An open trial of nortriptyline in women with chronic pelvic pain

Int J Psychiatry Med. 1991;21(3):245-52. doi: 10.2190/EXRP-J206-CBWT-UTFK.


Although antidepressants have been used in the management of several types of chronic pain there have been no systematic trials of these medications in women with chronic pelvic pain. The authors report on the use of nortriptyline in fourteen women with chronic pelvic pain. Seven women dropped out of the study. These seven subjects were significantly different from the treated group only in lower tolerance of antidepressant side effects. Six of the seven treated subjects reported complete or partial relief from pain. Fifty seven percent of the drop-outs and the one nonresponding treated subject had histories of childhood sexual abuse. This open trial suggests that antidepressants may be effective in the treatment of some women with chronic pelvic pain. However, the frequent association of sexual abuse with this disorder indicates that accepted treatment trial designs may need to be altered.

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Pain / drug therapy*
  • Abdominal Pain / psychology*
  • Adult
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Genital Diseases, Female / psychology
  • Humans
  • Nortriptyline / therapeutic use*
  • Patient Care Team
  • Pelvis*
  • Personality Inventory
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Sick Role
  • Somatoform Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Somatoform Disorders / psychology*


  • Nortriptyline