Anxiety Home > Anafranil

If you have obsessive-compulsive disorder, your healthcare provider may prescribe Anafranil. The medication is believed to cause certain chemicals to stay in the brain longer, which can help alleviate symptoms of OCD. Anafranil is available as a capsule and is usually taken one to three times a day. Potential side effects include dizziness, drowsiness, and headaches.

What Is Anafranil?

Anafranil® (clomipramine hydrochloride) is commonly prescribed for the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in adults, teens, and children.
(Click Anafranil Uses for more information, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes It?

Anafranil is made by Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals. Generic versions are made by several manufacturers.

How Does Anafranil Work?

Anafranil belongs to a class of medications called tricyclic antidepressants. It is not entirely clear how the medication works. It does affect several chemicals in the brain, including serotonin and norepinephrine. It is thought that perhaps Anafranil allows these chemicals to stay in the brain longer, which can help with symptoms of OCD.
Even though the medication is classified as a tricyclic antidepressant (due the chemical structure of the molecule), it actually acts much like a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). SSRIs are a newer group of antidepressant medications, and many people consider Anafranil to be an SSRI, even though it is technically a tricyclic antidepressant.

When and How to Take It

Some considerations for when and how to take Anafranil include the following:
  • The medication comes in capsule form. It is taken by mouth, usually one to three times a day.
  • You can take Anafranil with or without food, although it is best to take it with food when first starting or increasing your dose.
  • The medication should be taken at the same time(s) each day to maintain an even level in your blood.
  • For Anafranil to work properly, you have to take it as prescribed. The medication will not work if you stop taking it.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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