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Amitriptyline

Antidepressant

Brand names:

Elavil®

Often used for:

Depression, Headache prevention, Nerve pain, Sleep problems

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About Amitriptyline

Amitriptyline is an antidepressant drug. It is sometimes used for headache prevention, to treat nerve pain, or to help with sleep problems.

Antidepressant medications may increase suicidal thoughts or actions in some children and young adults within the first few months of treatment. Call the healthcare provider to report new or sudden changes in mood, behavior, thoughts or feelings.

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May be taken as a tablet by mouth

 
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Possible Side Effects

  • Feeling more tired than usual
  • Vision problems (dry eyes, blurry vision, or eye pain)
  • Dry mouth
  • Feeling drowsy, dizzy, or unsteady
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Change in how much or how often you urinate
  • Agitation, nervousness, irritability
  • Headaches
  • Skin irritation, rash
  • Skin more sensitive to the sun
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Fever with increased sweating
  • Changes in blood sugar levels
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizure
  • Low blood pressure
  • Irregular or fast heartbeat

Not all patients who take amitriptyline will experience these side effects. Common side effects are in bold, but there may be others. Please report all suspected side effects to your doctor or pharmacist.

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Tips for Families

Be sure to discuss these and other recommendations with your doctor or pharmacist.

  • If taking amitriptyline for depression, it may take several weeks for the medicine to start working.
  • If taking amitriptyline for nerve pain, the medicine should begin to work within 5 to 7 days.
  • Patients should tell their doctor if they are pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or breastfeeding.

Amitriptyline at home:

  • This medicine may make you dizzy or drowsy and can increase the risk of falls. Do not drive or do anything that could be dangerous until you see how this medicine affects you.
  • Most often, amitriptyline is taken one (1) time a day. Taking this medicine at bedtime may keep patients from feeling sleepy during the day. If you have trouble sleeping while taking amitriptyline, then take it in the morning.
  • In case of a missed dose, give the missed dose as soon as possible. If it is near the time for the next dose, skip the dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.
  • Do not stop taking this medication without first talking to your healthcare provider. Stopping amitriptyline too quickly may cause these symptoms: nausea, headache, feeling more tired than usual, dizzy feeling, and feeling irritable.
  • Store this medicine at room temperature in a dry place.
  • Always tell your doctor what medicines you are on and if you start taking any new medicines while taking amitriptyline.
  • Finish all doses of the medicine as instructed by a doctor.
  • Do not use the medicine past the expiration date.
  • Follow instructions for safe storage and disposal.