Amitriptyline is a prescription drug licensed for the treatment of depression. Besides treating depression, the drug is also used "off-label" to treat a number of conditions, including ADHD, bulimia, and fibromyalgia. While it is not entirely clear how it works, it is known that the medication affects several chemicals in the brain, including serotonin and norepinephrine. Amitriptyline comes in tablet form and is available in six strengths, ranging from 10 mg to 150 mg.
What Is Amitriptyline?Amitriptyline hydrochloride (Elavil®) is a prescription medication that is used to treat depression.
(Click Amitriptyline Uses for more information on what it is used for, including possible off-label uses.)
Who Makes It?The drug is manufactured by several manufacturers of generic medications. The brand-name version of amitriptyline, which was sold as Elavil, is no longer manufactured.
How Does It Work?Amitriptyline belongs to a class of medications called tricyclic antidepressants. It is not entirely clear how it works. It does affect several chemicals in the brain, including serotonin and norepinephrine. It is thought that maybe the medication allows these chemicals to stay in the brain longer, which can help with depression symptoms.
Effectiveness of Amitriptyline
Studies have shown that amitriptyline is effective for the treatment of depression. It may also be used "off-label" to help relieve chronic pain and to prevent migraine headaches. It can also help with bedwetting, ADHD, fibromyalgia, and bulimia. The medicine is also effective at helping people quit smoking.
When and How to Take the MedicationSome considerations for when and how to take it include:
- Amitriptyline comes in tablet form. It is usually taken by mouth one to three times daily.
- You can take it with or without food. If it upsets your stomach, try taking it with food.
- Amitriptyline should be taken at the same time each day to maintain an even level of the medication in your blood.
- For it to work properly, you have to take it as prescribed. It will not work if you stop taking it.