Depression Home > Amitriptyline Uses

Amitriptyline is used to treat depression. Among the "off-label" uses for amitriptyline are treating bulimia, anxiety disorders, chronic pain, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The medicine is not recommended for use in people less than 12 years old, as it has not been thoroughly studied in children. Because antidepressants (including amitriptyline) often take several weeks to begin working, it is important that you give amitriptyline a chance to work before becoming discouraged.

Uses of Amitriptyline: An Overview

Amitriptyline hydrochloride (Elavil®) is a prescription medication that is licensed to treat depression.
Using Amitriptyline for Depression
Depression is more than just "feeling sad." Common symptoms of depression can include:
  • Changes in sleep (sleeping too much or not enough)
  • Eating too much or too little (and weight gain or weight loss)
  • Having little interest in things that you used to enjoy
  • Physical pain
  • Feeling hopeless or worthless
  • Suicidal thoughts.
During extensive clinical trials, amitriptyline has been proven to help people with depression. However, keep in mind that antidepressants (including amitriptyline), often take several weeks to begin working. Sometimes, other people will notice an improvement in your depression symptoms before you do. Often, the physical symptoms of depression (such as pain or changes in sleep) will improve first, sometimes within the first few weeks of treatment. It usually takes at least four to six weeks before significant changes in mood occur. It is important to give amitriptyline a chance to work before becoming discouraged.
Counseling and therapy (psychotherapy for depression) are often used along with antidepressant medication to treat depression. Ask your healthcare provider if counseling or therapy would be good options for you.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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