How Do Dopamine/Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors Work?

Reviewed on 1/12/2022

How Do Dopamine/Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors Work?

Dopamine/norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors are medications prescribed to improve wakefulness and alertness in people who feel excessively drowsy during the day because of sleep disorders that affect restful sleep during the night.

Dopamine and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors work by increasing the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, two of the chemicals (neurotransmitters) released by nerve cells (neurons) to communicate with each other.

Dopamine has many functions that include regulation of the sleep-wake cycle, while norepinephrine regulates attention, arousal and stress reactions. Increase in the concentration of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain improves wakefulness and energy.

Neurotransmitters are naturally broken down and reabsorbed by neurons after neurotransmission is completed. Dopamine and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors increase neurotransmitter levels in the brain by preventing their reabsorption (reuptake).

How Are Dopamine/Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors Used?

Dopamine/norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors are oral tablets used to improve wakefulness in adults with excessive daytime sleepiness associated with:

  • Narcolepsy: A chronic neurological sleep disorder that affects the ability of the brain to regulate the sleep-wake cycle.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea: A disorder that causes repetitive episodes of obstruction or decrease of airflow in breathing while asleep, due to narrowing or blocking of the upper respiratory tract.

What Are Side Effects of Dopamine/Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors?

Side effects of dopamine/norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors may include the following:

  • Headache
  • Decreased appetite
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Palpitations
  • Chest discomfort
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Disturbances in attention
  • Tremor
  • Bruxism (teeth grinding)
  • Cough
  • Dyspnea (shortness of breath)
  • Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating)
  • Feeling jittery
  • Restlessness
  • Thirst
  • Decrease in weight

Information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible side effects, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure these drugs do not cause any harm when you take them along with other medicines. Never stop taking your medication and never change your dose or frequency without consulting your doctor.

What Are Names of Some Dopamine/Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitor Drugs?

Generic and brand name of the dopamine/norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor drug used for daytime drowsiness is:


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