OverviewDosageSide EffectsInteractionsHalf-Life

Generic Name: Doxepin hydrochloride

Brands: Silenor, SINEquan, Zonalon

Class: Tricyclic antidepressant and nerve pain medication

Availability: Prescription required

Molecular Formula: C19H21NO

Substance UNII: 5ASJ6HUZ7D

What is Doxepin?

Doxepin is a tricyclic antidepressant as well as a nerve pain medication. It is often sold under the trade names Silenor, SINEquan, and Zonalon.

What is Doxepin Used For?

Doxepin is primarily for the treatment of anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Medical providers may prescribe it to treat itching due to allergic skin conditions such as hives or eczema. 

How Does Doxepin Work?

Doxepin works on the central nervous system. Specifically, it increases the levels of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain to slow down its activity, producing a calming or sedative effect for depression and anxiety. Additionally, doxepin blocks histamine to help promote sleep maintenance and treat itching.

How Long Does it Take for Doxepin to Work?

Although peak concentration levels occur in about three to four hours, it can take weeks for the antidepressant’s full effects to take hold. Those treating insomnia and anxiety may notice benefits sooner. 

Do Not Use Doxepin If:

There are several situations where this medication may not be the right choice for you. According to the FDA, the following should not use doxepin if they have:

  • A hypersensitivity to doxepin HCL or any of the inactive ingredients in the medication
  • Narrow angle glaucoma
  • Severe urinary retention
  • Are currently using monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) or have taken MAOIs within the past 14 days (2 weeks)

Please note that this list may not be complete, and there may be other situations where use of this drug is not advisable.

Disclaimer: this article does not constitute or replace medical advice. If you have an emergency or a serious medical question, please contact a medical professional or call 911 immediately. To see our full medical disclaimer, visit our Terms of Use page.


More about Doxepin

Written by

Medically reviewed by