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Elavil: Understanding the Medication and Its Uses
Elavil is a medication that contains the active ingredient Amitriptyline, which belongs to a group of drugs known as tricyclic antidepressants. It is used to treat various medical conditions, including depression, neuropathic pain, chronic tension-type headache prophylaxis, migraine prophylaxis, and bed-wetting in children aged six years and above. However, for the treatment of bed-wetting, it should only be given by doctors with expertise in treating patients with persistent bed-wetting, after excluding organic causes, and when no response has been achieved to other non-drug and drug treatments, including muscle relaxants and desmopressin.
How to Take Elavil
It is important to take Elavil exactly as your doctor has instructed you to. The appropriate formulation and strength of Elavil dosage regimen should be recommended by a doctor for each patient individually. You can take this medication with or without food, but it is essential to swallow the tablets with a drink of water, and not to chew them. Do not change the dose or stop taking the medicine without consulting your doctor first.
As with other medications for the treatment of depression, it may take a few weeks before you feel any improvement. The duration of treatment is usually at least six months and should be continued for as long as your doctor recommends. The underlying illness may persist for a long time, and if you stop your treatment too soon, your symptoms may return. For the treatment of neuropathic pain, chronic tension-type headache, and migraine prophylaxis, it might take a few weeks before you feel any improvement of your pain. Talk to your doctor about the duration of your treatment, and continue to take this medication for as long as your doctor recommends.
What to Do If You Take More Elavil Tablets Than You Should
If you accidentally take more Elavil tablets than you should, you should contact your doctor or nearest hospital casualty department immediately, even if there are no signs of discomfort or poisoning. Take the container of this medication with you if you go to a doctor or hospital.
What to Do If You Forget to Take Your Elavil Tablets
If you forget to take your Elavil tablets, take the next dose at the usual time. Do not take a double dose to make up for a forgotten one.
How to Store Elavil
It is essential to keep Elavil out of the sight and reach of children and not to store it above 25°C (77°F). After the expiration date, throw away any unused medication.
Overall, Elavil is an effective medication for the treatment of various medical conditions, and it is crucial to follow your doctor's instructions when taking this medication to ensure that you receive the maximum benefits and minimize the risks of side effects.
Like all medicines, this medicine can cause side effects, although not everybody gets them.
- shakiness of hands or other body parts
- irregular, hard, or rapid heartbeat
- dizziness when you stand up due to low blood pressure (orthostatic hypotension)
- dry mouth
- excessive sweating
- weight gain
- slurred or slow speech
- congested nose
- sexual disturbances (decreased sex drive, problems with erection)
- disturbance in attention
- changes in taste
- numbness or tingling in the arms or legs
- disturbed coordination
- dilated pupils
- heart block
- low sodium concentration in the blood
- urination disorders
- feeling thirsty
If you get any side effects, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. This includes any possible side effects not listed above.
What you need to know before you take Elavil
Do not take the medication:
- If you are allergic to amitriptyline or any of the other ingredients of this medicine.
- If you recently have had a heart attack (myocardial infarction).
- If you have heart problems such as disturbances in heart rhythm which are seen on an electrocardiogram (ECG), heart block, or coronary artery disease.
- If you are taking medicines known as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs).
- If you have taken MAOIs within the last 14 days.
- If you have taken moclobemide the day before.
- If you have severe liver disease.
If you are treated with Elavil tablets, you have to stop taking this medicine and wait for 14 days before you start treatment with an MAOI.
This medicine should not be used for children below 6 years of age.
Warnings and precautions
Tell your doctor if you have/have had any medical problems, especially:
- A heart problem called “prolonged QT interval” and/or heart rhythm disorders.
- Thoughts of suicide and worsening of your depression.
- Episodes of mania.
- Narrow-angle glaucoma (loss of vision due to abnormally high pressure in the eye).
- Epilepsy, a history of convulsions or fits.
- Difficulty in passing urine.
- Enlarged prostate.
- Thyroid disease.
- Bipolar disorder.
- Severe liver disease.
- Severe heart disease.
- Pylorus stenosis (narrowing of the gastric outlet) and paralytic ileus (blocked intestine).
- Diabetes as you might need an adjustment of your antidiabetic medicine.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Elavil is not recommended during pregnancy unless your doctor considers it clearly necessary and only after careful consideration of the benefit and risk. If you have taken this medicine during the last part of the pregnancy, the newborn may have withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, increased muscle tension, tremor, irregular breathing, poor drinking, loud crying, urinary retention, and constipation.
Your doctor will advise you whether to start/continue/ stop breastfeeding or stop using this medicine taking into account the benefit of breastfeeding for your child and the benefit of therapy for you.
Other medicines and Elavil
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking or have recently taken any other medicines, such as:
- monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) (e.g., phenelzine, iproniazid, isocarboxazid, nialamide or tranylcypromine or selegiline)
- adrenaline, ephedrine, isoprenaline, noradrenaline, phenylephrine, and phenylpropanolamine
- calcium-channel blockers (e.g. diltiazem, and verapamil), guanethidine, betanidine, clonidine reserpine, and methyldopa
- anticholinergic drugs (e.g., atropine, hyoscyamine)
- tramadol (painkiller), nefopam, or opioid painkillers
- antifungals (e.g., fluconazole, terbinafine, ketoconazole, and itraconazole)
- sedatives (like barbiturates)
- antidepressants (e.g SSRIs (fluoxetine, paroxetine, fluvoxamine), and bupropion)
- beta blockers and antiarrhythmics (e.g., as amiodarone, disopyramide, propafenone)
- cimetidine, methylphenidate, ritonavir, rifampicin
- oral contraceptives
- phenytoin and carbamazepine
- St. John´s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)
- thyroid medication
- apraclonidine and brimonidine, altretamine, disulfiram, baclofen
- medicines to treat angina that you spray or dissolve under your tongue (e.g., glyceryl trinitrate, isosorbide dinitrate)
- sibutramine (to suppress appetite)
If you are going to have an operation and receive general or local anesthetics, you should tell your doctor that you are taking this medicine.
Likewise, you should tell your dentist that you take this medicine if you are to receive a local anesthetic.