Amitriptyline belongs to a class of medication known as tricyclic antidepressants. This medication affects the chemical inside the brain that can be unbalanced in people with depression.
This drug is used in treating symptoms of depression. It improves the feeling of well-being and helps in relieving anxiety and tension. Amitriptyline also helps in sleeping better and increasing your energy level.
How It Works
Amitriptyline belongs to a group of drugs known as tricyclic antidepressants; a group of medications that work in a similar way and are used in treating the same medical conditions.
Amitriptyline works on the central nervous system and helps in increasing the level of some natural chemicals (neurotransmitters) inside the brain and this, in turn, helps in improving depression.
Just like any other medication, Amitriptyline also has few side effects. Most of the side effects of this medication are temporary and may slowly disappear as your body has time to adjust to this medication. These common side effects include:
- Dry mouth
- Blurred vision
- Weight gain
- Trouble in urinating
These side effects are not too worrisome, but if they start to worsen, then you may seek medical help immediately.
To reduce the effects of dizziness and lightheadedness, make sure to get up from your sitting or lying position slowly.
To get rid of dry mouth, you can suck on sugarless candy or ice chips, chew any sugarless candy, or drink plenty of water.
To deal with constipation, make sure that you eat a diet adequate in fiber, drink a lot of water, and also exercise. If you start to become constipated when using this drug, ask your pharmacist for help in choosing a laxative suited for you.
Remember that you have been prescribed this medication because your doctor believes that the benefits of Amitriptyline are greater than the side effects. Many people who take this drug do not experience any serious side effects, Some side effects include:
- Bruising or bleeding
- Persistent heartburn
- Shaking or tremor
- Mask-like expressions on the face
- Muscle spasms
- Severe pain in stomach or abdominal
- A decrease in sexual ability and desire
- Enlarged or painful breast
- Black stool
- Vomit that may look like coffee grounds
- Severe dizziness
- Eye pain
- Vision changing
Amitriptyline may also cause a very serious medical condition known as the neuroleptic malignant syndrome. If you start to see any symptoms of this syndrome such as sweating, severe confusion, fever, muscle stiffness, fast or irregular heartbeat; let your doctor know immediately.
Before using this medication, make sure that your doctor is aware of your allergies, especially if you are allergic to this medication or to any other tricyclic antidepressants. Also, your doctor should know if you have any other allergies since this medicine contains inactive ingredients that can lead to allergic reactions.
Make sure your physician knows all about your medical history and family history especially of:
- Bleeding problem
- Breathing problems
- Liver problem
- Recent heart attack
- Problem in urinating due to enlarged prostate
- Overactive thyroid
- Mental or mood conditions
Amitriptyline can also lead to a condition that may affect your heart rhythm known as QT prolongation. This can also cause fatal fast and irregular heartbeat so you may need medical attention immediately if symptoms of this condition start to show.
The chances of QT prolongation can be increased if you have certain medical problems or if you are using other drugs that can lead to QT prolongation.
Before using Amitriptyline, make sure that your doctor or physician knows about all the drugs you take including all herbal products, vitamins, and minerals. Having low levels of magnesium and potassium in the blood can also increase the risk of you getting QT prolongation. This risk can increase if you are using drugs such as diuretics or water pills and if you have certain medical conditions such as sweating, diarrhea, and vomiting. Do consult with your doctor about using this drug safely.
This medication may even make you drowsy and dizzy so avoid alcohol and marijuana after using this drug and also do not use machinery, drive, or do any activity that requires you to stay alert.
Limit the consumption of alcohol when using this drug as this may have a direct effect on your blood level. Also, ask your doctor before using marijuana along with this drug.
Before having any kind of surgery, make sure that your doctor and dentist are aware of all the products you are using. These include prescriptions drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products.
This medication can make you more sensitive to the sun so limit the time you spend outside. Also, avoid all kinds of tanning booths and sunlamps. Make sure that if you go outside, you are covered properly; wear protective clothing and use sunscreen.
If you get any sunburns or skin blisters, let your doctor know right away.
If you are a victim of diabetes, then this drug can make it very hard for you to control your blood sugar level. So, check your blood sugar level frequently and in case of any changes, let your doctor know immediately.
Older adults using this drug have more chances of being susceptible to the side effects this drug has, especially to dizziness, dry mouth, confusion, difficulty in urinating, drowsiness, constipation, and QT prolongation. Being dizzy, drowsy, or confused can also increase the risk of falling down.
During your pregnancy, only use this drug if absolutely necessary as it may harm your unborn baby.
This drug can also enter breast milk, so if you are feeding a newborn baby, then this medication can have an undesirable effect on the infant. Make sure to consult your doctor when it comes to breastfeeding.
Keep in mind that untreated mood or mental problems such as panic disorder, depression, etc. are serious conditions and you should not stop using this drug until and unless your doctor instructs you to do so.