Amitriptyline

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What is amitriptyline?

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. Read more >

Why is amitriptyline prescribed?

Amitriptyline used to treat chronic (long-term) pain caused by arthritis, neck and spine problems, fibromyalgia, chronic headaches and peripheral neuropathy (damage to nerve endings in the upper and lower limbs).

Amitriptyline shouldn’t be used if you've recently had a heart attack. It also shouldn’t be used if you have uncontrolled bipolar disorder, acute porphyria or heart block.

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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 several weeks before it starts to work.

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What are the possible 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 some people can't tolerate even low doses. Read more >

What are the risks of taking amitriptyline?

You can have vaccinations while on amitriptyline but you should avoid drinking alcohol. Amitriptyline isn’t generally recommended during pregnancy or while breastfeeding but you shouldn’t stop taking it suddenly or without talking to your doctor.

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What else should I know about amitriptyline?

Before you start taking amitriptyline, your healthcare professional will discuss other treatment options with you.

You won't need any special checks while you’re on amitriptyline, but you should discuss any new medications (including complementary medicines) with your doctor before starting them and always tell any other doctor treating you that you’re taking amitriptyline because some drugs interact with amitriptyline.

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