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Clomipramine is used to treat people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (a condition that causes repeated unwanted thoughts and the need to perform certain behaviors over and over). Clomipramine is in a group of medications called tricyclic antidepressants.
Anafranil (clomipramine) is an antidepressant predominantly used to treat Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). It also sees use as a treatment for chronic pain, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and other physical and psychiatric disorders.
In studies Anafranil has shown to be more effective than other drugs in its class at treating OCD. It's even used in veterinary practices to treat OCD behaviors in animals, as well as to reduce anxiety-driven behaviors such as separation anxiety.
Taking Control of OCD
Anafranil reduces the frequency with which a patient with OCD is driven to perform repetitive behaviors or focus on unwanted thoughts. It is believed to work by restoring imbalances of serotonin and other substances in the brain to more appropriate levels.
This is a powerful medication which is effective if used properly but carries risk of serious adverse reactions if abused:
Many patients notice improvements within days of starting treatment, but it may take several weeks before the full effects are realized. The condition may resurface if treatment is stopped.
Treating Younger Patients
For reasons not completely understood, patients under 24 years of age who take any antidepressant, including Anafranil, are at greater risk of developing some potentially dangerous side effects, including:
These side effects are rare, but more frequent in youthful patients. The risk is extremely slight in patients over 24, and almost unheard of in patients over 65.
Young patients -- particularly those with a history of mental illness or depression -- should be monitored closely for signs of developing problems. Any unexplained personality changes should be brought to the attention of a doctor; adjusting dosage strength may reduce symptoms.
Other Precautions & Side Effects
Because Anafranil is a powerful drug, it should always be used with caution and only after discussing risks with a doctor. There are a great many factors which could impact the medication's effectiveness and influence the severity of side effects:
Anafranil can also produce a range of side effects even in patients with no other health issues. For the most part side effects are rare and mild, similar to those of any medication; headache, nausea, dry mouth, and so forth. Some side effects are potentially dangerous, however, and warrant medical attention:
If serious side effects do occur, dosage may be reduced or treatment stopped altogether if a dosage reduction does not bring about satisfactory improvement. Side effects usually reverse when treatment is stopped.
No current Rx required
Medicines have benefits and some have risks. Always read the label and use only as directed. If symptoms persist or you have side effects see your health professional.