Clinical data
AHFS/ Monograph
MedlinePlus a682158
  • US: B3[in US?]
Routes of
oral, intramuscular, intravenous (infusion)
ATC code N06AA21 (WHO)
Legal status
Legal status
Pharmacokinetic data
Bioavailability 66–70%
Protein binding 88%
Metabolism hepatic
Onset of action 6 hours
Biological half-life 27–58 hours
Excretion biliar (30%) and urine (57%) as glucuronides, 3–4% as unchanged drug
CAS Number 10262-69-8 YesY
PubChem (CID) 4011
DrugBank DB00934 YesY
ChemSpider 23719117 N
KEGG D02566 YesY
ECHA InfoCard 100.030.532
Chemical and physical data
Formula C20H23N
Molar mass 277.403 g/mol
3D model (Jmol) Interactive image
 NYesY (what is this?)  (verify)

Maprotiline (sold as Deprilept, Ludiomil, Psymion) is a medication that belongs to tetracyclic antidepressants (TeCA), a specific group of antidepressants.


Maprotiline was developed and has been marketed by the Swiss manufacturer Geigy (now operated by Novartis) since the early 1980s under the brand name Ludiomil. Generics are widely available.


After oral use absorption is good. It binds to plasma proteins 80–90%. Maximal plasma concentration is reached 6 hours after use. The mean time to peak is 12 hours. The half-life of elimination averages 51 hours.


Activity profile

Maprotiline exhibits strong effects as a norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor with only weak actions the reuptake of serotonin and dopamine.[1][2] It is also a strong antagonist of the H1 receptor, a moderate antagonist of the 5-HT2 and α1-adrenergic receptors, and a weak antagonist of the D2 and maCh receptors.

Maprotiline has also more recently been identified as a potent antagonist of the 5-HT7 receptor, with this action potentially playing an important role in its antidepressant effectiveness.[3]


The pharmacological profile of maprotiline explains its antidepressant, sedative, anxiolytic, and sympathomimetic activities. In accordance to the pharmacological characteristics it is used in the treatment of depression, such as depression associated with agitation or anxiety. Additionally, it shows strong antagonism against reserpine-induced effects in animal studies, as do the other 'classical' antidepressants. Although maprotiline behaves in most regards as a 'first-generation antidepressant' it is commonly referred to as 'second-generation antidepressant'.

The postulated mechanism of maprotiline is that it acts primarily by potentiation of central adrenergic synapses by blocking reuptake of norepinephrine at nerve endings. This pharmacological action is thought to be primarily responsible for the drug's antidepressant and anxiolytic effects. It is a strong norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor with only weak effects on serotonin and dopamine reuptake. At higher doses however, maprotiline increases serotonergic transmission and increases the level of serotonin available.[4]


Maprotiline is used in the treatment of depression, such as depression associated with agitation or anxiety and has similar efficacy to the antidepressant drug moclobemide.[5]

The use of maprotiline in the treatment of enuresis in pediatric patients has so far not been systematically explored and its use is not recommended.[2]

Side effects

The side-effect profile is comparable to other tri-/tetracyclic antidepressants and many of the following are due to anticholinergic (which are less prominent than those of most tricyclic antidepressants) and antihistaminergic effects.[2] Most often seen are:

Maprotiline causes a strong initial sedation (first 2 to 3 weeks of therapy) and is therefore indicated to treat agitated patients or those with suicidal risks. It causes anticholinergic side effects (dry mouth, constipation, confusion, tachycardia) with a lower incidence than amitriptyline. Originally, the manufacturer claimed that maprotiline is better tolerated than other tri-/tetracyclic drugs. However, seizures, leukopenia and skin reactions occur more often with maprotiline than with comparable drugs like amitriptyline.

Drug abuse and dependence

Maprotiline has no known potential for abuse and psychological dependence.

Withdrawal symptoms frequently seen when treatment with maprotiline is stopped abruptly (agitation, anxiety, insomnia, sometimes activation of mania or rebound depression) are not indicative of addiction and can be avoided by reducing the daily dose of maprotiline gradually by approximately 25% each week. If treatment has to be stopped at once due to medical reasons, the use of a benzodiazepine (e.g. lorazepam, clonazepam, or alprazolam) for a maximum of 4 weeks as needed will usually suppress withdrawal symptoms.


Maprotiline may worsen psychotic conditions like schizophrenia and should be given with caution. The antipsychotic treatment should be continued. Patients with bipolar affective disorder should not receive antidepressants whilst in a manic phase, as antidepressants can worsen mania.


Special caution needed

Suicidal patients

Same as other antidepressants, maprotiline increased the risk compared to placebo of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in children, adolescents and young adults in short-term studies of major depressive disorder (MDD) and other psychiatric disorders. Anyone considering the use of maprotiline or any other antidepressant in a child, adolescent, or young adult must balance this risk with the clinical need. Short-term studies did not show an increase in the risk of suicidality with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults beyond age 24; there was a reduction in risk with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults aged 65 and older. Depression and certain other psychiatric disorders are themselves associated with increases in the risk of suicide. Patients of all ages who are started on antidepressant therapy should be monitored appropriately and observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, or unusual changes in behavior. Families and caregivers should be advised of the need for close observation and communication with the prescriber. Maprotiline is not approved for use in pediatric patients.[7]

Special populations


Reproduction studies have been performed in female laboratory rabbits, mice, and rats at doses up to 1.3, 7, and 9 times the maximum daily human dose respectively and have revealed no evidence of impaired fertility or harm to the fetus due to maprotiline. There are, however, no adequate and well controlled studies in pregnant women. Because animal reproduction studies are not always predictive of human response, this drug should be used during pregnancy only if clearly needed.

Nursing mothers

Maprotiline is excreted in breast milk. At steady-state, the concentrations in milk correspond closely to the concentrations in whole blood. Caution should be exercised when maprotiline hydrochloride is administered to a nursing woman.

Pediatric use

Safety and effectiveness in the pediatric population have not been established. Anyone considering the use of Maprotiline in a child or adolescent must balance the potential risks with the clinical need.

Elderly patients

In general, lower dosages are recommended for patients over 60 years of age. Dosages of 50 mg to 75 mg daily are usually satisfactory as maintenance therapy for elderly patients who do not tolerate higher amounts.[8][9]


Maprotiline has a wide range of possible interactions. Some are typical for tri-/tetracyclic antidepressants, others are caused by specific metabolic effects (e.g. high plasma-protein-binding) of maprotiline:

Increased drug actions:

Decreased drug actions:

Other types of interaction:

Dose forms

Brand names

See also


  1. Peng, Wen-Huang; Kuan-Lin Lo; Yi-Hsuen Lee; Tai-Huang Hung; Ying-Chih Lin (2007). "Berberine produces antidepressant-like effects in the forced swim test and in the tail suspension test in mice". Life Sciences. 81 (11): 933–938. doi:10.1016/j.lfs.2007.08.003. PMID 17804020.
  2. 1 2 3 "DRUGDEX Evaluations - Maprotiline". Retrieved 25 April 2013.
  3. Matthys A, Haegeman G, Van Craenenbroeck K, Vanhoenacker P (June 2011). "Role of the 5-HT7 receptor in the central nervous system: from current status to future perspectives". Mol. Neurobiol. 43 (3): 228–53. doi:10.1007/s12035-011-8175-3. PMID 21424680.
  4. Miyake K, Fukuchi H, Kitaura T, Kimura M, Kimura Y, Nakahara T (1991). Pharmacokinetics of maprotiline and its demethylated metabolite in serum and specific brain regions of rats after acute and chronic administration of maprotiline. J Pharm Sci.;80(12):1114-8.
  5. Delini-Stula A, Mikkelsen H, Angst J (October 1995). "Therapeutic efficacy of antidepressants in agitated anxious depression--a meta-analysis of moclobemide studies". J Affect Disord. 35 (1-2): 21–30. doi:10.1016/0165-0327(95)00034-K. PMID 8557884.
  6. Simeon J, Maguire J, Lawrence S (1981). Maprotiline effects in children with enuresis and behavioural disorders. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology 5 ( 5–6), 495–8
  7. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Last Reviewed 1 Sept. 2010 Medline Plus entry for Maprotiline
  8. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
  9. Retrieved 29 September 2013.


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