Increased pulse and blood pressure associated with desipramine treatment of bulimia nervosa

J Clin Psychopharmacol. 1992 Jun;12(3):163-8.


The cardiovascular effects of desipramine were assessed in 74 young women with bulimia nervosa participating in a 6-week double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Desipramine treatment was associated with significant increases in pulse, reclining systolic and diastolic blood pressures, and orthostatic hypotension. These effects were clearly evident in the first week of treatment and remained relatively unchanged during the subsequent 5 weeks. The mean increases in reclining systolic and diastolic pressures were approximately 10 mm Hg. Data from 16 patients treated for an additional 2 months indicated that most of the effects of desipramine on blood pressure diminished over time, whereas the effects on pulse persisted. These results differ from the commonly expected cardiovascular effects of tricyclic anti-depressants in adults. Evidence from the current study and from other reports suggests that the cardiovascular effects of tricyclic antidepressants are age-dependent.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aging / physiology
  • Bulimia / complications*
  • Bulimia / drug therapy
  • Bulimia / psychology
  • Desipramine / adverse effects*
  • Desipramine / therapeutic use
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Electrocardiography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / chemically induced*
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Pulse / drug effects*


  • Desipramine