressure that occurs when one changes position from lying down to sitting or sitting to standing. As many anti-parkinson’s medications can have a similar side effect, adding nortriptyline to the mix can compound the problem.
Nortriptyline has been reportedly associated with EXTRAPYRAMIDAL SYMPTOMS such as DYSKINESIA (especially tardive dyskinesia) in a few case reports and can rarely worsen existing symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Generally, a person who has Parkinson’s should first consider other medications for depression, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) medications, before taking nortriptyline or any of the other tricyclic antide-pressants. Nortriptyline cannot be taken when other antidepressants are also taken.