Tricyclic antidepressants. Prolonged plasma levels after overdose

JAMA. 1976 Oct 11;236(15):1711-2. doi: 10.1001/jama.236.15.1711.


Twenty-four patients hospitalized for overdose of a tricyclic antidepressant were monitored clinically, and serial plasma-drug measurements were taken for up to 144 hours. Six of 24 patients had maximum antidepressant plasma levels greater than or equal to 1,000 ng/ml, and their plasma levels at 96 hours ranged from 170 to 1,280 ng/ml. Patients ingesting substantial tricyclic overdoses may remain medically unstable for days. When high tricyclic levels persist, accurate psychiatric assessment is often impossible.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amitriptyline / administration & dosage
  • Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic / administration & dosage
  • Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic / blood
  • Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic / poisoning*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Half-Life
  • Heart / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Time Factors


  • Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic
  • Amitriptyline