Highlighting uses, dosage, how to take and discontinue


Elavil’s Side Effects, Warnings, etc. >>

Brand & Generic Names; Drug Classes

US brand name: Elavil
Generic name: amitriptyline

Drug Class(es)

Primary drug class: Antidepressants
Additional drug class(es): Tricyclic & Tetracyclic Antidepressants

Approved & Off-Label Uses (Indications)

Elavil’s US FDA Approved Treatment(s)


Uses Approved Overseas but not in the US

  • Enuresis (bedwetting) In children ages 7 - 11 - UK
    • No age specified - Australia, Ireland, South Korea
  • Other Depression Spectrum Disorders - South Africa, South Korea
  • Secondary Depression  - South Africa

Off-Label Uses of Elavil

  • Dysthymia (constant, mild depression)
  • Neuropathic and chronic pain
  • Vulvodynia - depression caused and/or accompanied by vaginal pain1. It didn’t work all that well, unlike Pamelor (nortripyline).
  • Somatoform pain disorder (where they think it’s all in your head)
    • Although the data are mixed when it comes to phantom limb pain. In this study it didn’t do much good, but in this study both amitriptyline and Ultram (tramadol) worked just fine.
  • Migraines
  • Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Panic/Anxiety disorders
  • Insomnia
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

When & If Elavil Will Work

Elavil’s Usual Onset of Action (when it starts working)

TCAs generally take 7 to 28 days to be effective, although you’ll feel something - usually side effects - the next day.

Likelihood of Working

As far as amitriptyline’s approved use goes, the odds favor relief for endogenous (biologically caused) depression - i.e. being depressed for no good reason other than your brain hating you.

Taking and Discontinuing

How to Take Elavil

Initial dose for outpatients (you’re not crazy enough to be hospitalized) should be 50 mg at bedtime. You can increase it by 25 mg a night every week until you get to a maximum of 150 mg a night. You can also try it in a divided dose. Elavil (amitriptyline) is approved for dosages of 200 - 300 mg a day for hospitalized patients and used to be prescribed up to 400 mg a day for inpatients. Personally I wouldn’t trust it above 150 mg a day. Not that it’s particularly more dangerous than other TCAs (see comments), as long as you’re not taking a bunch of other drugs, including a potent CYP2D6 inhibitor, and aren’t a poor CYP2D6 metabolizer. If amitriptyline isn’t doing anything at all for you by the time you reach 100 mg a day, try something else. If it’s sort of working for you, try Pamelor (nortriptyline HCl), or another TCA if you haven’t already.

How to Stop Taking Elavil (discontinuation / withdrawal)

Your doctor should be recommending that you reduce your dosage by 25–50 mg a day every five days if you need to discontinue it. While TCAs don’t have a discontinuation syndrome as such, they can trigger mania if discontinued too quickly, regardless of your being bipolar or not. Any antidepressant can do that, it’s just more likely to happen with a TCA than other antidepressants.

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Elavil’s Side Effects, Warnings, etc. >>

Pages and Forum Topics Google Thinks are Relevant to Your Mental Health

1 That sure the hell would depress me to no end.

Last modified on Wed, 04 May, 2016 at 16:37:49 by JerodPoorePage Author Date created Thursday, 31 January 2013 at 11:19:31
“Elavil (amitriptyline): Uses and Using” by Jerod Poore is copyright © 2013 Jerod Poore Published online 2013/01/31

Elavil, and all other drug names on this page and used throughout the site, are the trademarks of someone else.

will probably have the name of the manufacturer and trademark owner (they’re not always the same company) at or near the very bottom. Or ask Google who the owner is. The way pharmaceutical companies buy each other and swap products like Monopoly™ real estate, the ownership of the trademark may have changed without my noticing. It may of changed hands by the time you finished reading this article.

Page design and explanatory material by Jerod Poore, copyright © 2003 - 2016. All rights reserved. See the full copyright notice for full copyright details.
Don’t automatically believe everything you read on teh Intergoogles. No warranty is expressed or implied in this information. Consult one or more doctors and/or pharmacists before taking, or changing how you take any neurological and/or psychiatric medication. Your mileage may vary. What happened to us won’t necessarily happen to you. For more details see the Crazymeds big-ass disclaimer.

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