Tricyclic antidepressants--blood level measurements and clinical outcome: an APA Task Force report. Task Force on the Use of Laboratory Tests in Psychiatry

Am J Psychiatry. 1985 Feb;142(2):155-62. doi: 10.1176/ajp.142.2.155.


The Task Force examines the present status of studies investigating the relationship between blood plasma concentrations of tricyclic antidepressants and clinical outcome. It discusses some of the discrepancies that have developed among various antidepressant drugs and evaluates the clinical implications of the current status of blood level monitoring. The Task Force concludes that plasma level measurements of imipramine, desmethylimipramine, and nortriptyline are unequivocally clinically useful in certain situations, that these measurements are helpful in many situations, and that plasma level measurements are likely to grow in usefulness.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic / blood*
  • Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic / therapeutic use
  • Blood Chemical Analysis / methods
  • Blood Chemical Analysis / standards
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Depressive Disorder / blood
  • Depressive Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Depressive Disorder / metabolism
  • Desipramine / blood
  • Desipramine / therapeutic use
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Imipramine / blood
  • Imipramine / therapeutic use
  • Laboratories / standards
  • Nortriptyline / blood
  • Nortriptyline / therapeutic use
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care*
  • Research Design / standards


  • Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic
  • Nortriptyline
  • Imipramine
  • Desipramine