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What Is Maprotiline Used For?

How Maprotiline Works

Although maprotiline is technically a tetracyclic antidepressant (due to its chemical structure), most sources consider it to be a tricyclic antidepressant because it is so similar to other tricyclic antidepressants. Tricyclic antidepressants are an older group of medications that have been used to treat depression for many years. Even though maprotiline has been around for a long time, it is not entirely clear how it works. Maprotiline affects several chemicals in the brain, including serotonin and norepinephrine.

Is Maprotiline Used in Children and Teens?

Maprotiline is not recommended for use in people under 18 years old, as it has not been thoroughly studied in children or teens. Antidepressants have been shown to increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in short-term research studies involving children and teenagers (see Maprotiline and Suicide for more information on the risks of suicide with maprotiline). Talk to your healthcare provider about treatment options for childhood or teen depression.

Is Maprotiline Used Off-Label?

On occasion, your healthcare provider may recommend maprotiline for treating something other than depression. This is called an "off-label" use. At this time, there are several off-label maprotiline uses, including:
  • Chronic pain: Maprotiline works best for chronic pain that is nerve-related, such as nerve pain from having shingles (including postherpetic neuralgia).
  • Anxiety disorder not associated with depression: Many antidepressants (including Maprotiline) are used to treat anxiety disorders.
  • Bedwetting: Maprotiline has been used to help people stop bedwetting.
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): Maprotiline can be used to treat ADHD, especially if other ADHD medications have not been effective or cause side effects.
  • Fibromyalgia: Maprotiline has been used to treat pain and other symptoms of fibromyalgia.
  • Prevention of tension headaches: Maprotiline can be used on a daily basis to prevent tension headaches.
  • Treatment for bulimia: Maprotiline can help improve bulimia symptoms, including binge eating and vomiting.
  • Maprotiline is sometimes used to help people quit smoking.
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