Amitriptyline is prescribed for the management of mental and mood disorders, including but not limited to depression. Its therapeutic benefits may encompass the enhancement of mood and well-being, mitigation of anxiety and tension, improvement of sleep quality, and augmentation of energy levels. This medication is classified as a tricyclic antidepressant, and it exerts its effects by modulating the balance of certain endogenous neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, in the brain.
Uses and Dosage
Administer this medication orally in accordance with your physician’s instructions, typically once to four times per day. If taking a single dose per day, consume it at bedtime to decrease daytime drowsiness. Your dosage is based on your medical condition and response to therapy.
To minimize the risk of adverse effects, your physician may recommend initiating treatment at a low dose and gradually increasing it. Comply with your physician’s directives.
Ingest this medication on a regular basis to obtain the maximum therapeutic benefits. To facilitate recall, consume it at the same time(s) every day. Do not exceed the prescribed dosage or consume this drug more frequently or for a longer duration than advised. Your recovery will not hasten, and your probability of encountering adverse effects will increase.
Continue taking this medication even if you feel well. Do not discontinue treatment without consulting your physician. Some conditions may exacerbate upon abrupt cessation of this drug. You may experience symptoms such as mood swings, headache, fatigue, and changes in sleep patterns. To avert these symptoms while tapering off this medication, your physician may gradually reduce your dose.
This medication may not exhibit immediate efficacy. Some benefits may become apparent within a week, while the complete effect may take up to four weeks to manifest.
Inform your physician if your condition persists or worsens.
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention:
- weakness or tiredness
- dry mouth
- difficulty urinating
- blurred vision
- pain, burning, or tingling in the hands or feet
- changes in sex drive or ability
- excessive sweating
- changes in appetite or weight
Inform your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any serious side effects:
- slow or difficult speech
- dizziness or faintness
- weakness or numbness of an arm or a leg
- crushing chest pain
- rapid, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
- severe skin rash or hives
- swelling of the face and tongue
- yellowing of the skin or eyes
- jaw, neck, and back muscle spasms
- uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body
- unusual bleeding or bruising
Before taking amitriptyline, inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have any allergies to this drug or other tricyclic antidepressants, or any other allergies. This medication may contain inactive ingredients that can cause allergic reactions or other issues.
Before using this medication, inform your doctor or pharmacist of your medical history, especially if you have a bleeding disorder, breathing problems, liver disease, recent heart attack, difficulty urinating due to an enlarged prostate, hyperthyroidism, a personal or family history of glaucoma, bipolar disorder, psychosis, or a family history of suicide. You should also inform your doctor if you have a history of seizures or any conditions that may increase the risk of seizures, such as other brain diseases or alcohol withdrawal.
Amitriptyline may cause QT prolongation, a condition that affects the heart’s rhythm, which can rarely cause serious (and sometimes fatal) fast or irregular heartbeat and other symptoms such as severe dizziness and fainting. If you have certain medical conditions or take other medications that may cause QT prolongation, your risk of this condition may be increased.
This medication may make you dizzy or drowsy, or cause blurred vision. Avoid driving, using machinery, or doing any activity that requires alertness or clear vision until you know how this medication affects you. Alcohol and marijuana can increase these effects, so avoid them while taking this medication.
This medication may also make you more sensitive to the sun. Limit your time in the sun, avoid tanning booths and sunlamps, and wear protective clothing and sunscreen when outdoors. If you get sunburned or have skin blisters/redness, inform your doctor immediately.
If you have diabetes, this drug may make it harder to control your blood sugar levels. Monitor your blood sugar levels regularly and inform your doctor of the results. Your doctor may need to adjust your diabetes medication, exercise program, or diet.
Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, including bleeding, dry mouth, dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, constipation, difficulty urinating, and QT prolongation. These side effects can increase the risk of falling.
If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of using this medication during pregnancy. It should only be used when clearly needed.
This medication passes into breast milk, and its effect on a nursing infant is unknown. Consult with your doctor before breastfeeding.
Since untreated mental/mood problems can be a serious condition, do not stop using this medication unless directed by your doctor.
Form and Strength
Elavil is available in the following forms and strengths:
Elavil film-coated tablet:
How long does it take for Elavil to work?
You may start to feel better after 1 to 2 weeks but it can take 4 to 6 weeks for Elavil to work fully.
What effects does Elavil have on the brain?
Elavil works by increasing the amount of serotonin your brain makes.