Amitryptiline is a part of a group of medications known as tricyclic antidepressants that affects unbalanced chemicals (i.e. serotonin) in the brain of those who suffer from depression. In essence, it is a drug to make you happier. Amitryptiline may also be used to improve feelings of well-being, relieve anxiety and tension, help you feel more energized, or help you get a better night’s sleep. In addition to treating depression, this drug is commonly prescribed for patients with nerve pain and for the prevention of migraines.
When using this medication to treat depression, it may take 4-6 weeks to feel the full effect. During this time, it is important to keep taking the medication as prescribed and to keep all regularly scheduled appointments with your doctor. This allows your doctor to monitor your progress and any mood changes. Your doctor may start you off with a small dose and gradually increase it to allow your body to adjust.
Prior to beginning Amitryptiline, it is important to notify your doctor if you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, as this medication may harm the unborn baby. Additional information to give the doctor is if you have had a recent heart attack, suffer from bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, glaucoma, or urination problems. To get the most from this treatment, other things to keep in mind include:
- Avoiding alcohol while on this medication as it may increase the chance of side-effects.
- Avoid strong sunlight, without using a high level of protection, until you are sure that your skin will not have a negative reaction.
- Check with your pharmacist or doctor before starting new medications. Some medicines may increase the risk of side effects such as flu medications or antihistamines.
- If you have diabetes, it may be necessary to check your blood pressure more frequently since Amitryptiline may alter blood sugar levels.
- Notify your doctor if you are scheduled for any medical interventions in the near future. Amitryptiline can interfere with anesthetics.
- Store this medication at room temperature, where it is not exposed to moisture, heat, or light.
There is the possibility that some may experience side-effects. Often, they will subside once your body adjusts to the medication, but any persistent side-effects that become disruptive should be reported to your doctor. Common side-effects include:
- Constipation. Eating a well-balance diet with fiber and water can help if you experience constipation.
- Sleepiness and blurred vision. If you begin to feel sleepy or experience blurred vision, you should avoid driving or using tools/machines until you feel better.
- Dizziness. If you start feeling light-headed when you stand up, standing slowly may help. You may also want to consider sitting back down until the feeling passes.
- Nausea, diarrhea, or stomach pain. Avoiding spicy foods and sticking with simple foods can help. It is also important to drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
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