"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 Side Effects Center
Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Elavil (amitryptiline) belongs to the class of tricyclic antidepressants. It is available in generic form. Elavil is used to treat depression and mood disorders. It may also be used to treat other conditions including nerve pain, eating disorder, anxiety, and panic disorder. The most common side effects are drowsiness, dry mouth, and dizziness.
Elavil is taken by mouth in tablet form. The medication may take up to four weeks to take full effect. You should not use Elavil if you are taking drugs of the MAOI class or have taken these medications in the past 14 days. This is not a complete list of potential drug interactions with Elavil, and other medications may interact with this drug. Elavil has been shown to cause harm to the developing fetus. You should discuss with your doctor the risk and benefits of using Elavil during pregnancy. Women using Elavil should not breastfeed since Elavil is excreted in breast milk.
Our Elavil Side Effects Drug Center provides a comprehensive view of available drug information on the potential side effects when taking this medication.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What is Patient Information Overview?
A concise overview of the drug for the patient or caregiver from First DataBank.
Elavil Overview - Patient Information: Side Effects
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 entire patient information overview for Elavil (Amitriptyline)»
What is Prescribing information?
The FDA package insert formatted in easy-to-find categories for health professionals and clinicians.
Elavil FDA Prescribing Information: Side Effects
Within each category the following adverse reactions are listed in order of decreasing severity. Included in the listing are a few adverse reactions which have not been reported with this specific drug. However, pharmacological similarities among the tricyclic antidepressant drugs require that each of the reactions be considered when amitriptyline is administered.
Cardiovascular: Myocardial infarction; stroke; nonspecific ECG changes and changes in AV conduction; heart block; arrhythmias; hypotension, particularly orthostatic hypotension; syncope; hypertension; tachycardia; palpitation.
CNS and Neuromuscular: Coma; seizures; hallucinations; delusions; confusional states; disorientation; incoordination; ataxia; tremors; peripheral neuropathy; numbness, tingling, and paresthesias of the extremities; extrapyramidal symptoms including abnormal involuntary movements and tardive dyskinesia; dysarthria; disturbed concentration; excitement; anxiety; insomnia; restlessness; nightmares; drowsiness; dizziness; weakness; fatigue; headache; syndrome of inappropriate ADH (antidiuretic hormone) secretion; tinnitus; alteration in EEG patterns.
Anticholinergic: Paralytic ileus; hyperpyrexia; urinary retention; dilatation of the urinary tract; constipation; blurred vision, disturbance of accommodation, increased ocular pressure, mydriasis; dry mouth.
Gastrointestinal: Rarely hepatitis (including altered liver function and jaundice); nausea; epigastric distress; vomiting; anorexia; stomatitis; peculiar taste; diarrhea; parotid swelling; black tongue.
Withdrawal Symptoms: After prolonged administration, abrupt cessation of treatment may produce nausea, headache, and malaise. Gradual dosage reduction has been reported to produce, within two weeks, transient symptoms including irritability, restlessness, and dream and sleep disturbance.
These symptoms are not indicative of addiction. Rare instances have been reported of mania or hypomania occurring within 2-7 days following cessation of chronic therapy with tricyclic antidepressants.
Causal Relationship Unknown: Other reactions, reported under circumstances where a causal relationship could not be established, are listed to serve as alerting information to physicians:
Read the entire FDA prescribing information for Elavil (Amitriptyline) »
Additional Elavil Information
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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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