- Amitriptyline: effect, dosage and side effects
- Amitriptyline: Contraindications and interactions
The active ingredient amitriptyline is used primarily for the treatment of depression. In addition, he is also suitable for the treatment of chronic pain. Like many other antidepressants, amitriptyline also has side effects. These include headaches, circulatory problems or weight gain. Find out more about the effects, side effects, dosage, contraindications and interactions of Amitriptyline.
This is how Amitriptyline works
Amitriptyline is an active substance in the group of tricyclic antidepressants. In medicines, it is usually in salt form as amitriptyline hydrochloride. In addition to amitriptyline, among others, the active ingredients doxepin and trimipramine belong to the group of tricyclic antidepressants. Amitriptyline is mainly used to treat depression associated with anxiety and restlessness due to its soothing and mood-enhancing effects.
In addition to depression, amitriptyline is also used for the long-term treatment of chronic pain. For example, the active substance is suitable for the prevention of migraine attacks and tension-type headaches. Due to its calming effect, amitriptyline is sometimes also prescribed for the treatment of sleep disorders due to illness.
The calming effect of amitriptyline usually begins a short time after ingestion. However, it can take a few days to a few weeks for the antidepressant to have a mood-enhancing effect. By taking the drug, it may happen that in the patient possible suicidal thoughts are intensified, especially at the beginning of treatment. Endangered patients should therefore be closely monitored.
Ingestion and dosage
Amitriptyline can either be taken orally as tablets or drops or injected as a solution for injection. How the drug must be dosed, is individually different and is determined in each case by the attending physician. Therefore, please understand the following dosage information as a general guide only.
At the beginning of the treatment, the amitriptyline dose is slowly increased until the smallest effective dose is determined. In depression, 50 to 75 milligrams are often given initially in two or three doses. The maximum dose is 150 milligrams on an outpatient basis. In older patients, a significantly lower dose is often sufficient to achieve the desired effect. Generally, however, older patients should take the drug only after a careful cost-benefit assessment.
When amitriptyline is used to treat chronic pain, it is usually started with a dose of 25 milligrams. Gradually, the dose can be raised up to 100 milligrams. The remedy should be taken as soon as possible before falling asleep. This also applies when amitriptyline is used to treat sleep disorders.
Side effects of amitriptyline
Taking amitriptyline may cause unpleasant side effects, especially at the beginning of treatment. Over time, however, they often subside. The most common side effects with Amitriptyline include headache, dizziness, drowsiness, fatigue, shaking, low blood pressure and circulatory problems. Also common are cardiac arrhythmias, tachycardia, constipation, weight gain and dry mouth.
In addition, taking amitriptyline often causes skin rashes, movement and taste disorders, bladder dysfunction, sexual arousal disorders, feeling thirsty, inner restlessness, confusion and difficulty concentrating. Occasionally there may be tinnitus, diarrhea, high blood pressure, paranoia and anxiety. Occasionally, side effects such as intestinal paralysis or intestinal obstruction as well as hepatic dysfunction can become noticeable.
In rare cases, taking amitriptyline may eventually result in side effects such as heart muscle damage, delusions, brain cramps, nerve damage, facial movement disorders, and elevations in intraocular pressure. Likewise, a destruction of white blood cells - a so-called agranulocytosis - possible.
Overdose of amitriptyline
If you forget to take Amitriptyline, the timing is crucial for you to catch up with it or not. If this is already relatively close to the next intake, you should not catch up on the intake. If in doubt, contact the attending physician.
If you overdose on the drug, seek medical attention immediately. Because with an overdose, the drug can have dangerous side effects. Symptoms that may indicate overdose include dry mouth, increased heart rate, and urinary problems.
In addition, disorders of the central nervous system and of the cardiovascular system may occur in the event of an overdose. These may manifest in symptoms such as confusion, loss of consciousness, heart-rhythm disorders, and seizures. In addition, it can lead to blurred vision, disorders of urinary excretion and constipation.
Amitriptyline should never be discontinued like this - otherwise you may experience side effects such as insomnia, sweating, anxiety, restlessness, nausea and vomiting. Instead, the dose of the drug should be slowly reduced over a longer period of time. Discuss with your doctor how best to stop treatment with amitriptyline.
If you do not tolerate the medication well, you should also consult with your doctor and do not dismiss amitriptyline on its own. Although you may experience manic phases while taking it, it is advisable to contact the attending physician. In general, this will then sell the drug directly. The same applies if additional depressive symptoms appear during the treatment.