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What is amitriptyline and why is it prescribed?

Amitriptyline is a tricyclic antidepressant which is used to relieve the chronic (long-term) pain of arthritis and related conditions. It relaxes muscles and improves sleep that’s being disturbed by pain, and it may also help with anxiety or depression resulting from the pain.

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How do I take amitriptyline and how long does it take to work?

Amitriptyline is usually taken as tablets or syrup once a day, about two hours before bedtime. The usual dose for chronic pain is 5–50 mg daily, though higher doses may be prescribed. 

It may take 2–6 weeks before it starts to work.

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What are the possible risks and side-effects of amitriptyline?

The most common side-effect of amitriptyline is a dry mouth, but you may also feel drowsy or spaced out during the day. Reducing the dose may help but side-effects do tend to lessen after a time.

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Can amitriptyline affect other medicines and treatments?

You may be prescribed amitriptyline alongside other drugs. However, some drugs interact with amitriptyline, so discuss any new medications with your doctor before starting them, and always tell any other doctor treating you that you’re taking amitriptyline.

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Can I drink alcohol while I'm on amitriptyline?

Amitriptyline increases the effects of alcohol and may make you more drowsy. It's therefore recommended you avoid alcohol. This is especially important if you’re driving or using machinery.

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Does amitriptyline affect fertility, pregnancy or breastfeeding?

Amitriptyline doesn't affect fertility for men or women and is unlikely to be harmful if you're pregnant or breastfeeding.

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