Amitriptyline belongs to a class of medicines known as tricyclic antidepressants. It is a prescription medicine that is used to help treat mental problems such as depression and anxiety. This medicine works by balancing out certain natural chemicals present in the brain, also known as neurotransmitters. It affects the central nervous system and improves one’s depression. One of these natural chemicals includes serotonin which is present in the brain.
This medication also helps in enhancing one’s mood and relieving anxiety and stress, allowing you to sleep better. It improves the feeling of well-being and acts as an energy booster as well.
Like every other medication, Amitriptyline also has some adverse effects associated with its use. However, bear in mind that your doctor must have prescribed you thing drug because the benefits outweigh these side effects for you. Following are some side effects that are often associated with this drug.
Minor side effects
Some minor side effects of using this drug include:
- Dry mouth
- A headache
- Blurred vision
- Unusual weight gain or weight loss
- Trouble urinating
- Skin rash
- Swelling of face, tongue, and throat
Major side effects
Some more severe yet rare side effects of this drug include:
- Easy bruising
- Persistent heartburn
- Stiff facial expression
- Muscle spasms
- Severe abdominal pain
- Decreased sexual ability
- Enlarged and painful breasts
- Black stool
- Vomit that looks like coffee grounds
- Eye pain and swelling
- Widened pupils
- Narcoleptic malignant
- Irregular heartbeat
- Allergic reaction
The list mentioned above does not contain all the possible side effects that one may face.
How to use Amitriptyline?
Before taking Amitriptyline, make sure to follow all the directions given to you by your doctor. This medication is taken orally, about 1 to 4 times a day on a daily basis. Your prescribed dosage depends on your condition and how well you respond to the treatment as well. Your doctor may initially start off your treatment by prescribing a lower dosage and might later gradually increase it. You will need to take this medicine regularly to get the most benefit from it. You are told to take this medication at the same time each day. Do not increase the dosage and do not use this drug for a prolonged time. Using this medicine more than prescribed won’t do any good for your condition. Instead, it’ll increase the risk of side effects. Do not stop taking this medicine even if you feel better. You might experience severe conditions if the drug is suddenly discontinued. You might also experience some withdrawal symptoms such as mood swings, headaches, trouble with sleeping, etc. You will have to take this medication for at least a week or two to see any difference in your condition.
To prevent any mishap when taking this medication, it is advisable that you inform your doctor of any medical condition you may have. When taking this medication, you must be aware of certain factors and should know what things you should avoid. To ensure your safety and health, the following are some conditions you must tell your doctor about:
- Bleeding problems
- Breathing problems
- Liver problems
- Any recent heart attack
- Difficulty urinating
- Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)
- A family history of mental conditions (bipolar disorder)
- A family history of suicide
This medication may make you dizzy; hence, you should avoid consuming alcohol and marijuana when taking it. Avoid doing such activities that require you to be alert all the time such as driving. Limit your marijuana and alcohol use when taking this medication.
Before undergoing surgery, make sure to inform your doctor of all the prescription drugs you use.
Patients with diabetes might find it harder to control their blood sugar levels. You will have to monitor your blood sugar levels regularly and take care of your diet and exercise.
Women who are expecting, or wish to get pregnant must not use this medicine as it can affect their unborn child. Meanwhile, nursing mothers must also avoid this medication as it can harm their infant.