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Pheochromocytoma Unmasked by Desipramine Therapy

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▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Michael R. Achong, M.B.; Department of Medicine, St. Joseph's Hospital; 50 Charlton Ave. E.; Hamilton, Ontario L8N 1Y4, Canada.

McMaster University and St. Joseph's HospitalHamilton, Ontario, Canada

Ann Intern Med. 1981;94(3):358-359. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-94-3-358
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Three previous case reports have described hemodynamic abnormalities precipitated or triggered by imipramine therapy and leading to recognition of pheochromocytoma (1-3). It has been uncertain whether therapy with other tricyclic antidepressants may unmask pheochromocytoma. We describe the unmasking of pheochromocytoma by desipramine therapy in a patient who showed no adverse effect while receiving amitriptyline intermittently over 9 years.

A 56-year-old woman presented with a history of severe headache and nausea with vomiting for 2 days. Her symptoms had begun after two doses of desipramine (Norpramin, Merrell-National Laboratories, Cincinnati, Ohio), 25 mg, and ketoprofen (Orudis, Poulenc, Ltd., Montreal, Quebec, Canada). She


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