Amitriptyline: take Elavil for chronic back pain

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Side effects

It is important to know the possible side effects of amitriptyline before starting this medication. Some of the more common side effects are drowsiness, headache, and tremors.

Because amitriptyline is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of depression, it can affect mental health, including increasing the risk of suicide. But from the looks of it, amitriptyline probably has a relatively low risk of suicide.

For example, a 2015 cohort study published in the British Medical Journal found that people with depression had an absolute risk of suicide from amitriptyline in one year of 0.02 percent. Of course, people living with depression are at higher risk for suicide even without this drug. If someone in your family has bipolar disorder or has committed suicide, your doctor may recommend that you not use this medicine.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, it is best to avoid amitriptyline or elavil because the drug can be passed to your baby.

Elavil can cause problems in people with arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms) and other forms of heart disease, and is generally not prescribed for people over the age of 60 (newer antidepressants may be a better option for this age group).

Some less serious side effects of Elavil include dry mouth and drowsiness.

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