Guide to Elavil
Depression and pain are common ailments that often plague people at the same time. Certain medications have been developed that can reduce symptoms of both.
Elavil is one of them. It treats nerve pain while also acting as an antidepressant.
Anyone looking to take this medication should learn about its efficacy, risks, and dosage restrictions before giving it a try. Here at YourDrugs.com, we’ve put together this guide to give you the information you need to make informed decisions about your healthcare.
What Is Elavil?
Elavil is both a nerve pain medication and an antidepressant. The drug can improve mood, relieve anxiety, ease tension, promote better sleep, increase energy levels, and more.
It often comes in tablet form and needs to be prescribed by a doctor. Elavil alters the balance of chemicals within the brain.
Other Names for Elavil
Amitriptyline is the generic name for this antidepressant drug. You will often see Elavil as the commonly sold brand.
You may be prescribed the generic version if your doctor recommends it, your insurance will only cover up to a certain cost, or it is the option that your pharmacy carries. amitriptyline systemic is the full version of the name you may see on your medication.
Elavil is one of the most commonly seen brand names of amitriptyline, but there are others. You could also be prescribed Endep or Vanatrip. Each of these is classified as a tricyclic antidepressant. Elavil itself is no longer manufactured but is available under generic equivalents.
What Does Elavil Treat and Who is it For?
Elavil is actually used to treat a number of ailments. It is not just for depression and pain, but for many types of mood disorders and pain-causing diseases that impact the mind or body.
It is for anyone who feels they need to boost their well-being with the help of medication, as long as the doctor agrees and no underlying issues cause interference with the effectiveness of the drug.
Depressive psychosis, anxiety, stress, trouble sleeping, depression, fibromyalgia, migraines, post-traumatic stress disorder, and even urinary incontinence may be helped by Elavil or other amitriptyline medications. Talk with your doctor if you struggle with any of these and ask how Elavil may help you.
Elavil is not recommended for patients under the age of 12. The use of the medication in patients between 12 and 18 needs to be carefully monitored and is usually only recommended in very small doses.
What Are the Ingredients of Elavil?
Amitriptyline hydrochloride is the full name seen. This is the active ingredient in Elavil.
The inactive ingredients include lactose monohydrate, colloidal silicon dioxide, magnesium stearate, hypromellose, polysorbate sodium starch glycolate, microcrystalline cellulose, polyethylene glycol, and titanium dioxide.
Though amitriptyline hydrochloride appears white in color, many of the tablets are in colored form due to the dyes added. They most often appear orange or pink in the small, circular doses and blue in the long pill forms. Yellow is common as well.
The dose amount you have will determine the color.
Common Side Effects of Elavil
As with any medication, there are going to be side effects. The most common ones seen in people taking Elavil are:
- Weight gain
- Trouble urinating
- Dry mouth
There are ways to combat these symptoms if you experience them. To avoid dizziness, for example, sit up carefully and avoid standing too quickly.
Keep your diet high in fiber and drink lots of water while taking Elavil if you want to avoid constipation or weight gain. Drinking water will also help to prevent the dry mouth some people experience. You could chew on ice chips as well.
These side effects are very minor compared to a lot of medications, which is why the drug is so widely used for pain, depression, and similar disorders. There are, however, a few more serious risks that could develop. These include:
- Unexplained bruising or bleeding
- Decreased sexual desire or ability
- Severe abdominal pain
- Enlarged or painful breasts
- Muscle spasms
- Black stool
- Eye pain
- Vision changes
- Vomit that appears as coffee ground color and consistency
You should speak with your doctor if you experience any of these unusual symptoms to determine if the medication is working right for you. A smaller dose may be necessary, or another similar option may be better suited for your needs.
An allergic reaction is also possible. Not everyone’s body will handle the medication the same way. An allergic reaction may produce hives, itchiness, a rash, difficulty breathing, or severe dizziness. See a doctor if you experience any of these.
Neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) is also rare, but possible. If you experience severe confusion, muscle stiffness, fever, or an irregular heartbeat, seek medical attention right away.
The Elavil dose required for each patient is different. The smallest dosage starts at 10mg and goes up to 150mg at most. They come in 10mg, 25mg, 50mg, 75mg, 100mg, and 150mg tablet forms. These are taken orally.
You must only take the dose prescribed by your doctor. Your ailment will determine how much you need.
Problems with pain will require a much lower dose than treating for depression. You may be instructed to start at a lower dose and then increase over a few weeks until you reach a set amount.
How Should You Take Elavil?
Elavil is taken orally in tablet form. You may be recommended to take it at night before bed because it can often cause drowsiness.
Because the medication doesn’t tend to upset the stomach except in rare cases, it can be taken with water only. Those who do experience nausea may want to take their dose with food to prevent feeling ill afterward.
Some people may try to chew their tablet. It will have a very bitter taste. It is ideal to swallow the pill whole with a glass of water instead.
Once a day is the typical recommendation for taking Elavil. Although, people who use the medication for pain may need to take a few small doses throughout the day as their pain persists.
The important thing is to take it exactly as the doctor prescribes and never take more than what has been recommended.
How Much Elavil Can You Take in One Day?
You should only take your recommended dose once a day in most instances. You never want to exceed this amount, as it can be addictive due to the feeling of euphoria it may provide.
Most people do not get prescribed more than a 10, 25, or 50mg dose per day, with higher doses possible for severe pain or frequent migraines.
Warnings: Before You Take Elavil, Talk to Your Healthcare Provider If:
If you are allergic to amitriptyline medications or anything similar, it is best to ask your healthcare provider if Elavil is right for you. Even a small allergic reaction to past medications could indicate your body’s unwillingness to adapt to this medication.
You should also ask your healthcare provider if you have a heart problem. The medication may worsen symptoms. Liver or kidney problems also need to be carefully monitored while taking this medication.
If you have seizures or epilepsy, Elavil may not be best for you. You could have an increased risk of seizure activity. You should also avoid taking the medication if you have used other antidepressants in the past that caused reactions.
Elavil is often not recommended for people over the age of 60. Those that do take it will most likely be prescribed a much smaller dose than people of a younger age.
The older you are, the more difficulty your body has metabolizing certain drugs. People over 60 are also more likely to develop an arrhythmia, which can be exacerbated by the use of Elavil.
Amitriptyline can cause changes to your blood sugar levels. You should not take Elavil if you have diabetes for this reason.
If you do get prescribed this or something similar in a small dose, you may need to closely monitor your blood sugar levels to ensure they are not causing interference. If you experience a blood glucose reading that is far higher or much lower than what you’re used to, stop taking Elavil and speak with your doctor immediately.
Elavil Addiction Risks
Elavil is a drug that has a smaller addiction risk than many other options on the market. It will, however, cause symptoms of withdrawal once people stop taking it.
It is important to watch for these symptoms and go off the medication slowly to ensure they are minimal. It is also possible to misuse this drug and take far too much of it at once.
It has euphoric effects that people want to experience even when they are not sick. This feeling is what can be become addictive for some.
Elavil Withdrawal Symptoms
The withdrawal symptoms of Elavil are similar to that of other medications. You may feel shaky, nauseous, have headaches, muscle aches, unexplained anger or irritability, fatigue, diarrhea, joint pain, restlessness, sweating, and trouble sleeping.
It could take up to a couple of weeks before symptoms subside, and may start within just a few hours after stopping the use of the medication.
Elavil Interactions: What Should You Avoid Taking with Elavil?
High blood pressure medications that work in the brain may interact with Elavil. Clonidine and Guanabenz are two in this category.
Other drugs, such as thyroid supplements, ibuprofen, blood thinners, anticholinergic drugs, and disulfiram could also cause problems.
Speak with your doctor about the medications you’re currently taking to determine if they would interfere with Elavil or similar antidepressant medications. Drug interactions can alter how the medication works for you and may increase risks for severe side effects.
You should also tell your doctor about herbal products you take as these too can cause disruptions to the way your medication works.
Elavil Efficacy: What Does Elavil Do for Your Symptoms?
Elavil has a high efficacy rate. It works to eliminate symptoms and make users feel good overall instead. Many report minimal feelings of pain and less depressive thoughts when taking this medication.
Elavil and Pregnancy
Amitriptyline medications, such as Elavil, are not often recommended during pregnancy. You should also avoid taking them while you are breastfeeding.
Because the medication is not recommended for anyone under the age of 12, any amount that passes to the unborn child or newborn could have serious consequences.
If you even have plans to become pregnant, your doctor may not advise the use of Elavil. It can cause risks to the unborn child. Your doctor may recommend another pain medication if you need it.
Paracetamol is one option sometimes used in pregnancy. Once you are no longer breastfeeding, you may safely be able to switch to Elavil or something similar.
The original manufacturer of Elavil was Merck. The final manufacturer was AstraZeneca. They slowly phased out their inventory and discontinued use first of the injectable version and then of the tablets.
It appears they stopped production in 2003. Generic versions of amitriptyline hydrochloride are instead prescribed, along with other similar medications that produce better results.
FDA Approval Status of Elavil
The FDA approved Elavil for use and gave it the identification number 012703. It was originally approved in 1961. The generic version, amitriptyline hydrochloride, manufactured now by Sandoz, has the identification number 085971.
These come in 75mg tablets. The FDA approved this version in 1977, and it is still available today.
Related Drugs or Medications
Several related drugs and medications exist. Amitriptyline and chlordiazepoxide, often seen under the name Limbitrol, are options.
Clomipramine or Anafranil is another. You could also see the medication names Doxepin, Silenor, Trimipramine, Surmontil, Protriptyline, or Vivactil when looking for a drug similar to Elavil. Duloxetine, seen commonly under the brand name Cymbalta, is another possibility.
With regular changes to the market, drugs used today may not be used tomorrow. As of 2019, some of the popular antidepressant choices include Prozac, Lexapro, Paxil, and Celexa.
If you used Elavil in the past and want something similar, speak with your doctor about what may be the closest option.
Elavil and similar drugs are necessary medications for many people. Speak with your doctor if you feel one of these is right for you and the risks and side effects are terms you can live with.
These drugs are not intended for everyone but could be the thing you need to ease your nerve pain and manage your depression symptoms.