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Amitriptyline: Headache and Migraine Drug Profiles.

Amitriptyline: Elavil, Endep, Amitrol...


Updated: May 26, 2006


Type of medication:

Amitriptyline is a tricyclic antidepressant that has also been prescribed off-label as a Migraine and headache preventive for many years. It was, in fact, among the first medications recognized as a potential preventive.


  • It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to allow dosage adjustments and to help reduce side effects.
  • This medicine will add to the effects of alcohol and other CNS depressants.
  • This medicine may cause drowsiness. If this occurs, do not drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous if you are not alert.
  • Tricyclic antidepressants may cause your skin to be more sensitive to sunlight than it is normally.
  • For diabetic patients: This medicine may affect blood sugar levels. If you notice a change in the results of your blood sugar tests, check with your doctor.
  • Do not stop taking this medicine without first checking with your doctor
  • The effects of this medicine may last for 3 to 7 days after you have stopped taking it.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding:

  • FDA Pregnancy Category D. May harm an unborn baby. Do not take without talking to your doctor if you are pregnant.
  • Passes into breast milk and may affect a nursing baby. Do not take without talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Other medical conditions:

Be sure to let your doctor know of other medical problems you may have, especially:

  • alcohol abuse (or history of)
  • asthma, bipolar disorder
  • blood disorders
  • convulsions (seizures)
  • difficult urination
  • enlarged prostate
  • glaucoma
  • heart disease
  • high blood pressure
  • schizophrenia
  • kidney disease
  • liver disease
  • overactive thyroid
  • stomach or intestinal problems

Other medications:

Be sure to let your doctor know of ALL medications you are taking, especially

  • amphetamines
  • appetite suppressants
  • ephedrine
  • epinephrine
  • Isoproterenol
  • medications for asthma or other breathing problems
  • phenylephrine
  • antipsychotic medications
  • Clonidine
  • thyroid medications
  • Cimetidine (Tagamet)
  • Metoclopramide (Reglan)
  • Promethazine (Phenergan)
  • Monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors

Potential side effects:

  • Stop using this medicine and check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
    • allergic reaction (swelling of the lips, face, or tongue; difficulty breathing)
    • seizures
    • fast or irregular heartbeat
    • symptoms of high blood pressure (blurred vision, headache)
    • difficulty urinating
    • fever with increased sweating, muscle stiffness, or severe muscle weakness
  • Continue medication and talk to your doctor if you experience:
    • drowsiness or dizziness
    • dry mouth and eyes
    • constipation
    • mild tremor
    • sweating
    • mild agitation, weakness, or headache
    • ringing in the ears
    • nausea
    • loss of weight or appetite

Brand Names:

  • U.S.: Elavil (discontinued), Endep
  • Canada: Apo-Amitriptyline, Elavil (discontinued), Levate, Novotriptyn
  • U.K.: Levate, Novotriptyn
  • Australia: Tryptanol, Elavil, Endep, Amitrol

Material on this page is for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice. Always consult your physician or pharmacist regarding medications.

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