FM/CFS/ME RESOURCES - Drug Database - Elavil

 

Search Site 
DATABASE INFO
Disability Attornies
Find A Doctor
Drugs Used In FM & CFS/ME
In-Person Support Groups

INFORMATION
Abbreviations
Archived Poll Results
Candles of Hope
CMP Info.
Family and Friends
Financial Help
FM/CFS/ME Facts
Letter To Loved Ones
Living With FM & CFS/ME
Newly Diagnosed
Rate Your Meds  -  Results
Recommend Doctor
Researchers Spotlight

QUIZ & SURVEY
Take Quiz
Quiz Winners
Patient Surveys

Drug Database - Elavil Elavil 25 mg. tablet

Generic Name: amitriptyline (a-mee-TRIP-ti-leen)

Brand Names: Elavil®, Endep®, Vanatrip®

Classification: Tricyclic Antidepressant

Issue Date: 1981

Elavil is used to treat symptoms of depression. Elavil is in a class of medications called tricyclic antidepressants. It works by increasing the amounts of certain natural substances in the brain. Select from the options below:

  • How To Use This Medicine
  • Other Uses For This Medicine
  • Special Precautions
  • Drug Interactions
  • If You Forget A Dose
  • Side Effects
  • Storage Conditions
  • In Case of Emergency/Overdose
  • Symptoms of Overdose
  • Divider
    How To Use This Medicine

    Elavil comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken one to four times a day. To help you remember to take Elavil, take it around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take Elavil exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

    Your doctor will probably start you on a low dose of Elavil and gradually increase your dose. It may take a few weeks or longer before you feel the full benefit of Elavil. Continue to take Elavil even if you feel well. Do not stop taking Elavil without talking to your doctor.

      Stopping Elavil suddenly may cause withdrawal symptoms such as:
    • upset stomach
    • headache
    • lack of energy

    Your doctor will probably decrease your dose gradually.

    Return to top of page

    Other Uses For This Medicine

    Elavil is also sometimes used to treat chronic pain, eating disorders, and certain skin problems. Talk to your doctor about the possible risks of using this medication for your condition.

    This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

    Return to top of page

    Special Precautions

    Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to Elavil or any other medications.

    Tell your doctor if:

    • you or anyone in your family has or has ever had depression
    • you or anyone in your family has or has ever had bipolar disorder
    • mania (frenzied, abnormally excited mood)
    • if you or anyone in your family has thought about or attempted suicide
    • you drink large amounts of alcohol
    • if you have recently had a heart attack
    • if you have or have ever had glaucoma
    • an enlarged prostate
    • difficulty urinating
    • seizures
    • an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism)
    • diabetes
    • liver, kidney, or heart disease
    • you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
    • If you become pregnant while taking Elavil, call your doctor immediately.
    • If you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking Elavil.

    Elavil may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you. Remember that alcohol can add to the drowsiness caused by this medication.

    You should know that your mental health may change in unexpected ways, especially at the beginning of your treatment and any time that your dose is increased or decreased. These changes may occur at any time if you have depression or another mental illness, whether or not you are taking Elavil or any other medication. You, your family, or your caregiver should call your doctor right away if you experience any of the following symptoms:

    • new or worsening depression
    • thinking about harming or killing yourself or planning or trying to do so
    • extreme worry
    • agitation
    • panic attacks
    • difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
    • aggressive behavior
    • irritability
    • acting without thinking
    • severe restlessness
    • frenzied abnormal excitement

    Avoid drinking alcohol or taking other medicines that cause drowsiness (eg, sedatives, tranquilizers) while taking Elavil. Elavil will add to the effects of alcohol and other depressants. Ask your pharmacist if you have questions about which medicines are depressants.

    Alcoholic beverages, hot weather, exercise, and fever can increase dizziness. To prevent dizziness or fainting, sit up or stand slowly, especially in the morning. Also, sit or lie down at the first sign of dizziness or weakness.

    Involuntary and uncontrollable movements may develop in patients taking Elavil. Occurrence is highest among the elderly, especially women. The risk of developing these involuntary movements and the likelihood they will become permanent are increased with long-term use and with high doses. However, it is possible to develop these symptoms after short-term use at low doses.

    Contact your health care provider at once if any of the following occur:

    • involuntary movements of the:
      • tongue
      • face
      • mouth
      • jaw

    Elavil may cause sensitivity to sunlight. Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun and other ultraviolet light (eg, tanning beds). Use sunscreens and wear protective clothing until tolerance is determined.

    Do not become overheated in hot weather or during exercise or other activities since heatstroke may occur.

    Before you have any medical or dental treatments, emergency care, or surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are using Elavil.

    Be sure that your family or caregiver knows which symptoms may be serious so they can call the doctor when you are unable to seek treatment on your own.

    Return to top of page

    Drug Interactions

    Do not take Elavil if you are taking monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors, including:

    • phenelzine (Nardil®)
    • tranylcypromine (Parnate®)
    • or if you are taking cisapride (Propulsid®)

    or you have stopped taking them within the past 2 weeks.

    Tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking. Be sure to mention any of the following:

    • cimetidine (Tagamet®)
    • diet pills
    • disulfiram (Antabuse®)
    • ethchlorvynol (Placidyl®)
    • guanethidine (Ismelin®)
    • ipratropium (Atrovent®)
    • quinidine (Quinidex®)
    • flecainide (Tambocor®)
    • propafenone (Rythmol®)
    • medications for anxiety
    • medications for asthma
    • medications for colds
    • medications for irritable bowel disease
    • medications for mental illness
    • medications for nausea
    • medications for Parkinson's disease
    • medications for seizures
    • medications for ulcers
    • medications for urinary problems
    • other antidepressants
    • phenobarbital (Bellatal®, Solfoton®)
    • sedatives
    • citalopram (Celexa®)
    • fluoxetine (Prozac®, Sarafem®)
    • fluvoxamine (Luvox®)
    • paroxetine (Paxil®)
    • sertraline (Zoloft®)
    • sleeping pills
    • thyroid medications
    • tranquilizers

    Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.

    There may be other drugs not listed that can affect Elavil. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

    Return to top of page

    If You Forget A Dose

    Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

    Return to top of page

    Side Effects

    Elavil may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

    • upset stomach
    • vomiting
    • drowsiness
    • weakness or tiredness
    • excitement or anxiety
    • difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
    • nightmares
    • restlessness
    • headaches
    • dry mouth
    • constipation
    • difficulty urinating
    • blurred vision
    • pain, burning, or tingling in the hands or feet
    • changes in sex drive or ability
    • excessive sweating
    • changes in appetite or weight
    • confusion
    • unsteadiness

    Some side effects can be serious. The following symptoms are UNCOMMON, but if you experience any of them call your doctor IMMEDIATELY:

    • slow or difficult speech
    • dizziness or faintness
    • weakness or numbness of an arm or a leg
    • crushing chest pain
    • rapid, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
    • severe skin rash or hives
    • swelling of the face and tongue
    • yellowing of the skin or eyes
    • jaw, neck, and back muscle spasms
    • shaking hands that you cannot control
    • difficulty sitting still
    • fainting
    • unusual bleeding or bruising
    • seizures
    • seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist (hallucinating)

    Elavil may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication. If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (at http://www.fda.gov/MedWatch/report.htm) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).

    Return to top of page

    Storage Conditions

    Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.

    Return to top of page

    In Case of Emergency/Overdose

    In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.

    Return to top of page

    Symptoms of Overdose

    • irregular heartbeat
    • seizures
    • coma
    • confusion
    • problems concentrating
    • seeing things that do not exist (hallucinating)
    • agitation
    • drowsiness
    • rigid muscles
    • vomiting
    • fever
    • cold body temperature

    Return to Top