By Medically reviewed by hellodoktor

Generic Name: Elavil Brand Name(s): Elavil.


What is Elavil® (amitriptyline) used for?

Elavil® is a tricyclic antidepressant.

Elavil® affects chemicals in the brain that may be unbalanced in people with depression. Elavil® is used to treat symptoms of depression.

How should I take Elavil® (amitriptyline)?

Take Elavil® exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

It may take up to 4 weeks before your symptoms improve. Keep using the medication as directed and tell your doctor if your symptoms do not improve.

If you need surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are using Elavil®. You may need to stop using the medicine for a short time.

Do not stop using Elavil® suddenly, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Ask your doctor how to safely stop using Elavil®.

How do I store Elavil® (amitriptyline)?

Elavil® is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store Elavil® in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of Elavil® that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush Elavil® down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Precautions & warnings

What should I know before using Elavil® (amitriptyline)?

Before using this drug, tell your doctor if:

  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding. This is because, while you are expecting or feeding a baby, you should only take medicines on the recommendation of a doctor.
  • You are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • You have allergy with any of active or inactive ingredients of Elavil® or other medications.
  • You have any other illnesses, disorders, or medical conditions.

You should not use Elavil® if you have recently had a heart attack.

Do not use Elavil® if you have used an MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days. A dangerous drug interaction could occur. MAO inhibitors include isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue injection, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, tranylcypromine, and others.

Some young people have thoughts about suicide when first taking an antidepressant. Your doctor should check your progress at regular visits. Your family or other caregivers should also be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms.

Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using Elavil® during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking Elavil®. Elavil® is pregnancy risk category C, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:

  • A=No risk
  • B=No risk in some studies
  • C=There may be some risk
  • D=Positive evidence of risk
  • X=Contraindicated
  • N=Unknown

Side effects

What side effects can occur from Elavil® (amitriptyline)?

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Elavil®: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor, such as: mood or behavior changes, anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, or if you feel impulsive, irritable, agitated, hostile, aggressive, restless, hyperactive (mentally or physically), more depressed, or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • Unusual thoughts or behavior
  • A light-headed feeling, like you might pass out
  • Chest pain or pressure, pain spreading to your jaw or shoulder, nausea, sweating
  • Pounding heartbeats or fluttering in your chest
  • Confusion, hallucinations
  • A seizure (convulsions)
  • Painful or difficult urination
  • Severe constipation
  • Easy bruising, unusual bleeding
  • Sudden weakness or ill feeling, fever, chills, sore throat, mouth sores, red or swollen gums, trouble swallowing

Common side effects may include:

  • Constipation, diarrhea
  • Nausea, vomiting, upset stomach
  • Mouth pain, unusual taste, black tongue
  • Appetite or weight changes
  • Urinating less than usual
  • Itching or rash
  • Breast swelling (in men or women)
  • Decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm

Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.


What drugs may interact with Elavil® (amitriptyline)?

Elavil® may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.

Products that may interact with this drug are:

  • Other antidepressants
  • Cimetidine
  • Heart rhythm medicine such as flecainide, propafenone, quinidine, and others
  • Medicine to treat mental illness

Does food or alcohol interact with Elavil® (amitriptyline)?

Elavil® may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

What health conditions may interact with Elavil® (amitriptyline)?

Elavil® may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.

Health conditions that may interact with this drug are:

  • Bipolar disorder (manic-depression) or schizophrenia
  • A history of mental illness or psychosis
  • Liver disease
  • Heart disease
  • A history of heart attack, stroke, or seizures
  • Diabetes (amitriptyline may raise or lower blood sugar)
  • Glaucoma
  • Problems with urination


The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using Elavil® (amitriptyline).

What is the dose of Elavil® (amitriptyline) for an adult?

Usual Adult Dose for Depression:


  • Usual dose: 75 mg orally per day in divided doses; this may be increased to a total of 150 mg per day if needed
  • Alternate dose: 40 to 100 mg orally as a single dose at bedtime; this may be increased by 25 or 50 mg as needed at bedtime to a total of 150 mg per day
  • Maximum dose: 150 mg orally per day


  • Initial dose: 100 mg orally per day
  • Maintenance dose: 40 to 100 mg orally as a single dose at bedtime
  • Maximum dose: 300 mg orally per day

Usual Geriatric Dose for Depression:

10 mg orally 3 times a day with 20 mg at bedtime

What is the dose of Elavil® (amitriptyline) for a child?

Usual Pediatric Dose for Depression:

12 years or older:

10 mg orally 3 times a day with 20 mg at bedtime

How is Elavil® (amitriptyline) available?

Elavil® is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

  • Tablet, film coated: suvorexant 5mg

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of Elavil®, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

msBahasa Malaysia


Review Date: July 31, 2017 | Last Modified: September 13, 2019

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