This phase I trial studies the side effects and best dose of nortriptyline hydrochloride when
given together with paclitaxel in treating patients with small cell carcinoma that has come
back. Nortriptyline hydrochloride, may help disrupt survival signals and cause cancer cell
death. Drugs used in chemotherapy, such as paclitaxel, work in different ways to stop the
growth of tumor cells, either by killing the cells, by stopping them from dividing, or by
stopping them from spreading. Giving nortriptyline hydrochloride and paclitaxel may work
better in treating patients with small cell carcinoma.