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Drugs

Side Effects
Serious

Confusion, heartbeat irregularities, hallucinations, seizures, extreme fatigue or drowsiness, blurred or altered vision, breathing difficulty, constipation, impaired concentration, difficult urination, fever, extreme and persistent restlessness, loss of coordination and balance, difficulty swallowing or speaking, dilated pupils, eye pain, fainting. Also trembling, shaking, weakness, and stiffness in the extremities; shuffling gait. Call your doctor immediately.
Common

Drowsiness, dizziness, or lightheadedness, headache, dry mouth or unpleasant taste, fatigue, heightened sensitivity to light, unusual weight gain, increased appetite, nausea.
Less Common

Heartburn, insomnia, diarrhea, increased sweating, vomiting.
Amitriptyline Hydrochloride


Drug Class:
Tricyclic antidepressant; antimanic agent

Available OTC?: No

Available Generic?: Yes

Generic 50 mg
(Sidmak)
Available In
Why Prescribed
How It Works
Range and Frequency
Onset of Effect
Duration of Action
Dietary Advice
Storage
Missed Dose
Stopping the Drug
Prolonged Use
Over 60
Driving and Hazardous Work
Alcohol
Pregnancy
Breast Feeding
Infants and Children
Special Concerns
Overdose Symptoms
What to Do
Drug Interactions
Food Interactions
Disease Interactions

 


Available In
Tablets

Why Prescribed
To relieve symptoms of major depression and chronic pain.

How It Works
Amitriptyline affects levels of specific brain chemicals (serotonin, norepinephrine, and acetylcholine) that are thought to be linked to mood, emotions, and mental state.

Range and Frequency
Adults: To start, 25 mg, two to four times a day; may be increased to 150 mg a day. Teenagers: 10 mg, three times a day, and 20 mg at bedtime. Children ages six to 12: 10 to 30 mg a day. Older adults: To start, 25 mg a day at bedtime; may be increased to 100 mg a day.

Onset of Effect
One to six weeks.

Duration of Action
Unknown.

Dietary Advice
To lessen stomach upset, take with food, unless your doctor instructs otherwise. Increase intake of fiber and fluids.

Storage
Store in a tightly sealed container away from heat, moisture, and direct light.

Missed Dose
If you take a one-time daily bedtime dose, do not take the missed dose in the morning; it may cause drowsiness. Call your doctor. If you take more than one dose a day, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your regular dosage schedule. Do not double the next dose.

Stopping the Drug
Take it as prescribed for the full treatment period, even if you feel better before the scheduled end of therapy. The decision to stop taking the drug should be made in consultation with your doctor. The dosage should be gradually tapered over five to seven days when stopping.

Prolonged Use
The usual course of therapy lasts six months to one year; some patients may benefit from additional therapy.

Over 60
Adverse reactions are more likely and more severe in older patients. Amitriptyline is generally not recommended, as there are safer alternatives for older patients. A lower dose may be warranted.

Driving and Hazardous Work
Use caution when driving and engaging in hazardous work until you determine how the medicine affects you. Drowsiness or lightheadedness can occur.

Alcohol
Avoid alcohol.

Pregnancy
Adequate human studies have not been done in pregnant women. Consult your doctor for advice.

Breast Feeding
Amitriptyline passes into breast milk; do not use it while nursing.

Infants and Children
Not prescribed for children under the age of six.

Special Concerns
This is a potentially dangerous drug, especially if taken in excess. Tricyclic antidepressants should not be within easy reach of suicidal patients. If dry mouth occurs, use sugarless gum or candy.

Overdose Symptoms
Breathing difficulty, fever, severe fatigue, impaired concentration, mental confusion, hallucinations, dilated pupils, irregular heartbeat or palpitations, and seizures.

What to Do
Call your doctor, emergency medical services (EMS), or the nearest poison control center immediately.

Drug Interactions
Consult your doctor for specific advice if you are taking antithyroid agents, cimetidine, cisapride, clonidine, guanadrel, guanethidine, metrizamide, appetite suppressants, isoproterenol, ephedrine, epinephrine, amphetamines, phenylephrine, antipsychotic drugs, pimozide, methyldopa, metyrosine, metoclopramide, pemoline, promethazine, trimeprazine, rauwolfia alkaloids, MAO inhibitors, or any drugs that depress the central nervous system.

Food Interactions
No known food interactions.

Disease Interactions
Consult your doctor if you have any of the following: a history of alcohol abuse, difficulty urinating, asthma, bipolar disorder, high blood pressure, stomach or intestinal problems, glaucoma, overactive thyroid, enlarged prostate, schizophrenia, seizures, a blood disorder, or kidney, heart, or liver disease.

Date Published: 04/13/2005
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