"What are tricyclic antidepressants, and how do they work?
Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) are a class of antidepressant medications that share a similar chemical structure and biological effects. Scientists believe that patients "...
(Generic versions may still be available.)
Elavil Consumer (continued)
Drowsiness, dizziness, dry mouth, blurred vision, constipation, weight gain, or trouble urinating may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
To reduce the risk of dizziness and lightheadedness, get up slowly when rising from a sitting or lying position.
To relieve dry mouth, suck on (sugarless) hard candy or ice chips, chew (sugarless) gum, drink water, or use a saliva substitute.
To prevent constipation, maintain a diet adequate in fiber, drink plenty of water, and exercise. If you become constipated while using this drug, consult your pharmacist for help in selecting a laxative.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor immediately if any of these rare but serious side effects occur: easy bruising/bleeding, persistent heartburn, shaking, mask-like facial expressions, muscle spasms, severe stomach/abdominal pain, decreased sexual ability/desire, enlarged/painful breasts.
Seek immediate medical attention if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur: black stools, vomit that looks like coffee grounds, severe dizziness, fast/irregular heartbeat, fainting, seizures.
This medication may rarely cause a very serious condition called serotonin syndrome. The risk increases when this medication is used with certain other drugs (see Drug Interactions section). Seek immediate medical attention if you develop some of the following symptoms: hallucinations, unusual restlessness, loss of coordination, unexplained fever, severe nausea/vomiting/diarrhea, twitching muscles.
This medication may rarely cause a serious condition called neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS). Seek immediate medical attention if you develop the following: unexplained fever, muscle stiffness, severe confusion, sweating.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Read the Elavil (amitriptyline) Side Effects Center for a complete guide to possible side effects »
PRECAUTIONS: See also Warning section.
Before taking amitriptyline, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it, or to other tricyclic antidepressants (such as nortriptyline), or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: bleeding problems, breathing problems, liver problems, recent heart attack, problems urinating (such as due to enlarged prostate), overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), a certain eye problem (glaucoma), personal or family history of mental/mood conditions (such as bipolar disorder, psychosis), family history of suicide, seizures, conditions that may increase your risk of seizures (such as other brain disease, alcohol withdrawal).
Amitriptyline may cause a condition that affects the heart rhythm (QT prolongation). QT prolongation can infrequently result in serious (rarely fatal) fast/irregular heartbeat and other symptoms (such as severe dizziness, fainting) that require immediate medical attention. The risk of QT prolongation may be increased if you have certain medical conditions or are taking other drugs that may affect the heart rhythm (see also Drug Interactions section). Before using amitriptyline, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any of the following conditions: certain heart problems (heart failure, slow heartbeat, QT prolongation in the EKG), family history of certain heart problems (QT prolongation in the EKG, sudden cardiac death).
Low levels of potassium or magnesium in the blood may also increase your risk of QT prolongation. This risk may increase if you use certain drugs (such as diuretics/"water pills") or if you have conditions such as severe sweating, diarrhea, or vomiting. Talk to your doctor about using amitriptyline safely.
This drug may make you drowsy or dizzy or cause blurred vision. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness or clear vision until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. Avoid alcoholic beverages.
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
This medication may make you more sensitive to the sun. Avoid prolonged sun exposure, tanning booths, and sunlamps. Use a sunscreen and wear protective clothing when outdoors.
If you have diabetes, this drug may make it harder to control your blood sugar levels. Monitor your blood sugar levels regularly and tell your doctor of the results. Your doctor may need to adjust your diabetes medication, exercise program, or diet.
Caution is advised when using this drug in older adults because they may be more sensitive to its side effects, especially dry mouth, dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, and difficulty urinating.
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
Since untreated depression can be a serious condition, do not stop using this medication unless directed by your doctor. If you are planning pregnancy, become pregnant, or think you may be pregnant, immediately discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using this medication during pregnancy.
This medication passes into breast milk and the effect on a nursing infant is unknown. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
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