Generic Name: Amitriptyline (a mee TRIP ti leen)
Brand Name: Elavil
- Drugs like this one have raised the chance of suicidal thoughts or actions in children and young adults. The risk may be greater in people who have had these thoughts or actions in the past. All people who take amitriptyline need to be watched closely. Call the doctor right away if signs like low mood (depression), nervousness, restlessness, grouchiness, panic attacks, or changes in mood or actions are new or worse. Call the doctor right away if any thoughts or actions of suicide occur.
- This medicine is not approved for use in children. Talk with the doctor.
Uses of Amitriptyline:
- It is used to treat low mood (depression).
- It may be given to you for other reasons. Talk with the doctor.
What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take Amitriptyline?
- If you have an allergy to amitriptyline or any other part of this medicine.
- If you are allergic to any drugs like this one, any other drugs, foods, or other substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had, like rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
- If you have had a recent heart attack.
- If you have taken certain drugs used for low mood (depression) like isocarboxazid, phenelzine, or tranylcypromine or drugs used for Parkinson's disease like selegiline or rasagiline in the last 14 days. Taking amitriptyline within 14 days of those drugs can cause very bad high blood pressure.
- If you are taking any of these drugs: Linezolid or methylene blue.
- If you are taking cisapride.
- If you are breast-feeding or plan to breast-feed.
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with this medicine.
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take amitriptyline with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.
What are some things I need to know or do while I take Amitriptyline?
- Tell all of your health care providers that you take this medicine. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists. This medicine may need to be stopped before certain types of surgery as your doctor has told you. If amitriptyline is stopped, your doctor will tell you when to start taking this medicine again after your surgery or procedure.
- Avoid driving and doing other tasks or actions that call for you to be alert until you see how amitriptyline affects you.
- To lower the chance of feeling dizzy or passing out, rise slowly if you have been sitting or lying down. Be careful going up and down stairs.
- Do not stop taking this medicine all of a sudden without calling your doctor. You may have a greater risk of side effects. If you need to stop amitriptyline, you will want to slowly stop it as ordered by your doctor.
- If you have high blood sugar (diabetes), you will need to watch your blood sugar closely.
- Talk with your doctor before you drink alcohol or use other drugs and natural products that slow your actions.
- Some people may have a higher chance of eye problems with this medicine. Your doctor may want you to have an eye exam to see if you have a higher chance of these eye problems. Call your doctor right away if you have eye pain, change in eyesight, or swelling or redness in or around the eye.
- Be careful in hot weather or while being active. Drink lots of fluids to stop fluid loss.
- If you are 65 or older, use amitriptyline with care. You could have more side effects.
- Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant. You will need to talk about the benefits and risks of using this medicine while you are pregnant.
How is this medicine (Amitriptyline) best taken?
Use amitriptyline as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
- Take at bedtime if it causes sleepiness.
- Take with or without food. Take with food if it causes an upset stomach.
- Keep taking this medicine as you have been told by your doctor or other health care provider, even if you feel well.
- To gain the most benefit, do not miss doses.
What do I do if I miss a dose?
- Take a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
- If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
- Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.
What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?
WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
- Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Signs of liver problems like dark urine, feeling tired, not hungry, upset stomach or stomach pain, light-colored stools, throwing up, or yellow skin or eyes.
- If you are planning to harm yourself or the want to harm yourself gets worse.
- Weakness on 1 side of the body, trouble speaking or thinking, change in balance, drooping on one side of the face, or blurred eyesight.
- A fast heartbeat.
- A heartbeat that does not feel normal.
- Very bad dizziness or passing out.
- Very bad headache.
- Feeling confused.
- Change in balance.
- Trouble speaking.
- Not able to pass urine.
- Feeling very tired or weak.
- Any unexplained bruising or bleeding.
- Swelling in the arms or legs.
- Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not there).
- A burning, numbness, or tingling feeling that is not normal.
- Chest pain or pressure.
- Change in sex ability.
- Fever or chills.
- Sore throat.
- Very bad belly pain.
- Very hard stools (constipation).
- Not sweating during activities or in warm temperatures.
- Some people who take amitriptyline may get a very bad muscle problem called tardive dyskinesia. This muscle problem may not go away even if this medicine is stopped. Sometimes, signs may lessen or go away over time after amitriptyline is stopped. The risk of tardive dyskinesia may be greater in people with diabetes and in older adults, especially older women. The risk is also greater the longer you take this medicine or with higher doses. Muscle problems may also occur after short-term use with low doses. Call your doctor right away if you have trouble controlling body movements or if you have muscle problems with your tongue, face, mouth, or jaw like tongue sticking out, puffing cheeks, mouth puckering, or chewing.
What are some other side effects of Amitriptyline?
All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
- Hard stools (constipation).
- Feeling sleepy.
- Dry mouth.
- Feeling tired or weak.
- Upset stomach or throwing up.
- Not hungry.
- Loose stools (diarrhea).
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. You may also report side effects at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
How do I store and/or throw out Amitriptyline?
- Store at room temperature.
- Protect from light.
- Store in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.
- Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
- Check with your pharmacist about how to throw out unused drugs.
Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer
- If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
- Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else's drugs.
- Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
- Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including prescription or OTC, natural products, or vitamins.
- This medicine comes with an extra patient fact sheet called a Medication Guide. Read it with care. Read it again each time amitriptyline is refilled. If you have any questions about this medicine, please talk with the doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take amitriptyline or any other medicine. Only the healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for a specific patient. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to amitriptyline. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from the healthcare provider. You must talk with the healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.
Review Date: December 6, 2017
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- Drug class: tricyclic antidepressants