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Prescription vs.OTC: Prescription by Doctor required
Last Updated: October 12, 2020

Prescribed for the treatment of depression and its symptoms, Amitriptyline acts as a tricyclic antidepressant. It basically controls brain chemicals that are unbalanced in patients who suffer from mental illness and depression.

Before you start using Amitriptyline ask your doctor more information about how it works and how the drug should be taken. The drug should not be used if you have suffered a heart attack recently. It is also not meant for consumption by breastfeeding mothers as the drug can pass into the milk and harm the baby.

You should take Amitriptyline as per instructions on the prescription and guide that comes with the drug. Take the exact dose that has been prescribed to you. It can take about 4 weeks before your symptoms of depression show improvement.

It is advised that Amitriptyline should not be stopped suddenly, as it can cause unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. If the need arises consult your doctor about stopping Amitriptyline. The drug should be stored at room temperature and kept safe from light, heat as well as moisture.

Often causes drowsiness/sedation, resulting in the impaired performance of tasks requiring alertness (ie, operating machinery or driving). Sedative effects may be additive with other CNS depressants and/or ethanol. The degree of sedation is very high relative to other antidepressants.

May worsen psychosis in some patients or precipitate a shift to mania or hypomania in patients with bipolar disease. May cause hyponatremia/SIADH. May increase the risks associated with electroconvulsive therapy. This agent should be discontinued, when possible, prior to elective surgery. Therapy should not be abruptly discontinued in patients receiving high doses for prolonged periods.

Use with caution in hyperthyroid patients or those receiving thyroid supplementation. Use with caution in patients with hepatic or renal dysfunction and in elderly patients. Not for use in patients <12 years of age.

Information given here is based on the salt content of the medicine. Uses and effects of the medicine may vary from person to person. It is advisable to consult a Psychiatrist before using this medicine.

This medicine is primarily used to treat the following conditions:

Common side effects of this medicine are as follows:

  • How long is the duration of effect?

    The effect of this medicine lasts for an average duration of 4-7 weeks after onset of action. However, it is subject to variation based on a patient's response to the medicine after administration.
  • What is the onset of action?

    The effect of this medicine can be observed within 3-6 weeks of administration.
  • Are there any pregnancy warnings?

    This medicine should be used by pregnant women only when the benefits outweigh the risk associated with usage. This medicine can cause harmful effects on fetus. Hence, you are advised to consult your doctor before taking this medicine.
  • Is it habit forming?

    No habit forming tendencies were reported.
  • Are there any breast-feeding warnings?

    This medicine should not be used by women who are breastfeeding. If it is absolutely necessary to take this medicine then you should stop breastfeeding. Consult your doctor before using this medicine.
  • Is It safe with alcohol?

    It is advised that while taking this medicine, the patients either limit or completely restrict the consumption of alcohol. This is because the medication upon interaction with alcohol can induce symptoms such as excessive sweating, sleepiness, muscle stiffness and sudden alterations of pulse rate.
  • Is it safe to drive while on this medicine?

    This medicine can cause side effects such as weakness, headache, blurred vision, seizures and drowsiness and is therefore not recommended that people drive while under this medication therapy.
  • Does this affect kidney function?

    There is no information available as to how the medicine affects kidney functionalities.
  • Does this affect liver function?

    There is no information available as to how the medicine affects liver functionalities.
  • Missed Dose instructions

    Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for the next scheduled dose then the missed dose should be skipped.
  • Overdose instructions

    Contact a doctor immediately if an overdose is suspected. Symptoms of overdose may include a change in pulse rates, severe drowsiness, confusion, vomiting, hallucinations, convulsions, and fainting. Immediate medical intervention may be required if the overdose symptoms are severe.
  • India

  • United States

  • Japan

Below is the list of medicines, which contains Amitriptyline as ingredient

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The exact mechanism of action for Amitriptyline is not established. However, it is believed to act by preventing the reuptake of neurotransmitters namely norepinephrine and serotonin. These chemicals are imbalanced in people with depression.

Whenever you take more than one medicine, or mix it with certain foods or beverages, you"re at risk of a drug interaction.

  • Interaction with Alcohol

    You should restrict or minimize the use of alcohol while taking this medicine. Symptoms like sleepiness, excessive sweating, muscle stiffness and change in pulse should be reported to the doctor on priority.
  • Interaction with Lab Test

    The patient taking this medicine may show false positive blood glucose test. Kindly inform your doctor before under going any pathological tests.
  • Interaction with Medicine


    Report the use of either of the medicines to the doctor. You may require a dose adjustment and clinical safety monitoring while taking these medicines together. Any heart-related complications like palpitation, change in pulse rate, dizziness and excessive sweating should be reported immediately.


    Report the use of either of the medicine to the doctor as the risk of adverse effects on the heart is very high if these medicines are administered together. You may require a dose adjustment and clinical safety monitoring while taking them together. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe an alternative medicine that does not interact with Clozapine.


    Report the use of either of the medicine to the doctor. The risk of adverse effects like sleepiness, dry mouth, vision disturbances, confusion etc is very high while these medicines are administered together. Your doctor may prescribe an alternate medicine that does not interact with Amitriptyline.


    Report the use of Amitriptyline to the doctor before receiving Linezolid. The risk of adverse effects like confusion, hallucinations, convulsions and coma are very high if these medicines are administered together. Your doctor may ask you to stop the use of Amitriptyline before the use of Linezolid.


    Report the use of either of the medicine to the doctor. The risk of adverse effects on the heart is very high while these medicines are administered together. Suitable dose adjustment and clinical safety monitoring may be required in such cases.


    Report the use of either of the medicine to the doctor. The risk of adverse effects is very high if these medicines are administered together. You should wait for 14 days after stopping Selegeline and then start using Amitriptyline and vice versa. Contact your doctor if you experience symptoms like hallucination, convulsions, changes in blood pressure etc.


    Report the use of either of the medicine to the doctor. You may require a dose adjustment and more frequent monitoring of blood pressure when these medicines are administered together. It is advised to not use these medicines together except when they are very urgently required.
  • Interaction with Disease

    Heart Diseases

    Amitriptyline should be used with caution in patients suffering from heart disease like heart failure, stroke, heart block etc. A fall in blood pressure, change in pulse, dizziness and other associated complications should be reported to the doctor. It is advised to not take this medicine if the patient has recently suffered a heart attack.


    Amitriptyline should be administered with extreme caution in patients suffering from Pheochromocytoma, the risk of severe to fatal change in blood pressure is very high. Suitable dose adjustment and clinical monitoring of the symptoms is recommended in such cases.

    Seizure Disorders

    Amitriptyline should be used with caution in patients having a seizure disorder. Seizures may be caused due to a disease, some other medicine, head injury in the past etc. Using this medicine can cause more frequent and severe episodes of seizures.


    Amitriptyline should be used with caution if you have diabetes as the risk of changes in blood sugar levels are very high. You should get your blood sugar levels checked more frequently while using this medicine.


    Amitriptyline should be used with caution if you have glaucoma. Use of this medicine can worsen the symptoms of both closed and open angle glaucoma.
  • Interaction with Food

    Information not available.

Ques: What is Amitriptyline?

Ans: Amitriptyline is a medication that performs its action by transforming certain chemical levels in the brain. Amitriptyline is used to avoid depression and migraine attack symptoms. It is also used to treat conditions such as sadness, sleeplessness, irritability and headache.

Ques: What are the uses of Amitriptyline?

Ans: Amitriptyline is used for the treatment and prevention from conditions and symptoms of diseases like depression and migraine attack. Besides these, it can also be used to treat conditions like sadness, sleeplessness, irritability and headache. The patient should inform the doctor about any ongoing medications and treatment before using Amitriptyline to avoid undesirable effects.

Ques: What are the Side Effects of Amitriptyline?

Ans: This is a list of possible side-effects which may occur due to the constituting ingredients of Amitriptyline. This is not a comprehensive list. These side-effects have been observed and not necessarily occur. Some of these side-effects may be serious. These include Restlessness, Dizziness, Insomnia, Sedation, Fatigue, Anxiety, Cognitive Impairment, Seizures, Drug-Induced Extrapyramidal Symptoms, Urticaria and Photosensitivity. If any of these symptoms occur often or on a daily basis, a doctor should be urgently consulted.

Ques: What are the instructions for storage and disposal Amitriptyline?

Ans: Amitriptyline should be stored at room temperature, away from heat and direct light. Keep it away from the reach of children and pets.

Ques: I have been prescribed Amitriptyline for pain. When will I start feeling better?

Ans: One can feel better within 2 weeks of using this drug. Though, you may feel much better within 4-6 weeks of taking this drug.

Ques: Can I stop taking Amitriptyline when my pain is relieved?

Ans: Please do not stop consuming Amitriptyline once you feel slightly better as this can cause the problem to recur. Even if the pain is relieved, one must complete the course of medication. It is advised to consult a doctor before you stop taking it.

Ques: Is there anything I need to be careful about while using Amitriptyline?

Ans: Amitriptyline can lead to drowsiness and dizziness, hence do not drive or use heavy machinery after taking this medicine. It is also suggested to limit the consumption of alcohol as it can increase the risk of side effects.

Ques: Can the use of Amitriptyline affect my sex life?

Ans: Amitriptyline can affect sex life in some cases as it decreases sexual desire. Men can experience an inability to develop or maintain an erection during sexual activity and women might not be able to get an orgasm. Do not stop taking the medicine if you feel this way and instead consult your doctor.

Ques: Can Amitriptyline cause urinary problems?

Ans: Amitriptyline can cause urinary problems in some patients especially in elderly people. A person can encounter difficulty in passing urine or can have a urinary tract infection. Consult your doctor as soon as possible if you develop urinary problems after consuming this medicine.

Ques: If my pain is not relieved, can I take more than the recommended dose?

Ans: You must not use Amitriptyline more than the prescribed dose. In case of overdose, one can experience symptoms like drowsiness, confusion, difficulty in speech, dry mouth, tiredness, difficulty in walking, fever, difficulty in breathing, blue discolouration of the skin and decreased heartbeat.

Ques: Does Amitriptyline cause any effect on pregnancy or the newborn?

Ans: One must not take this drug during pregnancy as it can harm the baby. It should only be used during pregnancy if no other alternative is available.

Ques: How long does Amitriptyline take to work?

Ans: It takes about 4 to 6 weeks for you to feel better. It is suggested not to stop using it after 1 or 2 weeks and complete the course of medication.
Disclaimer: The information produced here is best of our knowledge and experience and we have tried our best to make it as accurate and up-to-date as possible, but we would like to request that it should not be treated as a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Lybrate is a medium to provide our audience with the common information on medicines and does not guarantee its accuracy or exhaustiveness. Even if there is no mention of a warning for any drug or combination, it never means that we are claiming that the drug or combination is safe for consumption without any proper consultation with an expert.

Lybrate does not take responsibility for any aspect of medicines or treatments. If you have any doubts about your medication, we strongly recommend you to see a doctor immediately.

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Table of Content
About Amitriptyline
What are the uses of Amitriptyline
What are the contraindications of Amitriptyline ?
What are the side effects of Amitriptyline ?
Key highlights of Amitriptyline
What are the dosage instructions?
Where is the Amitriptyline approved?
Medicines containing Amitriptyline
How does this medication work?
What are the interactions of Amitriptyline ?
FAQs about Amitriptyline