What is Amitriptyline?
Amitriptyline is a type of medicine called a tricyclic antidepressant (TCA). It prevents neurotransmitters, chemical messengers between the nerve cells, from being reabsorbed. Because neurotransmitters are reused again and again by the nerve cells, a deficit may arise. This makes interaction between the nerve cells more difficult, potentially resulting in symptoms such as nerve pain, migraine and depression. Amitriptyline counterbalances neurotransmitter deficiency, which helps to alleviate these symptoms.
When is it used?
Medicines that contain the active ingredient amitriptyline are commonly prescribed for nerve pain, migraine and tension headaches. Amitriptyline is also effective for treating other conditions, such as depression, post-traumatic stress and muscle ache.
How to use Amitriptyline
Amitriptyline tablets should be taken with some liquid. If you have a sensitive stomach, it is best to take Amitriptyline with your meal to avoid stomach distress. If you have forgotten to take a dose, you may take the missed dose unless it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Never take an extra tablet of Amitriptyline to make up for the forgotten dose.
Amitriptyline is available in packs containing 28 tablets of 25 mg. The dosage is determined by your doctor based on your symptoms. Some conditions require long-term use of Amitriptyline. Your doctor will tell you how long you should take it. It is important not to exceed the prescribed dose.
Amitriptyline may have side effects, although not everybody gets them. Reported side effects include:
- Sleepiness, drowsiness, dizziness
- Dry mouth
- Weight gain
Most side effects will disappear within a few weeks once the body adjusts to the medicine. See package leaflet for a complete list of possible contraindications, warnings and other side effects.
Do not take Amitriptyline if you are pregnant, unless otherwise instructed by your doctor. Seek medical advice from your doctor if you are breastfeeding.
Amitriptyline may affect your ability to react, especially in the first week of taking it. Stay out of traffic if you experience drowsiness or dizziness.
Alcohol may intensify side effects such as dizziness. It is important that you are aware of this and reduce or stop your alcohol intake.