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Amitriptyline - Uses, Dosage, Side Effects, Drug Warnings, and Precautions

Published on Dec 21, 2020 and last reviewed on Jun 17, 2022   -  6 min read


Amitriptyline is an antidepressant drug. Learn about its uses, dosage, drug warnings, side effects, precautions, drug interactions, and more.

Amitriptyline - Uses, Dosage, Side Effects, Drug Warnings, and Precautions


Amitriptyline is an oral tablet and a prescription drug given for depression. Depression is a very common clinical condition associated with the feeling of sadness, loss of interest, self-neglect, anorexia, sleep disturbances, suicidal feelings in severe cases, etc. Keep this drug away from kids, as it can be fatal even if they consume a few tablets. This tablet can affect your vision by damaging the eyes. So, it is important to take these medications cautiously. It could lead to other side effects if you stopped abruptly.

Drug Group:

Amitriptyline belongs to a group of drugs called antidepressants. It is known that patients who are under depression might have a low level of serotonin in their bodies. When the optimum level of serotonin is not seen, then there will be instability in the mood. This will lead to severe conditions of mood disorders. It is known to improve the mental health of the person. However, it will take time for the drug to show its actions. Amitriptyline is also known to enhance the level of noradrenaline.

What Is Amitriptyline Used For?

How Does Amitriptyline Work?

Amitriptyline has a specific mechanism for its action. These drugs get absorbed well in the gastrointestinal system (stomach). After absorption, they are highly bound to plasma proteins. They are distributed well to all the tissues of the body including the central nervous system. The metabolism of these drugs produces some products called metabolites. The complete metabolism of Amitriptyline happens in the liver. These active metabolites are responsible for the long duration of action Amitriptyline has. After the duration of action is over, the active metabolites are converted into inactive metabolites. The inactive metabolites are excreted in the urine. These medications can drastically increase the chemicals in the brain. The chemicals that are increased by these drugs are serotonin and norepinephrine. The mechanism of action for sleep has not been identified properly. But some of these mechanisms have the potential to block the histamine.

Onset Of Action:

The onset of action totally depends on the individual. But generally, the drug takes around 4 to 8 weeks to prove its power. The therapeutic effect of the drug can be achieved within 1 week to 3 weeks.


Long term usage of these drugs can make it a habit for the person consuming it. The dosage should be strictly followed as instructed by the doctor. Habit formation of these drugs can cause many serious side effects.

Expiry Date:

The expiry date will be printed on the back of the pack. Avoid taking the medicine Amitriptyline after it expires.

What Is the Dosage of Amitriptyline?

The dosage of Amitriptyline will be decided by your doctor, depending on your age, weight, and other medical conditions. You will be first started on a low dosage.

If your body accepts these drugs, then your doctor will ask you to continue the drug. Follow the correct dosage and stick to the regular timing you take the drug.

Amitriptyline dosage for adults:

Amitriptyline dosage for adults

Amitriptyline dosage for older adults:

Adults Dosage

Child dosage

In patients with liver, heart, and kidney diseases, the dosage will be changed by your doctor depending on the pulse rate, creatinine clearance, and liver function test.

How to Use Amitriptyline?

Amitriptyline comes as a tablet for oral consumption. It is usually taken one to four times a day. Take Amitriptyline at around the same time every day to avoid side effects. Follow the directions given by your doctor. Consume higher dosages late in the afternoon or in the evening if you want to avoid dizziness during the day time. This might help you to escape from tiredness the next day.

Missed Dose:

Once you miss a dose, you might probably experience some withdrawal symptoms. If you forget a dose, avoid taking it when you remember. Taking these drugs in an abnormal pattern might be harmful. Use reminders on the phone or use specific apps to help you take your medications regularly.

What Are the Drug Warnings and Precautions?

There are a few things that need to be considered before taking this tablet, and tell your doctor if you have any of the following conditions:


Inform the doctor if you develop suicidal thoughts or depression gets worse, particularly during the first couple of months of therapy. Also, observe for serotonin syndrome.

•Inform any unusual side effects to a doctor.

•Withdrawal symptoms may occur if the medications dropped suddenly. An advisable method is to reduce the dosage slowly over weeks to months.

•It is not advisable to take other medications with Amitriptyline until your doctor or pharmacist approves that these are compatible.

•The risk of sunburn may increase; protect yourself from the sun outdoors.

What Are the Side Effects of Amitriptyline?

Get emergency medical help or advice if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Amitriptyline, such as difficulty breathing, hives, swelling of your face, throat, tongue, or lips. Report any new or worsening symptoms to the doctor, such as

Common side effects of Amitriptyline are:

What Are the Common Brand or Trade Name Amitriptyline?

The common brand or trade name of Amitriptyline are:

Frequently Asked Questions


What Are the Chemicals Amitriptyline Deals With?

It works on two chemicals, serotonin, and noradrenaline, that are found in nerves.


How Does Amitriptyline Help With Pain?

When Amitriptyline is consumed to treat nerve pain, it lowers the pain signals to the brain. This helps to decrease the level of pain you experience, enabling you to get back to your routine activities and lead a better quality of life.


What Is Amitriptyline Used For?

Amitriptyline 25 mg is used to treat mood or mental health problems such as depression. It might also improve moods and feelings. It improves the quality of sleep.


Is Amitriptyline a Sleeping Pill?

Amitriptyline is from a group of antidepressants named tricyclic antidepressants. It is thought to work by enhancing a chemical called serotonin in the brain, which can improve your anxiety, pain, mood, and sleep. It is the one reason why doctors prescribe Amitriptyline medication for sleeping. However, it is not used when a person does not get proper sleep. You should consult your doctor before taking these medications.


What Drugs Should Not Be Taken With Amitriptyline?

Other medications are known to affect Amitriptyline effectiveness. They are known to cause the removal of Amitriptyline from your body. Those drugs are:
- Terbinafine.
- Cimetidine.
- Medicines to treat irregular heart rate (such as Propafenone, Flecainide, Quinidine).
- Antidepressants (such as SSRIs, including Paroxetine, Fluvoxamine, Fluoxetine).


How Long After Taking Amitriptyline Will I Feel Sleepy?

Amitriptyline can make you feel tired and sleepy soon, so it is best to take it in the evening or two to three hours before going to bed. You may notice a difference after a couple of weeks, but it can take six weeks for Amitriptyline to work as a painkiller. Amitriptyline can lead to other side effects if you stop taking it suddenly. So consult your doctor if you are taking these medications.


How Does Amitriptyline Make You Feel?

Antidepressants like Amitriptyline help to gradually enhance your mood, which makes you feel better. You may feel that you sleep better and connect with people more easily because you are less anxious. Some may feel worse during the first few weeks of treatment.


Can I Take Amitriptyline Occasionally?

Amitriptyline is a drug that shows its effect in the long run. So it only needs time to act efficiently. If you take the drug occasionally, you might lose the benefits. So you should ask your doctor for a proper schedule.


What Are the Common Side Effects of Amitriptyline?

The most common side effect of Amitriptyline is drowsiness. It is best to take it 1-2 hours before bedtime. However, Amitriptyline can cause insomnia, and if this happens, it is better to take it in the morning.


Is Amitriptyline a Muscle Relaxer?

By raising the serotonin levels, Amitriptyline will change the body's reaction to pain. The low dosage would not treat depression, but it can reduce the pain, improve your sleep, and relax your muscles.


What Does Amitriptyline Do to the Brain?

Amitriptyline is from a group of antidepressants named tricyclic antidepressants. It works by enhancing a chemical called serotonin in the brain, which can improve your mood. Serotonin can also modify the way that your nerves receive pain signals, so the pain gets eliminated.


Does Amitriptyline Make You Tired the Next Day?

It is common to take Amitriptyline once a day before bedtime because Amitriptyline can make you feel sleepy. Some patients experience drowsiness even the next day.


What Should I Do If I Feel Drowsy During the Day Time?

If you are still feeling drowsy in the morning, try taking the Amitriptyline earlier in the evening. This medication does not usually upset your tummy.


Does Amitriptyline Cause Weight Loss?

No, consuming Amitriptyline leads to weight gain. Following the diet, adjustments in eating habits, and engaging in regular physical exercises can counter this effect.


Can You Drink Alcohol While Taking Amitriptyline?

Consumption of alcohol with Amitriptyline can lead to drowsiness and affect concentration, putting them at risk for falls and other accidents. It can also cause agitation, forgetfulness, and aggression. If required, drink only small amounts of alcohol and see how you feel, But do not stop taking your medication.


What Are the Long Term Effects of Taking Amitriptyline?

Long term usage can cause increased eye pressure, urinary retention, and constipation. Other long-term effects of Amitriptyline medication include the ability to affect the body's hormonal balance.

Article Resources

Last reviewed at:
17 Jun 2022  -  6 min read




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