April 29, 2017
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Side Effects


Commonly Observed

The most commonly observed adverse events associated with the use of Anafranil and not seen at an equivalent incidence among placebo-treated patients were gastrointestinal complaints, including dry mouth, constipation, nausea, dyspepsia, and anorexia; nervous system complaints, including somnolence, tremor, dizziness, nervousness, and myoclonus; genitourinary complaints, including changed libido, ejaculatory failure, impotence, and micturition disorder; and other miscellaneous complaints, including fatigue, sweating, increased appetite, weight gain, and visual changes.

Leading To Discontinuation Of Treatment

Approximately 20% of 3616 patients who received Anafranil in U.S. premarketing clinical trials discontinued treatment because of an adverse event. Approximately one-half of the patients who discontinued (9% of the total) had multiple complaints, none of which could be classified as primary. Where a primary reason for discontinuation could be identified, most patients discontinued because of nervous system complaints (5.4%), primarily somnolence. The second-most-frequent reason for discontinuation was digestive system complaints (1.3%), primarily vomiting and nausea.

There was no apparent relationship between the adverse events and elevated plasma drug concentrations.

Incidence In Controlled Clinical Trials

The following table enumerates adverse events that occurred at an incidence of 1% or greater among patients with OCD who received Anafranil in adult or pediatric placebo-controlled clinical trials. The frequencies were obtained from pooled data of clinical trials involving either adults receiving Anafranil (N=322) or placebo (N=319) or children treated with Anafranil (N=46) or placebo (N=44). The prescriber should be aware that these figures cannot be used to predict the incidence of side effects in the course of usual medical practice, in which patient characteristics and other factors differ from those that prevailed in the clinical trials. Similarly, the cited frequencies cannot be compared with figures obtained from other clinical investigations involving different treatments, uses, and investigators. The cited figures, however, provide the physician with a basis for estimating the relative contribution of drug and nondrug factors to the incidence of side effects in the populations studied.

Incidence of Treatment-Emergent Adverse Experience in Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trials (Percentage of Patients Reporting Event)

Body System/ Adverse Event* Adults Children and Adolescents
Nervous System
Somnolence 54 16 46 11
Tremor 54 2 33 2
Dizziness 54 14 41 14
Headache 52 41 28 34
Insomnia 25 15 11 7
Libido change 21 3 - -
Nervousness 18 2 4 2
Myoclonus 13 - 2 -
Increased appetite 11 2 - 2
Paresthesia 9 3 2 2
Memory impairment. 9 1 7 2
Anxiety 9 4 2 -
Twitching 7 1 4 5
Impaired concentration 5 2 - -
Depression 5 1 - -
Hypertonia 4 1 2 -
Sleep disorder 4 - 9 5
Psychosomatic disorder 3 - - -
Yawning 3 - - -
Confusion 3 - 2 -
Speech disorder 3 - - -
Abnormal dreaming 3 - - 2
Agitation 3 - - -
Migraine 3 - - -
Depersonalization 2 - 2 -
Irritability 2 2 2 -
Emotional lability 2 - - 2
Panic reaction 1 - 2 -
Aggressive reaction - - 2 -
Paresis - - 2 -
Skin and Appendages
Increased sweating 29 3 9 -
Rash 8 1 4 2
Pruritus 6 - 2 2
Dermatitis 2 - - 2
Acne 2 2 - 5
Dry skin 2 - - 5
Urticaria 1 - - -
Abnormal skin odor - - 2 -
Digestive System
Dry mouth 84 17 63 16
Constipation 47 11 22 9
Nausea 33 14 9 11
Dyspepsia 22 10 13 2
Diarrhea 13 9 7 5
Anorexia 12 - 22 2
Abdominal pain 11 9 13 16
Vomiting 7 2 7 -
Flatulence 6 3 - 2
Tooth disorder 5 - - -
Gastrointestinal disorder 2 - - 2
Dysphagia 2 - - -
Esophagitis 1 - - -
Eructation - - 2 2
Ulcerative stomatitis - - 2 -
Body as a Whole
Fatigue 39 18 35 9
Weight increase 18 1 2 -
Flushing 8 - 7 -
Hot flushes 5 - 2 -
Chest pain 4 4 7 -
Fever 4 - 2 7
Allergy 3 3 7 5
Pain 3 2 4 2
Local edema 2 4 - -
Chills 2 1 - -
Weight decrease - - 7 -
Otitis media - - 4 5
Asthenia - - 2 -
Halitosis - - 2 -
Cardiovascular System
Postural hypotension 6 - 4 -
Palpitation 4 2 4 -
Tachycardia 4 - 2 -
Syncope - - 2 -
Respiratory System
Pharyngitis 14 9 - 5
Rhinitis 12 10 7 9
Sinusitis 6 4 2 5
Coughing 6 6 4 5
Bronchospasm 2 - 7 2
Epistaxis 2 - - 2
Dyspnea - - 2 -
Laryngitis - 1 2 -
Urogenital System
Male and Female Patients C'ombined
Micturition disorder 14 2 4 2
Urinary tract infection 6 1 - -
Micturition frequency 5 3 - -
Urinary retention 2 - 7 -
Dysuria 2 2 - -
Cystitis 2 - - -
Female Patients Only (N=182) (N=167) (N=10) (N=21)
Dysmenorrhea 12 14 10 10
Lactation (nonpuerperal) 4 - - -
Menstrual disorder 4 2 - -
Vaginitis 2 - - -
Leukorrhea 2 - - -
Breast enlargement 2 - - -
Breast pain 1 - - -
Amenorrhea 1 - - -
Male Patients Only (N=140) (N=152) (N=36) (N=23)
Ejaculation failure 42 2 6 -
Impotence 20 3 - -
Special Senses
Abnormal vision 18 4 7 2
Taste perversion 8 - 4 -
Tinnitus 6 - 4 -
Abnormal lacrimation 3 2 - -
Mydriasis 2 - - -
Conjunctivitis 1 - - -
Anisocoria - - 2 -
Blepharospasm - - 2 -
Ocular allergy - - 2 -
Vestibular disorder - - 2 2
Myalgia 13 9 - -
Back pain 6 6 - -
Arthralgia 3 5 - -
Muscle weakness 1 - 2 -
Hemic and Lymphatic
Purpura 3 - - -
Anemia - - 2 2
Metabolic and Nutritional
Thirst 2 2 - 2
*Events reported by at least 1% of Anafranil patients are included.

Other Events Observed During The Premarketing Evaluation Of Anafranil

During clinical testing in the U.S., multiple doses of Anafranil were administered to approximately 3600 subjects. Untoward events associated with this exposure were recorded by clinical investigators using terminology of their own choosing. Consequently, it is not possible to provide a meaningful estimate of the proportion of individuals experiencing adverse events without first grouping similar types of untoward events into a smaller number of standardized event categories.

In the tabulations that follow, a modified World Health Organization dictionary of terminology has been used to classify reported adverse events. The frequencies presented, therefore, represent the proportion of the 3525 individuals exposed to Anafranil who experienced an event of the type cited on at least one occasion while receiving Anafranil. All events are included except those already listed in the previous table, those reported in terms so general as to be uninformative, and those in which an association with the drug was remote. It is important to emphasize that although the events reported occurred during treatment with Anafranil, they were not necessarily caused by it.

Events are further categorized by body system and listed in order of decreasing frequency according to the following definitions: frequent adverse events are those occurring on one or more occasions in at least 1/100 patients; infrequent adverse events are those occurring in 1/100 to 1/1000 patients; rare events are those occurring in less than 1/1000 patients.

Body as a Whole – Infrequent - general edema, increased susceptibility to infection, malaise. Rare - dependent edema, withdrawal syndrome.

Cardiovascular System – Infrequent - abnormal ECG, arrhythmia, bradycardia, cardiac arrest, extrasystoles, pallor. Rare - aneurysm, atrial flutter, bundle branch block, cardiac failure, cerebral hemorrhage, heart block, myocardial infarction, myocardial ischemia, peripheral ischemia, thrombophlebitis, vasospasm, ventricular tachycardia.

Digestive System – Infrequent - abnormal hepatic function, blood in stool, colitis, duodenitis, gastric ulcer, gastritis, gastroesophageal reflux, gingivitis, glossitis, hemorrhoids, hepatitis, increased saliva, irritable bowel syndrome, peptic ulcer, rectal hemorrhage, tongue ulceration, tooth caries. Rare - cheilitis, chronic enteritis, discolored feces, gastric dilatation, gingival bleeding, hiccup, intestinal obstruction, oral/pharyngeal edema, paralytic ileus, salivary gland enlargement.

Endocrine System – Infrequent - hypothyroidism. Rare - goiter, gynecomastia, hyperthyroidism.

Hemic and Lymphatic System – Infrequent - lymphadenopathy. Rare - leukemoid reaction, lymphomalike disorder, marrow depression.

Metabolic and Nutritional DisorderInfrequent - dehydration, diabetes mellitus, gout, hypercholesterolemia, hyperglycemia, hyperuricemia, hypokalemia. Rare - fat intolerance, glycosuria.

Musculoskeletal System – Infrequent - arthrosis. Rare - dystonia, exostosis, lupus erythematosus rash, bruising, myopathy, myositis, polyarteritis nodosa, torticollis.

Nervous System – Frequent - abnormal thinking, vertigo. Infrequent - abnormal coordination, abnormal EEG, abnormal gait, apathy, ataxia, coma, convulsions, delirium, delusion, dyskinesia, dysphonia, encephalopathy, euphoria, extrapyramidal disorder, hallucinations, hostility, hyperkinesia, hypnagogic hallucinations, hypokinesia, leg cramps, manic reaction, neuralgia, paranoia, phobic disorder, psychosis, sensory disturbance, somnambulism, stimulation, suicidal ideation, suicide attempt, teethgrinding. Rare - anticholinergic syndrome, aphasia, apraxia, catalepsy, cholinergic syndrome, choreoathetosis, generalized spasm, hemiparesis, hyperesthesia, hyperreflexia, hypoesthesia, illusion, impaired impulse control, indecisiveness, mutism, neuropathy, nystagmus, oculogyric crisis, oculomotor nerve paralysis, schizophrenic reaction, stupor, suicide.

Respiratory System – Infrequent - bronchitis, hyperventilation, increased sputum, pneumonia. Rare - cyanosis, hemoptysis, hypoventilation, laryngismus.

Skin and Appendages – Infrequent - alopecia, cellulitis, cyst, eczema, erythematous rash, genital pruritus, maculopapular rash, photosensitivity reaction, psoriasis, pustular rash, skin discoloration. Rare - chloasma, folliculitis, hypertrichosis, piloerection, seborrhea, skin hypertrophy, skin ulceration.

Special Senses – Infrequent - abnormal accommodation, deafness, diplopia, earache, eye pain, foreign body sensation, hyperacusis, parosmia, photophobia, scleritis, taste loss. Rare - blepharitis, chromatopsia, conjunctival hemorrhage, exophthalmos, glaucoma, keratitis, labyrinth disorder, night blindness, retinal disorder, strabismus, visual field defect.

Urogenital System – Infrequent - endometriosis, epididymitis, hematuria, nocturia, oliguria, ovariancyst, perineal pain, polyuria, prostatic disorder, renal calculus, renal pain, urethral disorder, urinary incontinence, uterine hemorrhage, vaginal hemorrhage. Rare - albuminuria, anorgasmy, breast engorgement, breast fibroadenosis, cervical dysplasia, endometrial hyperplasia, premature ejaculation, pyelonephritis, pyuria, renal cyst, uterine inflammation, vulvar disorder.

Postmarketing Experience

The following adverse drug reaction has been reported during post-approval use of Anafranil. Because this reaction is reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate frequency.

Eye Disorders – angle-closure glaucoma.

Drug Abuse And Dependence

Anafranil has not been systematically studied in animals or humans for its potential for abuse, tolerance, or physical dependence. While a variety of withdrawal symptoms have been described in association with Anafranil discontinuation (see PRECAUTIONS, Withdrawal Symptoms ), there is no evidence for drug-seeking behavior, except for a single report of potential Anafranil abuse by a patient with a history of dependence on codeine, benzodiazepines, and multiple psychoactive drugs. The patient received Anafranil for depression and panic attacks and appeared to become dependent after hospital discharge.

Despite the lack of evidence suggesting an abuse liability for Anafranil in foreign marketing, it is not possible to predict the extent to which Anafranil might be misused or abused once marketed in the U.S. Consequently, physicians should carefully evaluate patients for a history of drug abuse and follow such patients closely.

Read the Anafranil (clomipramine hcl) Side Effects Center for a complete guide to possible side effects


The risks of using Anafranil in combination with other drugs have not been systematically evaluated. Given the primary CNS effects of Anafranil, caution is advised in using it concomitantly with other CNS-active drugs (see PATIENT INFORMATION). Anafranil should not be used with MAO inhibitors (see CONTRAINDICATIONS).

Close supervision and careful adjustment of dosage are required when Anafranil is administered with anticholinergic or sympathomimetic drugs.

Several tricyclic antidepressants have been reported to block the pharmacologic effects of guanethidine, clonidine, or similar agents, and such an effect may be anticipated with CMI because of its structural similarity to other tricyclic antidepressants.

The plasma concentration of CMI has been reported to be increased by the concomitant administration of haloperidol; plasma levels of several closely related tricyclic antidepressants have been reported to be increased by the concomitant administration of methylphenidate or hepatic enzyme inhibitors (e.g., cimetidine, fluoxetine) and decreased by the concomitant administration of hepatic enzyme inducers (e.g., barbiturates, phenytoin), and such an effect may be anticipated with CMI as well. Administration of CMI has been reported to increase the plasma levels of phenobarbital, if given concomitantly (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY, Interactions ).

Drugs Metabolized By P450 2D6

The biochemical activity of the drug metabolizing isozyme cytochrome P450 2D6 (debrisoquin hydroxylase) is reduced in a subset of the Caucasian population (about 7% to 10% of Caucasians are so-called “poor metabolizers”); reliable estimates of the prevalence of reduced P450 2D6 isozyme activity among Asian, African and other populations are not yet available. Poor metabolizers have higher than expected plasma concentrations of tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) when given usual doses. Depending on the fraction of drug metabolized by P450 2D6, the increase in plasma concentration may be small, or quite large (8 fold increase in plasma AUC of the TCA). In addition, certain drugs inhibit the activity of this isozyme and make normal metabolizers resemble poor metabolizers. An individual who is stable on a given dose of TCA may become abruptly toxic when given one of these inhibiting drugs as concomitant therapy. The drugs that inhibit cytochrome P450 2D6 include some that are not metabolized by the enzyme (quinidine; cimetidine) and many that are substrates for P450 2D6 (many other antidepressants, phenothiazines, and the Type 1C antiarrhythmics propafenone and flecainide). While all the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), e.g., fluoxetine, sertraline, paroxetine, and fluvoxamine, inhibit P450 2D6, they may vary in the extent of inhibition. Fluvoxamine has also been shown to inhibit P450 1A2, an isoform also involved in TCA metabolism. The extent to which SSRI-TCA interactions may pose clinical problems will depend on the degree of inhibition and the pharmacokinetics of the SSRI involved. Nevertheless, caution is indicated in the co-administration of TCAs with any of the SSRIs and also in switching from one class to the other. Of particular importance, sufficient time must elapse before initiating TCA treatment in a patient being withdrawn from fluoxetine, given the long half-life of the parent and active metabolite (at least 5 weeks may be necessary). Concomitant use of agents in the tricyclic antidepressant class (which includes Anafranil) with drugs that can inhibit cytochrome P450 2D6 may require lower doses than usually prescribed for either the tricyclic antidepressant agent or the other drug. Furthermore, whenever one of these drugs is withdrawn from co-therapy, an increased dose of tricyclic antidepressant agent may be required. It is desirable to monitor TCA plasma levels whenever an agent of the tricyclic antidepressant class including Anafranil is going to be co-administered with another drug known to be an inhibitor of P450 2D6 (and/or P450 1A2).

Because Anafranil is highly bound to serum protein, the administration of Anafranil to patients taking other drugs that are highly bound to protein (e.g., warfarin, digoxin) may cause an increase in plasma concentrations of these drugs, potentially resulting in adverse effects. Conversely, adverse effects may result from displacement of protein-bound Anafranil by other highly bound drugs (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY, Distribution).

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs )


Serotonergic Drugs


Read the Anafranil Drug Interactions Center for a complete guide to possible interactions

This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

Last reviewed on RxList: 3/29/2016

Side Effects

Anafranil - User Reviews

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