Treatment for depression with Elavil (Amitryptyline)
Elavil (amitryptyline) as a treatment for depression:
Elavil is usually prescribed as a treatment for depression. It is a member of
the group of drugs called tricyclic antidepressants. Some doctors also prescribe
Elavil to treat bulimia (an eating disorder), to control chronic pain, to
prevent migraine headaches, and to treat a pathological weeping and laughing
syndrome associated with multiple sclerosis.
Some important facts to know about Elavil as a
treatment for depression:
You may need to take Elavil regularly for
several weeks before it becomes fully effective. You should not skip doses,
if it really does not seem to make a difference, or even if you feel that you do
not really need it.
How should you take Elavil?
Elavil should be taken exactly as prescribed. You
may experience side effects, such as mild drowsiness, early in treatment
for depression. However, these side effects usually disappear after a few days.
It may take as long as 30 days to effectively treat your depression.
Elavil may cause a dry mouth. Sucking on hard
candy, chewing gum, or melting bits of ice in your mouth can provide relief.
If you miss a dose…
If you miss your regular dose of Elavil, take it
as soon as you can remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the
one you missed and go back your regular schedule. Never take two doses at the
If you take a single daily dose at bedtime, do
not make up for it in the morning. It may cause side effects during the daytime.
Keep Elavil in a tightly closed container. Store
at room temperature and protect it from the light and excessive heat.
Special warnings about Elavil:
Do not stop taking Elavil abruptly, especially if
you have been taking large doses for a long period of time, your doctor will
probably want to decrease your dosage gradually. This will help prevent a
possible relapse of depressive symptoms, and will reduce the possibility of
Elavil may make your skin more sensitive to
sunlight. Try to stay out of the sun, wear protective clothing, and apply a
sunblock. It may also cause you to become drowsy or less alert; therefore, you
should not drive or operate dangerous machinery or participate in any hazardous
activity that requires full mental alertness until you know how this drug
While taking this medication as a treatment for
depression, you may feel dizzy or lightheaded, or actually faint when getting up
from a lying or sitting position. If getting up slowly doesn’t help or if this
problem continues, notify your doctor.
Use Elavil with caution if you have ever had
seizures, urinary retention, glaucoma or other chronic eye conditions, a heart
or circulatory system disorder, or liver problems. Be cautious, also, if you are
receiving thyroid medication. You should discuss all of your medical problems
with your doctor before starting this depression medication. Before having
surgery, dental treatment, or any diagnostic procedures, tell the doctor that
you are taking Elavil. Certain drugs used during surgery, such as anesthetics
and muscle relaxants, and drugs used in certain diagnostic procedures may react
badly with this medication.
By Paul Susic
Information provided by
The PDR Pocket Guide to Prescription Drugs - Sixth Edition
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