Tricyclic antidepressants act to change the balance of naturally occurring chemicals in the brain that regulate the transmission of nerve impulses between cells. Amoxapine acts primarily by increasing the concentration of norepinephrine and serotonin (both chemicals that stimulate nerve cells) and, to a lesser extent, by blocking the action of another brain chemical, acetylcholine. Amoxapine shares most of the properties of other tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline, clomipramine, desipramine, imipramine, nortriptyline, protriptyline, and trimipramine. Studies comparing amoxapine with these other drugs have shown that amoxapine is no more or less effective than other antidepressants of its type. Its choice for treatment is as much a function of physician preference as any other factor.

The therapeutic effects of amoxapine, like other anti-depressants, appear slowly. Maximum benefit is often not evident for at least two weeks after starting the drug. People taking amoxapine should be aware of this and continue taking the drug as directed even if they do not see immediate improvement.

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