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Pharmacy and Medications

Amphetamines and antidepressants

12/28/2007

Question:

Is it safe to take an Antidepressant with Amphetamines (Adderall XR). If so, which Antidepressants are best to take with Adderall. I am currently taking 20mg Adderall XR for ADD and I also have Depression and am not being treated.

Answer:

There are several classes of antidepressants available to treat depressive symptoms in individuals. When an individual is already taking a medication (in this case, a mix of amphetamines) it is important to know whether there may be a potential for a drug-drug interaction between the medication and other medications a physician may suggest for treating other conditions. Some classes of antidepressants may be used while you are taking amphetamines, but there is one class of antidepressants that has been shown to unfavorably interact with amphetamines. This antidepressant class is known as Tricyclic antidepressants, or TCAs for short; some examples of TCAs include amitriptyline, nortriptyline, imipramine, desipramine and trimipramine.

If amphetamines are taken with a TCA, it may block the breakdown and elimination of the TCA, leading to higher blood concentrations in the body, and a potentially toxic reaction. Taking both drugs together may cause an increase in blood pressure and other cardiovascular changes that may be harmful to the individual. It may also be possible for a TCA to increase the side effects of amphetamines.

I would advise you to talk with your doctor about this so that you can both make a decision about which of the available antidepressants would be best for you.

Submitted by Nicki Shiyanbade, PharmD candidate, University of Cincinnati

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Response by:

Jan Scaglione, MT, PharmD, D.ABAT
Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati