Amitriptyline is classified as a tricyclic antidepressant that is used for treating a wide variety of mental illnesses. On the market, you buy Amitriptyline branded as Elavil.
Each 10 mg tablet contains inactive ingredients which include microcrystalline cellulose, sodium starch glycolate, hypromellose, magnesium stearate, lactose monohydrate, titanium dioxide, polysorbate, colloidal silicon dioxide, and polyethylene glycol.
Other ingredients in 25mg tablet and higher dosages include FD&C blue #2 lake, D&C Yellow #10 lake, synthetic yellow iron oxide, and synthetic red iron oxide, D&C red #33 lake, FD&C yellow #6 lake and FD&C red 40 lake.
When there are chemical changes and imbalances in the central nervous system i.e. spinal cord and the brain, it commonly manifests as distress or increased pain. Amitriptyline works to maintain chemical balance in the nervous system which boosts sleep, relaxes muscles and pain relief. This drug also helps deal with anxiety and depression that is caused by pain.
Amitriptyline is used for treating various conditions which include arthritis, tension headaches, back pain, and neck pain, peripheral neuropathy (damage to nerve endings in the limbs) and fibromyalgia.
Mode of Indication, Dosage and Treatment Duration
Amitriptyline is available in dosage strengths of 10mg, 25mg or 50mg, and the liquid medication is available in 10mg, 25mg or 50mg of amitriptyline served using a 5ml spoonful. The recommended dosage for this drug is 50mg to 100mg for adults who are depressed. However, your doctor can increase the dosage to 150mg to 200mg depending on how you respond to medication. In some cases, patients can begin on a lower dose to minimize the chances of side effects. You shouldn’t exceed a dose of 200mg per day. Treatment duration varies but in most cases, it takes about 4-6 weeks for amitriptyline to begin yielding results. This medicine can be taken with or without food.
Amitriptyline Side Effects
Amitriptyline has various categories of side effects. While some are mild and can be managed, others require urgent medical attention. Common side effects include:
- Weight gain;
- Dry mouth;
- Difficulties when urinating;
- Blurred vision.
Rare but serious symptoms that require immediate medical attention include:
- Fast and irregular heartbeat;
- Developing suicidal thoughts;
- Eye pain, swelling or redness inside or around the eye; vision becoming affected;
- Inability to urinate;
- Frequent headaches, weakness, and confusion which are likely symptoms of low potassium. Severe cases can cause seizures;
- Severe constipation;
- Yellow skin or yellowing of your eyes; this may indicate a liver complication;
- Loss of balance, troubled speech, and weakness on one side of the body are symptoms of a stroke. Emergency medical services should be called immediately.
Amitriptyline is safe for consumption by most adults and children between the ages of 16 and 17 for low mood and depression. However, you should inform the doctor if you:
- Are allergic to amitriptyline;
- Suffer from liver or kidney complications;
- Have a heart disease;
- Suffer from epilepsy or you are on electroconvulsive treatment;
- Pregnant, breastfeeding or trying to become pregnant;
- Suicidal thoughts;
- Harming or ending your life;
- Using or recently used antidepressants or depression medication;
- Porphyria, a rare illness.
Amitriptyline can be used alongside other drugs for treatment purposes. On the other hand, there are drugs that can interfere with amitriptyline and reduce its effectiveness. Some of the drugs include the following.
- Painkillers such as codeine and tramadol used with amitriptyline can cause drowsiness;
- Be careful using amitriptyline with SNRI or SSRI antidepressants;
- Blood pressure or heart disease medications;
- Avoid taking over-the-counter medicines or herbal drugs before discussing with your doctor.