"Most antidepressants have similar efficacy. Treatment choices are largely based on adverse effects, costs, and other factors. Knowing the long-term impact of these medications on weight could help inform these decisions.
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(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.
Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including: black stools, vomit that looks like coffee grounds, severe dizziness, fainting, seizures, eye pain/swelling/redness, vision changes (such as seeing rainbows around lights at night).
This medication may rarely cause a very serious condition called neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS). Get medical help right away if you have any of the following symptoms: fever, muscle stiffness, severe confusion, sweating, fast/irregular heartbeat.
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), personal or family history of glaucoma (angle-closure type), 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 need medical attention right away.
The risk of QT prolongation may be increased if you have certain medical conditions or are taking other drugs that may cause QT prolongation. Before using amitriptyline, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the drugs you take and 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.
Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially dry mouth, dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, constipation, difficulty urinating, and QT prolongation (see above). Dizziness, drowsiness, and confusion can increase the risk of falling.
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
Since untreated mental/mood problems (such as depression, anxiety, panic disorder) 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.
Additional Elavil Information
- Elavil Drug Interactions Center: amitriptyline oral
- Elavil Side Effects Center
- Elavil Overview including Precautions
- Elavil FDA Approved Prescribing Information including Dosage
Elavil - User Reviews
Elavil User Reviews
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Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
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