What is Elavil?
Elavil (amitriptyline) belongs to a class of similar drugs called tricyclic antidepressants. Elavil is prescribed to treat depression, bulimia (an eating disorder characterized by binging and purging), chronic pain from a variety of conditions including fibromyalgia, reduce the incidence of chronic headache or migraine, ulcers, uncontrollable hiccups, primary (childhood onset) insomnia, and to control the involuntary crying and laughing experienced by individuals with multiple sclerosis.
It may take a few weeks to experience the full benefits of Elavil treatment; individuals taking it are encouraged to expect up to a 30 day wait before seeing improvement. Elavil's effectiveness depends on building up a steady dose of the medication in your body and maintaining it over time. Do not skip doses, even if you feel you do not need them, as this may reduce the effectiveness of Elavil. This medication will commonly be prescribed for no more than 6 months, at which time your doctor may want to evaluate your treatment or recommend tests to see if you're having any physical reactions to the medication you may not be aware of.
Elavil is available only by prescription.
Elavil Side Effects
Side effects are most likely during Elavil treatment, particularly sleepiness, in the first few days of taking this medication. If any side effect doesn't clear up within a week, or if you have a very strong reaction, consult your doctor immediately. Many of the rare and serious side effects are more common in the elderly or with higher doses.
Elavil may cause drowsiness and affect your motor functions. Be familiar with how you react to this medication before driving or performing any hazardous task.
Common Elavil Side Effects: blurry vision, constipation, difficulty urinating, dry mouth, fatigue (problems with fatigue may be reduced by taking Elavil in the evening or at bedtime), sensitivity to sunlight (Wear sunglasses, protective clothing, and sunblock. Do not use sunlamps or tanning beds.), and temperature sensitivity (avoid saunas, jacuzzis, and exposure to extreme cold).
Occasional Elavil Side Effects: blood sugar changes, dental cavities, dizziness, fainting, headache, hives, increased appetite, indigestion, nausea, rash, shaking, swollen face or tongue, unsteadiness, weakness. If you become dizzy or faint when rising from sitting or lying down, getting up slowly may help. If this condition worsens you should contact your doctor. Indigestion and nausea may be relieved by taking Elavil with food; unless your doctor has instructed you otherwise, Elavil is best taken with food in most cases.
Rare Elavil Side Effects: breast enlargement, brown or red spots on skin, change in sense of taste or hearing, irritated tongue or mouth, nightmare, sexual side effects (impotence, difficulty with orgasm), sweating, restless feeling, vomiting.
Side effects of dosage reduction can be minimized by stepping gradually off your treatment according to your doctor's advice. Rapidly stopping Elavil could result in all-over discomfort, headache, or nausea. While slowly stopping Elavil, you may experience agitation, irritability, sleep disturbances, or restlessness.
Elavil is a central nervous system depressant, and should be used very cautiously in combination with any medication that warns it 'may cause drowsiness,' or increases your level of alertness. Over the counter medications and herbal supplements should be checked with your doctor or pharmacist if you are unsure about the safety of using them while taking Elavil.
A typical ongoing dose for mood disorders or depression in an average adult is 50-100mg daily, and no more than 200mg per day. Your doctor may start you on 25mg, 2-4 times daily, or on 50 mg taken at bedtime. Children and seniors will likely start with, and continue to take, lower doses of Elavil.
For ongoing treatment of primary insomnia, the effective dosage will usually be about 10-25mg per day, taken at bedtime. This drug should be effective for treating your insomnia within a couple days of use, if it will help at all. Some people with insomnia find that this medication either does not work, or significantly affects them the next day.
Elavil is available in the following amounts:
- Elavil Tablets: 10mg, 25mg, 50mg, 75mg, 100mg, 150mg
- Elavil Oral Suspension: 10mg/5ml - Do not freeze.
- Elavil Injection: 10mg/ml - Do not freeze.