Highlighting side effects, warnings, interactions, and more


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US brand name: Elavil
Generic name: amitriptyline

Elavil’s Potential Side Effects

Potential Side Effects All Crazy Meds Have

No matter which neurological and/or psychiatric drug you take, you’ll probably get one or more of these side effects. These will usually be gone, or at least will diminish to the point where you barely notice it most of the time, within a week or two.

  • Headache
  • Drowsiness / fatigue - even when taking stimulants in some circumstances.
  • Insomnia, instead of or alternating with the drowsiness.
  • Nausea
  • Assorted other minor GI complaints (constipation, diarrhea, etc.)
  • Generally feeling spacey / out of it
    • Which can all add up to the ever-helpful “flu-like symptoms” listed as an adverse event on the PI sheet of practically every medication on the planet used to treat almost any condition humans and other animals could have.1
  • All crazy meds can, and probably will affect your dreams as well. There is no way of telling if that will be good or bad, let alone if this side effect is permanent or temporary.
  • Any of the above side effects you see listed again below means they’re even more likely to happen and/or stick around longer and/or are worse than most other meds.

Typical Potential Side Effects

The usual for TCAs - headache, nausea, dry mouth, sweating, blurry vision, sleepiness or insomnia, constipation, and weight gain. Expect the sedation to hang around for awhile and the dry mouth and constipation to be permanent. The weight gain usually isn’t that bad.

Uncommon Potential Side Effects

  • Urinary hesitancy (Guys over 40 can freak out with prostate cancer hypochondria.)
  • Heart palpitations
  • No libido and other sexual dysfunctions
  • Nightmares - more so than other meds
  • The urinary hesitancy is something that meds with a positive effect on norepinephrine tend to do. It can be permanent, or happen at random.

Freaky Rare Side Effects

  • Black tongue (one of my father’s rollerderby buddies used to get that from drinking too much)
  • Sleepwalking (somnambulism)
  • Reversible brain death. That was after an overdose, but I couldn’t resist. “Reversible brain death” reads like something from a Reanimator script.

Not all side effects have been listed here, just the most likely and most interesting. For all reported side effects, see Elavil’s PI Sheet.

What You Really Need to be Careful About

Heart palpitations, arrhythmia, and similar cardiac weirdness.

Pregnancy Category

C-Use with caution

Elavil’s Noted Drug-Drug, Drug-Food & Drug-Supplement Interactions

  • Alcohol. TCA + booze = dead.
  • Antabuse (disulfiram). Elavil (amitriptyline) + the drug that prevents alkies from drinking = delirious and potentially dead. Some people can’t win for losing.
Check for Other Drug-Drug, Drug-Food & Drug-Supplement Interactions Elavil may have at

Drugs.com’s drug-drug and drug-food interaction checker

It’s always a good idea to check for drug-drug interactions yourself. Just because most people in the crazy meds business know about really important interactions (e.g. MAOIs and a lot of stuff, warfarin and everything on the planet) doesn’t mean the person who prescribed your meds told you about them, or the pharmacist has all the meds you take at their fingertips like they’re supposed to. Or they have the time to do their jobs properly when not dealing with complete idiots or playing Angry Farmers on teh Faecesbooks.
Learn more about drug-everything interactions on our page of tips about taking crazy meds.

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« Elavil’s Uses and Using | Elavil’s Pros and Cons »

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

1 As well as being an indication of half of said conditions.

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) Pharmacology” 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. Elavil’s PI Sheet 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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