Generic Name: Amitriptyline (a mee TRIP ti leen)
Brand Name: Elavil
Medically reviewed on July 4, 2018
- 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 Elavil (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.
The Elavil brand name has been discontinued in the U.S. If generic versions of this product have been approved by the FDA, there may be generic equivalents available.
Uses of Elavil:
- 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 Elavil?
- If you have an allergy to amitriptyline or any other part of Elavil (amitriptyline).
- 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 Elavil (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 Elavil (amitriptyline).
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 Elavil (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 Elavil?
- Tell all of your health care providers that you take Elavil (amitriptyline). 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 Elavil (amitriptyline) is stopped, your doctor will tell you when to start taking Elavil (amitriptyline) 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 Elavil (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 Elavil (amitriptyline) all of a sudden without calling your doctor. You may have a greater risk of signs of withdrawal. If you need to stop Elavil (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.
- Tell your doctor if you have signs of high or low blood sugar like breath that smells like fruit, dizziness, fast breathing, fast heartbeat, feeling confused, feeling sleepy, feeling weak, flushing, headache, more thirsty or hungry, passing urine more often, shaking, or sweating.
- 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 Elavil (amitriptyline). 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.
- This medicine may make you sunburn more easily. Use care if you will be in the sun. Tell your doctor if you sunburn easily while taking this drug.
- Be careful in hot weather or while being active. Drink lots of fluids to stop fluid loss.
- Some people who take Elavil (amitriptyline) may get a very bad muscle problem called tardive dyskinesia. This muscle problem may not go away even if Elavil (amitriptyline) is stopped. Sometimes, signs may lessen or go away over time after Elavil (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 Elavil (amitriptyline) 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.
- If you are 65 or older, use Elavil (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 Elavil (amitriptyline) while you are pregnant.
How is this medicine (Elavil) best taken?
Use Elavil (amitriptyline) as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
- Take at bedtime if taking once a day.
- To gain the most benefit, do not miss doses.
- Keep taking Elavil (amitriptyline) as you have been told by your doctor or other health care provider, even if you feel well.
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.
See also: Dosage Information (in more detail)
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, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Signs of high or low blood pressure like very bad headache or dizziness, passing out, change in eyesight.
- Weakness on 1 side of the body, trouble speaking or thinking, change in balance, drooping on one side of the face, or blurred eyesight.
- Chest pain or pressure or a fast heartbeat.
- A heartbeat that does not feel normal.
- Feeling confused.
- Not able to focus.
- Trouble passing urine.
- Change in how often urine is passed.
- Feeling very tired or weak.
- Any unexplained bruising or bleeding.
- Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not there).
- A burning, numbness, or tingling feeling that is not normal.
- Change in sex interest.
- Not able to get or keep an erection.
- Swelling of the testicles.
- Enlarged breasts.
- Nipple discharge.
- Fever or chills.
- Sore throat.
- Very bad belly pain.
- Very hard stools (constipation).
- Not sweating during activities or in warm temperatures.
- Not able to sleep.
- Bad dreams.
- Ringing in ears.
- Change in tongue color.
- Sweating a lot.
What are some other side effects of Elavil?
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).
- Feeling nervous and excitable.
- Change in taste.
- Weight gain or loss.
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.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
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 Elavil?
- 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.
- Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.
Consumer information use
- 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 Elavil (amitriptyline) is refilled. If you have any questions about Elavil (amitriptyline), 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.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
More about Elavil (amitriptyline)
- Elavil Side Effects
- During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Dosage Information
- Drug Images
- Drug Interactions
- Support Group
- En Español
- 130 Reviews
- Drug class: tricyclic antidepressants
Other brands: Vanatrip