This medication is used to treat a certain sleep problem (insomnia). It may help you stay asleep longer and reduce the number of times you awaken during the night. Doxepin belongs to a class of drugs known as tricyclic antidepressants. It is not known how this medication improves sleep, though it may be due to blocking histamine receptors.
How to use
Read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start taking doxepin and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Take this medication by mouth, usually once nightly within 30 minutes before bedtime on an empty stomach, or as directed by your doctor. Do not take it within 3 hours of a meal because the effect of the medication will be delayed.
Do not take this medication unless you are able to get a full night of sleep (7-8 hours) before you must be active again.
Dosage is based on your medical condition, age, and response to therapy. Do not take more than 6 milligrams per day.
Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time each day.
Drowsiness or nausea may occur. If either of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Rarely, after taking this drug, people have gotten out of bed and driven vehicles while not fully awake (“sleep-driving”). People have also sleepwalked, prepared/eaten food, made phone calls, or had sex while not fully awake. Often, these people do not remember these events. This problem can be dangerous to you or to others. If you find out that you have done any of these activities after taking this medication, tell your doctor right away. Your risk is increased if you use alcohol or other medications that can make you drowsy while taking doxepin.
At higher doses, doxepin is used to treat a variety of other conditions, including depression and other mental/mood disorders. It can help prevent suicidal thoughts/attempts and provide other important benefits. However, studies have shown that a small number of people (especially people younger than 25) who take antidepressants for any condition may experience worsening depression, other mental/mood symptoms, or suicidal thoughts/attempts. Therefore, it is very important to talk with the doctor about the risks and benefits of antidepressant medication (especially for people younger than 25), even if treatment is not for a mental/mood condition. Tell the doctor right away if you notice worsening depression/other psychiatric conditions, unusual behavior changes (including possible suicidal thoughts/attempts), or other mental/mood changes (including new/worsening anxiety, panic attacks, irritability, hostile/angry feelings, impulsive actions, severe restlessness, very rapid speech). Be especially watchful for these symptoms if a new antidepressant is started or when the dose is changed.
Warnings & Precautions
Before taking doxepin, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to other tricyclic antidepressants (such as amoxapine); or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: problems urinating (urinary retention), personal or family history of glaucoma (angle-closure type).
This drug may make you drowsy. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you more drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. Avoid alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis).
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor’s approval.
Some products that may interact with this drug include: cimetidine.
Taking MAO inhibitors with this medication may cause a serious (possibly fatal) drug interaction. Avoid taking MAO inhibitors (isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue, moclobemide, phenelzine, procarbazine, rasagiline, safinamide, selegiline, tranylcypromine) during treatment with this medication. Most MAO inhibitors should also not be taken for two weeks before and after treatment with this medication. Ask your doctor when to start or stop taking this medication.