Answer: Chlomipramine is an oral medication that is used for the treatment of a variety of psychiatric disturbances such as depression, anxiety disorders, and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). It is known to cause memory impairment in some patients.
Clomipramine (Anafranil) is a drug that is classified as a tricyclic antidepressant, due to the nature of its chemical structure. It was first synthesized in 1964, and is currently one of the drugs on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines. It is taken orally in pill form.
Like most other tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), Chlomipramine acts at a cellular scale by inhibiting the reuptake of both serotonin and norepinephrine, two neurotransmitters that are dysregulated in a variety of psychiatric disorders, most notably depression.
Side effects of chlomipramine
Chlomipramine’s major site of action include serotonergic synapses and norepinephrine synapses. As such, the side effects involve symptoms that result from altered neurotransmission in these systems. For example, serotonin syndrome is one possible side effect of chlomipramine, especially in overdose. People experiencing serotonin syndrome may have a rapid onset of elevated body temperature, sweating, motor control symptoms such as tremor, and overall agitation.
Hyperhydrosis, an excess of sweating, may also occur. Patients on chlomipramine may experience dramatic changes in body weight.
Chlomipramine also acts as an anticholinergic, which decreases the tone of acetylcholine in the body. Therefore, the symptoms of anticholinergic poisoning may be observed after high doses of chlomipramine. For example, the side effects of chlomipramine also include confusion, fever, a flushing of the skin, and dilated pupils.
It is this anticholinergic effect of chlomipramine that may contribute to the memory impairment that some patients experience.
Chlomipramine for dogs and cats (nonhuman use)
A specialized preparation of chlomipramine may be used for dogs and cats. The drug is called “clomicalm” and is given to decrease separation anxiety and noise-related phobias.