(Elavil, Endep, Enovil)
What are they? Tricyclic antidepressants are an older class of prescription drugs used primarily to treat depression.
How long can you take them? No limit.
Do they work? It's questionable. Because other drugs are indicated for short-term use only, doctors sometimes resort to tricyclics, which have sedative side effects, for chronic insomnia. "These are inappropriate drugs to use unless you're treating depression as well," Hirshkowitz says. "There is no data on how effective they are for long-term treatment of insomnia; in addition, they can cause other side effects ranging from dry mouth to heart arrhythmias. And it is possible to overdose on tricyclics."