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Reviewed by Dr Roy Kedem, MD
Information last reviewed 07/13/21
Doxepin is an FDA-approved medication for the treatment of insomnia. It is in a class of medications called tricyclic antidepressants and requires a prescription from a doctor. At higher doses, it is also prescribed to treat anxiety and depression.
Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that affects your ability to get the sleep your body needs. Insomnia can have an adverse effect on mood, cognition and general and cardiovascular health.
Doxepin works by blocking the effects of histamine. Histamine is a chemical which occurs naturally in your body, and helps manage your sleep-wake cycle. When histamine is blocked, drowsiness can ensue.
Doxepin is made in both tablet and capsule formulations. The color and imprint will depend on the manufacturer and the dosage.
Doxepin is a generic medication made by several different manufacturers such as Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Watson Pharmaceuticals, Rugby and others.
Examples of name-brand doxepin capsules include Sinequan, Prudoxin, and Zonalon, manufactured by Pfizer, Mylan Pharmaceuticals and Prestium Pharma, respectively.
Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant medication typically used to treat seizures and pain. While doxepin works by blocking the uptake of histamine, gabapentin works by increasing the concentration of GABA, a chemical that can regulate pain perception in your brain.
Although gabapentin has also been shown to have sleep-enhancing effects, it more commonly treats sleep disruption specifically associated with pain. Gabapentin is not prescribed for insomnia as often as doxepin.
The active ingredient in doxepin is doxepin hydrochloride at a concentration of 10mg, 25mg, 75mg, 100mg, or 150mg, depending on the dosage.
The inactive ingredients in doxepin capsules include hard gelatin capsules, magnesium stearate, sodium lauryl sulfate, and starch.
To treat insomnia, the dosage of doxepin will vary between tablets and capsules.
Always take doxepin as prescribed by your doctor. Doxepin is usually prescribed as a daily medication, to be taken 30 minutes before bedtime. Avoid taking the medication within three hours of eating food.
Doxepin is fast-acting and may begin working within 30 minutes of ingestion.
Doxepin may cause adverse reactions on the following body systems:
Other side effects include:
This is not a complete list of all possible side effects. For a comprehensive list, you can access FDA drug information here.
If you experience any severe side effects or thoughts of suicide, please report to your doctor immediately.
A reported side effect of doxepin is weight gain. It is not fully understood how this side effect occurs.
Doxepin is not typically included in drug tests, however, it does have the potential to cause a false-positive result for LSD and amphetamines. If you will be taking a drug test, let your doctor know that you have been taking doxepin. It is strongly recommended that you take your prescription bottle with you.
Do not drink alcohol while taking doxepin. Alcohol can exacerbate side effects like drowsiness and increases the risk for overdose.
Doxepin does not cause anxiety. On the contrary, it is commonly prescribed to treat it. Doxepin can also be used to treat depression.
Doxepin is not a controlled substance, however, it does require a doctor’s prescription.
Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. You and your physician will determine if and how you should take any medication prescribed to you following a medical consultation.
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