Amitriptyline : Drug Information

What is Amitriptyline?

Amitriptyline is a tricyclic antidepressant and is available under the brand name called Elavil. Doctors prescribe this medication to treat various mental illnesses such as major depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and bipolar disorder. It is also beneficial in treating migraine pain, neuropathic pain, fibromyalgia, postherpetic neuralgia. It works on the central nervous system (CNS) to release a certain chemical in the brain. Amitriptyline is mostly available in the oral form. One can avail of this medication only with a proper prescription from a doctor.

Important Information

  • You need to regularly visit your doctor and take frequent body checkup while on this medication.
  • If you need any surgery while on this medication, you should tell your doctor that you are using Amitriptyline in advance
  • Do consult your doctor before leaving this medication; otherwise, you may experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.
  • Amitriptyline may affect your blood sugar level; tell your doctor if you notice any significant change in your sugar level.

What to know before taking Amitriptyline?

You should avoid taking this medication if you are allergic to it or any of its components or if you have:

  • Heart attack recently
  • Taken an MAO inhibitor such as methylene blue injection in the last 14 days
  • Taken an SSRI antidepressant in the last five weeks

To ensure that Amitriptyline is safe for you, you should tell your doctor if you have or ever had the following medical issues:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Mental illness or psychosis
  • Liver disease
  • Heart disease
  • Heart attack or stroke
  • Seizures
  • Diabetes
  • Glaucoma
  • Problem in urination

Lactating mothers and expecting women should consult their doctor before taking this medication.

How to take Amitriptyline?

Take Amitriptyline precisely as prescribed by the doctor. You must follow all the instructions given on the prescription label and medication guide carefully. Please don’t take it more than recommended and try to be consistent throughout the treatment. Consult your doctor if you are not feeling any improvement in your condition.

Keep the medication out of children’s reach and store it at room temperature away from heat and moisture. After completion of treatment, ask your pharmacist regarding the disposal of leftover medicines.

Amitriptyline dosage

The dosage of Amitriptyline prescribed by the doctor is dependent on several factors, such as :

  • The age and weight of the patient
  • Symptoms
  • The seriousness of the condition
  • Other medical issues that the patient is having
  • Other medications that the patient is using
  • How the patient reacted to the first dose of the medication

The doctor may prescribe the dosage of Amitriptyline according to the different medical conditions of the patient.

Dosage for depression

In the form of oral tablets

  • For older adults (65 years and above)

10 mg thrice a day and 20 mg at night before sleeping. Your doctor may adjust your dose if he thinks it appropriate.

  • For adults (between 18 years to 65 years)

75 mg of Amitriptyline tablets per day, once or twice a day, or your doctor can suggest you take 50 mg to 100 mg once a day at night before sleeping. However, this medicine’s maximum dose should not exceed more than 150 mg per day in normal circumstances.

  • For children (between 12 years to 18 years)

10 mg thrice a day and 20 mg at night before sleeping. Your doctor may adjust your dose if he thinks it appropriate.

  • For children (less than 12 years of age)

Doctors should recommend the dose of Amitriptyline for this age group after a full examination.


If you ever feel uneasy after taking Amitriptyline or have taken the medication in excess, Do consult your doctor and seek medical help as soon as possible. You can get medical assistance by calling on the poison helpline number at 1-800-222-1222. It would be best if you don’t ignore these symptoms; they can be very dangerous.

  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Lightheadedness
  • Seizures
  • Coma

What to avoid while using Amitriptyline?

Taking this medication can impair your thinking process or reaction to that. You must be very careful while driving and doing activities that require alertness and attention. Avoid direct exposure to the sunlight. You should avoid alcoholic drinks because a dangerous interaction may happen between these two.

Amitriptyline side effects

Some of the common side effects of using Amitriptyline are as follows:

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Upset stomach
  • Pain in mouth
  • Unusual taste
  • Black tongue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Change in weight
  • Urinating less than normal
  • Itching or rashes on the body
  • Swelling in the breast
  • Problem in intimacy

It is obvious to experience mild side effect symptoms, but if these symptoms bother you so much and are unbearable, you should consult your doctor and ask for medical help. You can stop taking medication and tell your doctor if you face the following problems while taking Amitriptyline:

  • Symptoms of the blood clot
  • Mood swings
  • Lightheadedness
  • Pain or pressure in the chest
  • Sweating
  • Fluttering in the chest
  • Pounding heartbeats
  • Confusion or hallucination
  • Seizures
  • Problem in urination
  • Constipation
  • Unusual bleeding
  • Easy bruising
  • Fever and chills
  • Sore throat or mouth

You should also report to your doctor from time to time if you experience any new symptoms or your symptoms are getting even worse.

What drugs can interact with Amitriptyline?

If your doctor is treating you with Amitriptyline, he must be knowing all the possible interactions with other medications. It is your responsibility to tell the doctor about all the over the counter medicines you take or taken in the past few days. Some of the following medications which can interact with Amitriptyline are:

  • Antidepressants
  • Antianxiety medication
  • Medicines to treat other mental illness
  • Cold or allergy medicines
  • Medicines to treat Parkinson’s disease
  • Medicines for motion sickness
  • Medicine for irritable bowel syndrome
  • Medicines to treat overactive bladder
  • Asthma medication
  • Other over the counter medication
  • Herbal products
  • Vitamins and other nutritional supplements

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