Mental Health Home > Vivactil

Vivactil is a tricyclic antidepressant that is prescribed for the treatment of depression. It works by allowing certain chemicals to stay in the brain longer. The medication comes in tablet form, and is generally taken three to four times a day. Most people tolerate it well, but possible side effects may include difficulty urinating, constipation, and dizziness or lightheadedness.

What Is Vivactil?

Vivactil® (protriptyline hydrochloride) is a prescription medication that is used to treat depression (also known as major depression or clinical depression).
(Click Vivactil Uses for more information, including possible off-label uses for the drug.)

Who Makes It?

Vivactil is made by Duramed Pharmaceuticals.

How Does Vivactil Work?

Vivactil belongs to a class of medications called tricyclic antidepressants. It is not entirely clear how Vivactil works. It does affect several chemicals in the brain, including serotonin and norepinephrine. It is thought that perhaps the medication allows these chemicals to stay in the brain longer, which can help with depression symptoms.

When and How Do I Take It?

Considerations for when and how to take Vivactil include the following:
  • The medication comes in tablet form. When used for depression, it is usually taken by mouth three to four times daily.
  • You can take it with or without food. If the medication upsets your stomach, try taking it with food.
  • The medication should be taken at the same times each day to maintain an even level in your blood.
  • For Vivactil to work properly, you have to take it as prescribed. The medication will not work if you stop taking it.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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