in the class of drugs called tricyclic antidepressants.
Desipramine treats depression by preventing the reuptake
of norepinephrine. Reuptake occurs after a neurotransmitter
has transmitted its signal. Since desipramine prevents
reuptake, the drug effectively raises levels of neurotransmitters.
In addition to treating depression, desipramine has
shown effectiveness in decreasing neuropathic pain caused
by prostate cancer chemotherapy. Prostate cancer patients
who must undergo chemotherapy may experience side effects
of the nervous system that result in neuropathic pain.
Neuropathic pain is difficult to treat; even the most
powerful pain killers are usually ineffective. Researchers
are not yet sure why tricyclic antidepressants have
shown effectiveness in decreasing neuropathic pain;
however, drugs like nortriptyline have been effective
for neurological side effects of prostate cancer chemotherapy.