Amoxapine | Side Effects, Dosage, Uses & More
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Generic Name:

amoxapine, Oral tablet

All Brands

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Highlights for amoxapine

Oral tablet
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Amoxapine is used to treat depression.

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This drug comes in the form of a tablet you take by mouth.

3

Amoxapine used to be available as the brand-name drug called Asendin. Asendin has been discontinued by the manufacturer. Amoxapine is now available only as a generic drug.

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The more common side effects of this drug include drowsiness, dry mouth, blurry vision, and constipation.

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This drug may increase thoughts of harming yourself. This side effect is most likely to happen within the first few months that you start using it. The chance of this side effect is also increased during changes in dosage. This risk is higher in children, teenagers, and young adults. You, family members, caregivers, and your doctor should watch for any unusual changes in mood, behaviors, thoughts, or feelings while you take this drug, especially when you first start taking it or if your dosage is changed.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

FDA warning

This drug has a black box warning. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A black box warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

Suicidal behavior warning. Amoxapine may increase suicidal thoughts and behaviors. This side effect is most likely to happen within the first few months that you start using it. The chance of this side effect is also increased during changes in dosage. This risk is higher in children, teenagers, and young adults. You, family members, caregivers, and your doctor should watch for any unusual changes in mood, behaviors, thoughts, or feelings while you take this drug, especially when you first start taking it or if your dosage is changed.

Neuroleptic malignant syndrome

Amoxapine can cause a condition called neuroleptic malignant syndrome, which is rare, but very serious. It can cause death and must be treated in a hospital. If you become severely ill and experience any symptoms such as high fever, excessive sweating, rigid muscles, confusion, or changes in breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure, immediately contact your doctor.

Body movement disorder

Taking this drug can cause a disorder that can cause uncontrollable body movements. This disorder is called tardive dyskinesia, and sometimes it’s not reversible. The movements caused by this disorder usually affect your face and tongue. The risk of it being irreversible is believed to increase the longer you take the drug, especially if you take it with antipsychotic drugs. This disorder can even happen after you stop taking the amoxapine. Tell your doctor if you have any body movements that you can’t control after you start taking this drug.

What is amoxapine?

Amoxapine is a prescription drug. It’s available as an oral tablet. It’s only available as a generic drug.

It may be used as part of a combination therapy. This means you may need to take it with other medications.

Why it's used

Amoxapine is used to treat depression.

How it works

Amoxapine belongs to a class of drugs called dibenzoxazepine antidepressants.

More Details

How it works

Amoxapine belongs to a class of drugs called dibenzoxazepine antidepressants. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

It’s not known exactly how amoxapine works to help treat depression. It’s believed to help keep the level of certain chemicals called norepinephrine and serotonin at a higher level in your brain. These chemicals help improve your mood.

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amoxapine Side Effects

Oral tablet

More Common Side Effects

The more common side effects of amoxapine can include:

  • drowsiness

  • dry mouth

  • constipation

  • blurred vision

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious Side Effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 9-1-1 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • Thoughts about suicide (killing yourself) or dying

  • Attempts to commit suicide

  • New or worse depression

  • New or worse anxiety

  • Agitation or restlessness

  • Panic attacks

  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia)

  • New or worse irritability

  • Aggressive, angry, or violent behavior

  • Acting on dangerous impulses

  • An extreme increase in activity and talking (mania)

  • Eye problems. Symptoms can include:

    • eye pain
    • changes in vision, such as blurred vision and difficulty focusing your eyes
    • swelling or redness in or around your eyes
  • Neuroleptic malignant syndrome. Symptoms can include:

    • high fever
    • excessive sweating
    • rigid muscles
    • confusion
    • changes in your breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure
  • Tardive dyskinesia. Symptoms can include:

    • uncontrolled body movements, especially in your face and tongue

Amoxapine and Suicide

Amoxapine belongs to a class of drugs called dibenzoxapine antidepressants, or tricyclic antidepressants. This class of drugs helps increase norepinephrine and serotonin levels, which can in turn help ease symptoms of depression.

One side effect of amoxapine is that it may cause suicidal thoughts, or thoughts of harming yourself. This is most common within the first few months of taking the drug, and may be increased by changes in dosage. Pay close attention to any unusual changes in mood, behaviors, thoughts or feelings when taking amoxapine, especially when you begin taking the drug or if your dosage is changed. Contact your health care provider immediately if you notice any unusual or concerning changes. If your symptoms feel life threatening, call 9-1-1.

Learn more about antidepressants and suicide risk here.

Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

Amoxapine may cause drowsiness. This is most likely during the first few hours after you take it.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
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amoxapine May Interact with Other Medications

Oral tablet

Amoxapine can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well.

To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Alcohol interaction

The use of drinks that contain alcohol can increase your risk of sedation and drowsiness from amoxapine. It may also increase the danger that can occur in any intentional or unintentional overdose. If you drink alcohol, talk to your doctor.

Medications that might interact with this drug

Drugs you should not take with amoxapine
  • Monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors, such as isocarboxazid, phenelzine, tranylcypromine. Do not take amoxapine together with MAO inhibitors. Taking these drugs together can cause a very high fever, seizures, or even death. You must wait at least 14 days between taking MAOIs and amoxapine.

Drugs that increase the risk of side effects
  • Barbiturates such as butalbital, mephobarbital, pentobarbital, and phenobarbital. Taking these drugs with amoxapine can increase sedation and drowsiness.
  • Alcohol. Drinking alcohol with amoxapine can increase sedation and drowsiness.
  • Cimetidine. Taking this drug with amoxapine may increase the levels of amoxapine in your body. This may increase your risk of side effects like drowsiness and dry mouth.
  • Quinidine. Taking this drug with amoxapine may increase the levels of amoxapine in your body. This may increase your risk of side effects from amoxapine, such as trouble sleeping, irritability, and tardive dyskinesia, which is a movement disorder of the mouth and face.
  • Anitarrhythmics, such as propafenone and flecainide. Taking these drugs with amoxapine may increase amoxapine levels in your body. This can increase the risk of side effects like drowsiness and dry mouth.
  • Other antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These drugs include citalopram, duloxetine, escitalopram, fluoxetine, paroxetine, and sertraline. Taking these drugs with amoxapine can increase levels of amoxapine in your body. This can increase your risk of side effects, including confusion, tremors, muscle problems, seizures, and coma.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.
Amoxapine warnings
depressive disorders or psychiatric conditions
People with depressive disorders or psychiatric conditions

Amoxapine may worsen your depression or increase your risk of having thoughts and behaviors of hurting yourself. If you experience any unusual changes in behavior, especially during the first few months of treatment or when your dose changes, call your doctor.

seizures
People with seizures

Amoxapine may increase your risk of seizures if you already have seizures.

heart problems
People with heart problems

If you have heart problems, taking this drug could put you at risk for a dangerously fast heart rate, heart attack, and stroke. Tell your doctor if you have any heart problems before taking amoxapine. Do not take amoxapine if you recently had a heart attack.

glaucoma
People with glaucoma

Taking this drug can increase the pressure in your eyes. If you have untreated glaucoma, taking this drug can make it worse.

pregnant women
Pregnant women

Amoxapine is a category C pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  1. Research in animals has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. There haven’t been enough studies done in humans to be certain how the drug might affect the fetus.

Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant. This drug should only be used if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

breastfeeding
Women who are breast-feeding

Amoxapine passes into breast milk and may cause side effects in a child who is breast-fed.

Talk to your doctor if you breast-feed your child. You may need to decide whether to stop breast-feeding or stop taking this drug.

for seniors
For seniors

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects.

for children
For children

It’s unknown if amoxapine is safe and effective for people younger than 18 years. The risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors is higher in this age group.

call doctor
When to call the doctor

Call your doctor right away if you become pregnant while taking this drug.

allergies
Allergies

Amoxapine can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:

  • rash
  • itching
  • trouble breathing
  • swelling of your face, throat, or tongue

If you have an allergic reaction, call your doctor or local poison control center right away. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal (cause death).

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How to Take amoxapine (Dosage)

Oral tablet

All possible dosages and drug forms may not be included here. Your dosage, drug form, and how often you take the drug will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What are you taking this medication for?

Depression

Generic: amoxapine

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 25 mg, 50 mg, 100 mg, 150 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)
  • The initial dose is usually 50 mg, taken two to three times per day.
  • A typical dose is 100 mg, taken two to three times per day.
  • Your doctor may increase your dose slowly up to 400 mg per day.
  • The maximum dose is 600 mg per day.
Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

It’s unknown if this drug is safe and effective for use in people younger than 18 years. The risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors is higher in teenagers.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)
  • In this age group, the typical dosage is 25 mg, taken two to three times per day.
  • The maximum dosage for this age group is 300 mg per day.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

Amoxapine comes with serious risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If you stop taking the drug or don’t take it at all

Your depression will not improve or might even worsen. You may experience other symptoms that could worsen your mental health.

If you miss doses or don’t take the drug on schedule

Your medication may not work as well or may stop working completely. For this drug to work well, a certain amount needs to be in your body at all times.

If you take too much

You could have dangerous levels of the drug in your body. Death can occur from taking too much of this drug. Symptoms of an overdose can also include:

  • convulsions or seizures
  • coma

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor or local poison control center. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

What to do if you miss a dose

Take your dose as soon as you remember. But if you remember just a few hours before your next scheduled dose, take only one dose. Never try to catch up by taking two doses at once. This could result in dangerous side effects.

How to tell if the drug is working

Your symptoms of depression will decrease and you will feel in a better mood. It may take up to 2 weeks for this to happen.

Amoxapine is used for long-term treatment.

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be better suited for you than others. Talk to your doctor about other drug options that may work for you.

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How Much Does amoxapine Cost?

Oral tablet

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These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for amoxapine on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

Show Sources

  • Amoxapine- amoxapine tablet. (2014, June). Retrieved from http://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=a16297df-3158-48db-85e5-5cd506885556

Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on December 15, 2015

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
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