This medication is used to treat depression occurring with other mental/mood disorders (such as anxiety, agitation, schizophrenia). This medication is a combination of a tricyclic antidepressant (amitriptyline) and an antipsychotic medication (perphenazine). Together, they restore the balance of certain natural chemicals in the brain (neurotransmitters such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin). This medication helps you to have a better mood and sense of well-being, think more clearly, and feel less nervous, so that you can take part in everyday life.
Antidepressant medications are used to treat a variety of conditions, including depression and other mental/mood disorders. These medications 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, trouble sleeping, irritability, hostile/angry feelings, impulsive actions, severe restlessness, very rapid speech). Be especially watchful for these symptoms when a new antidepressant is started or when the dose is changed.
There may be a slightly increased risk of serious, possibly fatal side effects (such as stroke, heart failure, fast/irregular heartbeat, pneumonia) when this medication is used by older adults with dementia. This medication is not approved for the treatment of dementia-related behavior problems. Discuss the risks and benefits of this medication, as well as other effective and possibly safer treatments for dementia-related behavior problems, with the doctor.
How to Use This Medication
Read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start using this medication and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Take this medication by mouth, usually 1 to 4 times daily, as directed by your doctor. If you take it only once a day, take it at bedtime to help reduce daytime sleepiness.
Dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. Your doctor may direct you to take a low dose at first, gradually increasing the dose to lower the chance of side effects (such as drowsiness, dry mouth, muscle spasms). Follow your doctor's directions carefully. The manufacturer recommends that you do not take more than 16 milligrams of perphenazine or 200 milligrams of amitriptyline per day.
Take this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time(s) each day. Do not increase your dose or take this drug more often or for longer than prescribed. Your condition will not improve any faster, and your risk of side effects will increase.
Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor. Your condition may become worse when the drug is suddenly stopped. Muscle aches, headaches, and trouble sleeping may also occur. To prevent these symptoms while you are stopping treatment with this drug, your doctor may reduce your dose gradually. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details. Report any new or worsening symptoms right away.
This medication may not work right away. You may see some benefit within a week. However, it may take up to 4 weeks before you see the full effect. Tell your doctor if your condition persists or worsens (such as increased anxiety, your feelings of sadness get worse, or you have thoughts of suicide).