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Bedwetting medication: Imipramine (Tofranil)

Dr. D. Preston Smith
Author Dr. D. Preston Smith
Submitted 12-10-2007

The Potty Trainer

Imipramine (Tofranil) is commonly used medication for bedwetting. It is an antidepressant that has some psychological benefits. Because bedwetting is more common in children with psychological and emotional stressors, imipramine’s antidepressant characteristics may be beneficial. Some physicians believe that imipramine also alters the level of deep sleep and thereby helps bedwetting.


Imipramine also changes bladder functions. It has two mechanisms of action:

  1. It relaxes the bladder muscle and

  2. It tightens the sphincter (bottom muscles) muscles.

Imipramine’s success rate is also around 20%. Oftentimes, relapses occur after the medication is stopped. Imipramine is inexpensive and comes in a generic form. It can be used for short periods with minimal side effects. Imipramine can cause severe sleeplessness, weight loss, and hair loss. It cannot be taken by children with certain heart problems.


Overdoses can be fatal and therefore the drug must be locked up or placed out of reach of children. It is a prescription medication, and a physician must monitor its use. If taken for longer periods of time (greater than several weeks), it is advisable to stop the medication by weaning the dose slowly. Due to its side effects, children taking imipramine should abide by their physician’s recommendations.



– Dr. D. Preston Smith


Dr. Smith is board certified and he has authored or co-authored many articles, papers, chapters, and books in Urology and Pediatric Urology. His research has been presented throughout the world. Dr. Smith’s dedication to helping children with urologic problems inspired him to establish PottyMD.