Skip Navigation

Tricyclic Antidepressants

What is it?

Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) are prescription drugs used specifically to treat depression and chronic pain. TCAs are not considered addictive.

How is it used?

TCAs are available in tablet and liquid forms to be taken orally and also in a liquid to be given intravenously.

Sign of usage:

Drowsiness, dry mouth, blurred vision, constipation, dizziness, increased appetite and weight gain are all signs of TCA usage.

Effects of withdrawal:

TCAs aren’t addictive, however, stopping treatment abruptly or missing several doses can cause withdrawal-like symptoms such as: nausea, headache, dizziness, lethargy and flu-like symptoms.

Adverse reactions:

TCAs may cause some people to be agitated, irritable or display other abnormal behaviors. They may cause suicidal thoughts and tendencies to become more depressed. Use of TCAs may also cause the skin to be more sensitive to sunlight, producing a rash, itching, and severe sunburn. TCA overdose can result in severe central nervous system depression. Overdose of TCA is the most common cause of death from a prescription drug.

Usage by youth:

Prescription drug abuse is on the rise with use due to the widespread availability of the drugs. While TCA is not considered addictive, improper dosage and combinations with alcohol or other drugs may prove fatal.

Recent Developments:

Combining TCAs and opiates can achieve a prolonged feeling of euphoria and pleasant visual and auditory hallucinations. TCAs are widely available through the internet, by prescription, and by stealing them from medicine cabinets.

Information provided by Dr. Barbara A. Krantz, Chief Medical Officer at the Hanley Center

First Check Diagnostics, LLC is offering these resources for informational purposes only, and the Hanley Center is no way affiliated with any of the entities that provide the resources.