Elavil is the brand name for the generic drug amitriptyline. Other brand names for this medication are Endep and Vanatrip. Elavil is a tricylic antidepressant. Elavil affects chemicals in the brain that can become unbalanced and cause depression. Elavil treats the symptoms of depression. This medication can also be used for other conditions not described here.
It is important to know that you cannot take Elavil if you have recently had a heart attack or within the past two weeks have taken cisapride (Propulsid), a MAOI (Monoamine oxidase inhibitor) such as Marplan (isocarboxazid), Nardil (phenelzine), Azilect (rasagiline), Eldepryl or Emsam (selegiline) or Parnate (tranylcypromine). This drug may cause an increase in suicidal thoughts at the beginning of treatment, particularly if you are under the age of 18. While taking this medication, you need to be monitored for deteriorating feelings of depression and suicidal thoughts for the first weeks of administration. You should have regular doctor’s visits for the first 12 weeks of treatment. If you experience these symptoms, contact our doctor immediately (whether they are new or increase in severity) mood changes, sleep troubles, anxiety, irritability, panic attacks, aggressiveness, restlessness, suicidal thoughts or thoughts of hurting yourself or others and/or mania (physical or mental).
Before taking this medication it is important to inform your doctor if you are allergic to any medications of if you have experienced any of the conditions heart disease, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, diabetes, heart attack, stroke, seizure, overactive thyroid, diabetes, and glaucoma or bladder problems. These conditions may prevent you from being prescribed Elavil, or you made need a modified dosage or special monitoring during treatment.
The US FDA categorizes drugs based on safety for pregnant women. Elavil is categorized as C. This indicates that this drug may cause harm to an unborn child, but you should discuss all risk factors with your doctor before taking this medication if you are expecting. Elavil can pass through breast milk to an infant. Do not take Elavil if you are nursing; discuss the safety with the pediatrician and your physician first. Older patients have a higher risk of experiencing side effects. This medication is not approved for children under the age of 12.
The regimen prescribed by your doctor for this medication needs to be followed exactly. Do not take large amounts of this medication or take it longer than prescribed. Your doctor may change the dose to make sure you are realizing the best results of this medication. Follow closely the instructions on the prescription label. If you are going to have surgery be sure to tell your surgeon that you are taking this medication. You may need to stop taking Elavil for a while. Do not stop taking this drug without first consulting your doctor. The usual procedure to stop this treatment is to slowly decrease the dose over a period of time. Stopping suddenly can harm the liver and produce seriously unpleasant side effects. If you do not experience a change in symptoms after four weeks of treatment, consult your doctor. It may take four weeks for the effects of this medication to become apparent. Store this medication at room temperature and away from moisture.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you realize you have missed the regularly scheduled dose. If it is almost time for the next dose, do not take two doses. Take the regularly scheduled dose; do not take the missed dose.
If you believed you have taken too much Elavil, get emergency medical attention. An overdose of this drug may be fatal. Symptoms of overdose are agitiation, vomiting, impaired vision, extreme sleepiness, confusion, irregular heartbeat, convulsions, seizures, coma, fainting, light-headedness, muscle stiffness, sweating and feeling hot or cold. An allergic reaction to this medication can be fatal. Make sure you understand the symptoms of an allergic reaction. A severe reaction indicates an allergy which may be life-threatening, seek emergency medical intervention. Allergic reaction presents as shortness of breath, hives, swelling of lips, throat, face or tongue, fainting or rash.
When taking medication avoid alcohol which can cause serious side effects when taken with this drug. Avoid other medications which can exacerbate the sleepiness such as cold medicine, pain medications, muscle relaxers, seizure medicine and other antidepressants. Grapefruit and grapefruit juice can interact with this medication. Discuss the consumption of grapefruit and grapefruit by-products with your physician. This medication can also impair reaction time and thinking, use caution when participating in an activity that requires you to be alert and aware. Your skin is more sensitive to sunlight and artificial UV rays in sun lamps and tanning beds, when using this medication. Protect your skin with a sunscreen that has a minimum of SPF 15 and wear protective clothing when outside.
Side effects of this drug include fast pounding, or uneven heart beat, chest pain with pain spreading to the arm with naseau and sweating; sudden headache, confusion, vision impairment, speech impairment or difficulties with balance, confusion, hallucinations, seizures or confusion, speech impairment, easy bruising, bleeding, shake or tremor, skin rash, severe tingling in extremities, numbness, pain and muscle weakness, extreme thirst with headaches, nausea, vomiting and weakness, light-headedness or fainting, problems urinating. Any of these previous conditions or side effects should be discussed with your physician immediately. Other side effects which are not as serious may occur, such as dry mouth, unpleasant taste, lack of coordination, trouble focusing, mild skin rash, sleep disturbances, nightmares, tinnitus, blurred vision, headache, nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, loss of appetite, decreased libido, impotence, difficulty achieving orgasm, breast swelling in both men and women, feeling anxious, dizzy, drowsy or tired. Other side effects can occur, if they are disturbing, discuss them with your doctor.
Other drugs that can affect Elavil are SSRI or Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. If you have taken SSRI antidepressants within the past five weeks, such as Celexa (citalopram), excitalopram (Lexapro), fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem), Luvox (Flkuvoxamine), paroetine (Paxil) or sertraline (Zoloft), inform your doctor before starting this treatment. Make sure you discuss the option of combining one of these drugs with Elavil to determine the most effective dose possible.
If you are currently taking Tagament (cimetidine), Ismelin (guanethidine), disulfiram (Antabuse) or heart rythym medications such as Tambocor (flecainide), Rythmol (propafenone) or Cadioquin, Quinidex, Qhinaglute (quinidine), talk with your doctor about the effects of taking one of these medications with Elavil, to determine the healthiest dose for you. Before taking any new drug, which includes vitamins, minerals, herbal remedies, and drugs prescribed by other physicians, make sure you check with the physician that is prescribing Elavil for you. Do not start any new drug without discussing it with your doctor. For your own safety, keep a list with you at all times of the medications you take regularly to show to any doctor or healthcare provider that may be treating you.
As always, if you need more information, contact your physician or pharmacist regarding this medication.
Elavil is 3-(10,11-dihydro-5H-dibenzo [a,d] cycloheptene-5-ylidene)-N,N-dimethyl-1-propanamine hydrochloride. Its empirical formula is C20H23N·HCl. Elavil, a dibenzocycloheptadiene derivative, has a molecular weight of 313.87. Elavil (amitriptyline HCl) is supplied as 10 mg, 25 mg, 50 mg, 75 mg, 100 mg, and 150 mg tablets and as a sterile solution for intramuscular use. Inactive ingredients of the tablets are calcium phosphate, cellulose, colloidal silicon dioxide, hydroxypropyl cellulose, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, lactose, magnesium stearate, starch, stearic acid, talc, and titanium dioxide. 10 mg amitriptyline HCl tablets also contain FD&C Blue 1. 25 mg amitriptyline HCl tablets also contain D&C Yellow 10, FD&C Blue 1, and FD&C Yellow 6. 50 mg amitriptyline HCl tablets also contain D&C Yellow 10, FD&C Yellow 6 and iron oxide. 75 mg amitriptyline HCl tablets also contain FD&C Yellow 6. 100 mg amitriptyline HCl tablets also contain FD&C Blue 2 and FD&C Red 40. 150 mg amitriptyline HCl tablets also contain FD&C Blue 2 and FD&C Yellow 6.
Elavil has the following structural formula: