Amitriptyline (Lexi-Drugs)

ALERT: US Boxed Warning
  Suicidality and antidepressant drugs:
Pronunciation

(a mee TRIP ti leen)

Brand Names: US

Elavil [DSC]

Brand Names: Canada

AG-Amitriptyline; Amitriptyline-10; Amitriptyline-25; APO-Amitriptyline; BIO-Amitriptyline; Elavil; JAMP-Amitriptyline; Levate; Mar-Amitriptyline; NOVO-Triptyn [DSC]; PMS-Amitriptyline; TEVA-Amitriptyline

Dosing: Adult

Note: In patients sensitive to adverse effects, some experts suggest lower starting doses of 10 mg daily and gradual titration in steps of 10 mg/day every few days or longer (eg, at intervals ≥1 week) unless otherwise specified (Hirsch 2019b).

Chronic fatigue syndrome related sleep disorders and pain (off-label use): Based on limited evidence; recommendations based on expert opinion: Oral: Initial: 10 mg once daily 1 hour before bedtime; may increase dose gradually based on response and tolerability in 10 mg increments up to 50 mg/day at bedtime for sleep disorders; for patients with pain, titrate up to 100 mg/day given once daily at bedtime or in divided doses (Carruthers 2003; Gluckman 2019).

Fibromyalgia (off-label use): Oral: Initial: 10 mg once daily, 1 to 3 hours before bedtime; gradually increase dose based on response and tolerability in 5 to 10 mg increments at intervals of ≥2 weeks up to 75 mg/day (Carette 1994; EULAR [Macfarlane 2017]; Goldenberg 2018). Note: Some experts suggest lower starting doses of 5 mg once daily in patients sensitive to side effects and that a maintenance dose range of 20 to 30 mg/day is often adequate (Goldenberg 2018).

Functional dyspepsia (alternative agent) (off-label use): Oral: Initial: 10 to 25 mg once daily at bedtime; may gradually increase dose based on response and tolerability at intervals of ≥2 weeks up to 75 mg/day (Braak 2011; Longstreth 2018; Talley 2015). Some experts suggest a lower maintenance dose range of 20 to 30 mg/day. Allow for an 8- to 12-week trial before discontinuing due to ineffectiveness. If amitriptyline is effective, reassess at 6 months with an attempt to discontinue treatment; may resume if dyspepsia recurs (Longstreth 2018).

Headache, chronic tension-type (prevention) (off-label use): Oral: Initial: 10 to 25 mg once daily at bedtime; may increase dose based on response and tolerability in 10 to 25 mg increments at intervals of ≥1 week up to 125 mg/day (Bendtsen 1996; EFNS [Bendtsen 2010]; Taylor 2018). A lower starting dose of 10 to 12.5 mg once daily at bedtime and smaller titration increments of 10 to 12.5 mg/day at 2- to 3-week intervals may reduce adverse effects and enhance adherence according to some experts (Taylor 2018).

Interstitial cystitis (bladder pain syndrome) (off-label use): Oral: Initial: 10 mg once daily at bedtime; based on response and tolerability, increase dose after 1 week to 25 mg once daily and then at weekly intervals in 25 mg increments to a target dose of 75 to 100 mg/day (AUA [Hanno 2014]; Foster 2010; van Ophoven 2004). A maximum dose of up to 75 mg/day as tolerated is suggested by some experts (Clemens 2018).

Irritable bowel syndrome (alternative agent) (off-label use): Oral: Initial: 10 to 25 mg once daily at bedtime; may gradually increase dose based on response and tolerability up to 75 mg/day (Rajagopalan 1998; Vahedi 2008). Some experts recommend 3 to 4 weeks of therapy before increasing the dose (Wald 2018).

Major depressive disorder (unipolar) (alternative agent): Oral: Initial: 25 to 50 mg/day as a single dose at bedtime or in divided doses; increase dose based on response and tolerability in 25 to 50 mg increments at intervals of ≥1 week up to a usual dose of 100 to 300 mg/day (Hirsch 2019b; VA/DoD 2016; WFSBP [Bauer 2013]). Some experts suggest an initial dose of 25 mg/day at bedtime for most patients, although higher starting doses of 50 to 100 mg/day and more rapid titration (eg, every few days) may be considered in closely supervised (eg, hospitalized) settings (Hirsch 2019b).

Manufacturer’s labeling: Dosing in prescribing information may not reflect current clinical practice. Oral: Initial: 75 to 100 mg/day as a single dose at bedtime or in divided doses

Migraine (prevention) (off-label use): Oral: Initial: 10 to 25 mg once daily at bedtime; increase dose based on response and tolerability in 10 to 25 mg increments at intervals of ≥1 week up to 150 mg/day (Dodick 2009; EFNS [Evers 2009]; Keskinbora 2008). Some experts suggest that a lower maintenance dose range of 20 to 50 mg once daily at bedtime is often adequate and better tolerated (Bajwa 2018).

Neuropathic pain, chronic (including diabetic neuropathy) (alternative agent) (off-label use): Oral: Initial: 10 to 25 mg once daily at bedtime; may gradually increase dose based on response and tolerability in 10 to 25 mg increments at intervals ≥1 week up to 150 mg/day given once daily at bedtime or in 2 divided doses (Boyle 2012; Bryson 1996; Moulin 2007).

Postherpetic neuralgia (off-label use): Oral: Initial: 10 to 25 mg once daily at bedtime; may gradually increase dose based on response and tolerability in 10 to 25 mg increments at intervals of ≥1 week up to 150 mg/day given once daily at bedtime or in 2 divided doses (Graff-Radford 2000; Max 1988; Rowbotham 2005; Watson 1982; Watson 1992; Watson 1998).

Sialorrhea (off-label use): Oral: Usual dose: 10 to 25 mg once daily at bedtime. If necessary, may gradually increase dose based on response and tolerability up to 100 mg/day (EFNS [Andersen 2012]; Praharaj 2007; Sinha 2016, Squires 2012).

Discontinuation of therapy: When discontinuing antidepressant treatment that has lasted for >3 weeks, gradually taper the dose (eg, over 2 to 4 weeks) to minimize withdrawal symptoms and detect reemerging symptoms (APA 2010; WFSBP [Bauer 2015]). Reasons for a slower titration (eg, over 4 weeks) include use of a drug with a half-life <24 hours (eg, paroxetine, venlafaxine), prior history of antidepressant withdrawal symptoms, or high doses of antidepressants (APA 2010; Hirsch 2019a). If intolerable withdrawal symptoms occur, resume the previously prescribed dose and/or decrease dose at a more gradual rate (Shelton 2001). Select patients (eg, those with a history of discontinuation syndrome) on long-term treatment (>6 months) may benefit from tapering over >3 months (WFSBP [Bauer 2015]). Evidence supporting ideal taper rates is limited (Shelton 2001; WFSBP [Bauer 2015]).

Switching antidepressants: Evidence for ideal antidepressant switching strategies is limited; strategies include cross-titration (gradually discontinuing the first antidepressant while at the same time gradually increasing the new antidepressant) and direct switch (abruptly discontinuing the first antidepressant and then starting the new antidepressant at an equivalent dose or lower dose and increasing it gradually). Cross-titration (eg, over 1 to 4 weeks depending upon sensitivity to discontinuation symptoms and adverse effects) is standard for most switches, but is contraindicated when switching to or from an MAOI. A direct switch may be an appropriate approach when switching to another agent in the same or similar class (eg, when switching between two SSRIs), when the antidepressant to be discontinued has been used for <1 week, or when the discontinuation is for adverse effects. When choosing the switch strategy, consider the risk of discontinuation symptoms, potential for drug interactions, other antidepressant properties (eg, half-life, adverse effects, and pharmacodynamics), and the degree of symptom control desired (WFSBP [Bauer 2013]; Hirsch 2019c; Ogle 2013).

Switching to or from an MAOI:

Allow 14 days to elapse between discontinuing an MAOI and initiation of amitriptyline.

Allow 14 days to elapse between discontinuing amitriptyline and initiation of an MAOI.

Dosing: Geriatric

Major depressive disorder (unipolar) (alternative agent): Oral: Initial: 10 to 25 mg once daily at bedtime; increase dose gradually based on response and tolerability in 25 to 50 mg increments at intervals of ≥1 week up to a usual dose of 100 to 300 mg/day (Hirsch 2019b; VA/DoD 2016; WFSBP [Bauer 2013]). A more rapid titration (eg, every few days) may be considered in closely supervised (eg, hospitalized) settings according to some experts (Hirsch 2019b).

Manufacturer’s labeling: Dosing may not reflect current clinical practice: Oral: 10 mg 3 times daily with an additional 20 mg once daily at bedtime

Postherpetic neuralgia (off-label use): Oral: Initial: 10 to 12.5 mg once daily at bedtime; may gradually increase dose based on response and tolerability in increments of 10 to 25 mg at intervals ≥1 week up to 150 mg/day once daily at bedtime or in 2 divided doses (Graff-Radford 2000; Max 1988; Rowbotham 2005; Watson 1982; Watson 1992; Watson 1998).

Discontinuation of therapy: Refer to adult dosing.

Switching antidepressants:Refer to adult dosing.

Dosing: Renal Impairment: Adult

There are no dosage adjustments provided in manufacturer’s labeling; however, renally eliminated; use with caution.

Dosing: Hepatic Impairment: Adult

There are no dosage adjustments provided in manufacturer’s labeling; however, hepatically metabolized; use with caution.

Dosing: Pediatric

Chronic pain management: Limited data available: Children and Adolescents: Oral: Initial: 0.1 mg/kg at bedtime, may advance as tolerated over 2 to 3 weeks to 0.5 to 2 mg/kg at bedtime (APS 2008; Freidrichsdorf 2007; Kliegman 2011)

Depressive disorders: Note: Controlled clinical trials have not shown tricyclic antidepressants to be superior to placebo for the treatment of depression in children and adolescents; not recommended as first-line medication; may be beneficial for patients with comorbid conditions (Biramaher 2007; Dopheide 2006; Wagner 2005)

Children 9 to <12 years: Limited data available: Oral: Initial: 1 mg/kg/day in 3 divided doses; after 3 days, dose may be increased to 1.5 mg/kg/day in 3 divided doses (Kashani 1984; Kliegman 2007); dosing was reported in a small pilot study (n=9) (Kashani 1984)

Children ≥12 years and Adolescents:

Manufacturer’s labeling: Usual initial dosage: 10 mg three times daily and 20 mg at bedtime. In general, lower doses are recommended compared to adults; maximum daily dose: 200 mg/day (Kliegman 2007)

Alternate dosing: Usual range: 30 to 100 mg at bedtime or in divided doses twice daily; maximum daily dose: 200 mg/day (Kliegman 2007; Nelson 1996). In adults, therapy is initiated with 25 to 50 mg daily single dose at bedtime or in divided doses (APA 2010; Bauer 2013).

Migraine prophylaxis: Limited data available (Hershey 2000; Lewis 2004): Older children and Adolescents: Oral: Initial: 0.25 mg/kg/day, given at bedtime; increase dose by 0.25 mg/kg/day every 2 weeks to 1 mg/kg/day. Reported dosing range: 0.2 to 1.7 mg/kg/day (Hershey 2000). Dosing based on a large open-label trial in 192 children (mean age 12 ± 3 years) with >3 headaches/month (61% with migraine, 8% with migraine with aura, and 10% with tension-type headaches) used an initial dose of 0.25 mg/kg/day given before bedtime; doses were increased every 2 weeks by 0.25 mg/kg/day to a final dose of 1 mg/kg/day; patients also used appropriate abortive medications and lifestyle adjustments; at initial reevaluation (mean: 67 days after initiation of therapy), the mean number of headaches per month significantly decreased from 17.1 to 9.2; the mean duration of headaches decreased from 11.5 to 6.3 hours; continued improvement was observed at follow-up visits; minimal adverse effects were reported. Note: Mean final dose was 0.99 ± 0.23 mg/kg; range: 0.16-1.7 mg/kg/day; ECGs were obtained on children receiving >1 mg/kg/day or in those describing a cardiac side effect (Hershey 2000).

Discontinuation of therapy: Upon discontinuation of antidepressant therapy, gradually taper the dose to minimize the incidence of withdrawal symptoms and allow for the detection of reemerging symptoms. Evidence supporting ideal taper rates is limited. APA and NICE guidelines suggest tapering therapy over at least several weeks with consideration to the half-life of the antidepressant; antidepressants with a shorter half-life may need to be tapered more conservatively. In addition for long-term treated patients, WFSBP guidelines recommend tapering over 4 to 6 months. If intolerable withdrawal symptoms occur following a dose reduction, consider resuming the previously prescribed dose and/or decrease dose at a more gradual rate (APA 2010; Bauer 2002; Haddad 2001; NCCMH 2010; Schatzberg 2006; Shelton 2001; Warner 2006).

MAO inhibitor recommendations:

Switching to or from an MAO inhibitor antidepressant:

Allow 14 days to elapse between discontinuing an MAO inhibitor intended to treat depression and initiation of amitriptyline.

Allow 14 days to elapse between discontinuing amitriptyline and initiation of an MAO inhibitor intended to treat depression.

Use with reversible MAO inhibitors (such as linezolid or IV methylene blue):

Do not initiate amitriptyline in patients receiving linezolid or IV methylene blue; consider other interventions for psychiatric condition.

If urgent treatment with linezolid or IV methylene blue is required in a patient already receiving amitriptyline and potential benefits outweigh potential risks, discontinue amitriptyline promptly and administer linezolid or IV methylene blue. Monitor for serotonin syndrome for 2 weeks or until 24 hours after the last dose of linezolid or IV methylene blue, whichever comes first. May resume amitriptyline 24 hours after the last dose of linezolid or IV methylene blue

Dosing: Renal Impairment: Pediatric

Children ≥12 years and Adolescents: There are no dosage adjustments provided in manufacturer’s labeling; however, renally eliminated; use with caution.

Dosing: Hepatic Impairment: Pediatric

Children ≥12 years and Adolescents: There are no dosage adjustments provided in manufacturer’s labeling; however, hepatically metabolized; use with caution.

Use: Labeled Indications

Major depressive disorder (unipolar): Treatment of unipolar major depressive disorder

Use: Off-Label: Adult

  Chronic fatigue syndrome related sleep disturbances and painLevel of Evidence [G]

Based on the NICE guidelines for chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (or encephalopathy), amitriptyline is suggested for patients with chronic fatigue syndrome and poor sleep. In addition, based on the Health Canada myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome diagnostic and treatment protocol, amitriptyline is also suggested for chronic fatigue syndrome related pain Ref.

  FibromyalgiaLevel of Evidence [B, G]

Data from network meta-analyses support the use of amitriptyline for improving pain, fatigue, and sleep disturbances in fibromyalgia Ref.

Based on Canadian Pain Society and European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) guidelines for the management of fibromyalgia, tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) and amitriptyline, respectively, are suggested for the reduction of pain and improvement of sleep disturbance in patients with fibromyalgia. Access Full Off-Label Monograph

  Functional dyspepsiaLevel of Evidence [C, G]

Data from a limited number of clinical trials suggest that amitriptyline may be beneficial for the reduction of functional dyspepsia symptoms, particularly in patients with ulcer-like functional dyspepsia Ref.

Based on the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) and Canadian Association of Gastroenterology (CAG) guidelines for the management of dyspepsia, the use of amitriptyline is suggested when dyspepsia symptoms have not responded to proton pump inhibitor therapy or H. pylori eradication therapy in patients <60 years of age or in patients with functional dyspepsia.

  Headache, chronic tension-type (prevention)Level of Evidence [C, G]

Data from a limited number of patients studied suggest that amitriptyline may be beneficial for decreasing headache duration and frequency when used for prevention of chronic tension-type headache Ref.

Based on the European Federation of Neurological Societies (EFNS) guidelines for the treatment of tension-type headache, amitriptyline is recommended first-line for the prevention of chronic tension-type headache.

  Interstitial cystitis (bladder pain syndrome)Level of Evidence [B, G]

Data from 2 double-blind, placebo-controlled studies support the use of amitriptyline in the treatment of interstitial cystitis (bladder pain syndrome) Ref.

American Urological Association (AUA) guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome recommend oral amitriptyline as a second-line treatment option that may provide benefit in a subset of patients; however, adverse events potentially affecting quality of life (eg, drowsiness, nausea) are common. Access Full Off-Label Monograph

  Irritable bowel syndromeLevel of Evidence [C, G]

Data from a limited number of patients studied suggest that amitriptyline may be beneficial for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) Ref.

Guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommend TCAs such as amitriptyline as second-line therapy if laxatives, loperamide, or anti-spasmodic agents have failed. ACG guidelines on management of IBS recommend antidepressants based on high-quality evidence, but state that the recommendation is weak due to adverse effects and low patient and provider acceptability. The American Gastroenterological Association suggests the use of TCAs as a low-cost alternative in patients with IBS based on low-quality evidence. Access Full Off-Label Monograph

  Migraine (prevention)Level of Evidence [B, G]

Data from a number of randomized, active-controlled, open-label and blinded studies evaluating the use of amitriptyline (alone or in combination with other agents [eg, topiramate]) support the use of amitriptyline for the prevention of migraine in adult patients Ref.

Based on the American Academy of Neurology and American Headache Society guideline on the pharmacologic treatment for episodic migraine prevention in adults and the EFNS guideline on the drug treatment of migraine, the use of amitriptyline is probably effective and recommended for migraine prophylaxis and may be considered as a therapeutic alternative.

  Neuropathic pain, chronic (including diabetic neuropathy)Level of Evidence [B, G]

Data from several randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials in patients with chronic pain treated with low-dose amitriptyline support the use of amitriptyline for the treatment of this condition; however, study populations included patients with neuropathic pain as well as nonspecified pain Ref. Data from a limited number of clinical trials focused on chronic neuropathic pain and diabetic neuropathy suggest that amitriptyline may be beneficial for the treatment of these conditions Ref.

Based on the Canadian Pain Society consensus statement and guidelines for the pharmacological management of chronic neuropathic pain and the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) evidence-based recommendations, TCAs such as amitriptyline are effective and recommended in the treatment of chronic neuropathic pain; however, according to the Canadian Pain Society, nortriptyline and desipramine are preferred due to better tolerability. Based on the American Diabetes Association (ADA) position statement for the treatment of diabetic neuropathy, TCAs, including amitriptyline, are effective and recommended in the management of diabetic neuropathy, but should be used with caution due to the risk for cardiovascular adverse effects. Access Full Off-Label Monograph

  Postherpetic neuralgiaLevel of Evidence [C, G]

Data from multiple randomized, double-blind, placebo- and active-controlled studies support the use of amitriptyline for reducing pain in patients with postherpetic neuralgia Ref.

Based on the EFNS guidelines, amitriptyline is first-line for the management of postherpetic neuralgia Access Full Off-Label Monograph

  SialorrheaLevel of Evidence [C, G]

No formal studies have evaluated use of amitriptyline for management of sialorrhea in adults. Published data are limited to case reports of clozapine-induced sialorrhea Ref.

EFNS guidelines on the clinical management of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) recommend amitriptyline as good clinical practice in the management of sialorrhea, particularly in patients also experiencing emotional lability. Access Full Off-Label Monograph

Level of Evidence Definitions
  Level of Evidence Scale
Clinical Practice Guidelines

Chronic fatigue syndrome:

NICE, “Chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (or encephalopathy): diagnosis and management,” 2007.

Depression:

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, “Practice Parameter for the Assessment and Treatment of Children and Adolescents with Depressive Disorders,” 2007.

American Psychiatric Association, Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Patients with Major Depressive Disorder, Third Edition, May 2010

Canadian Network for Mood and Anxiety Treatments (CANMAT), “Clinical Guidelines for the Management of Major Depressive Disorder in Adults,” 2016

World Federation of Societies of Biological Psychiatry (WFSBP), “Guidelines for Biological Treatment of Unipolar Depressive Disorders, Part 1: Update 2013 on the Acute and Continuation Treatment of Unipolar Depressive Disorders,” 2013.

World Federation of Societies of Biological Psychiatry (WFSBP), “Guidelines for Biological Treatment of Unipolar Depressive Disorders, Part 2: Maintenance Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder and Treatment of Chronic Depressive Disorders and Subthreshold Depressions,” 2002.

Dyspepsia:

ACG/CAG “Guidelines for the Management of Dyspepsia,” June 2017

Fibromyalgia:

Canadian Pain Society, “2012 Canadian guidelines for the diagnosis and management of fibromyalgia syndrome: Executive summary,” 2012

European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR), “EULAR revised recommendations for the management of fibromyalgia,” 2016

Headache:

European Federation of Neurological Sciences (EFNS), “EFNS guideline on the treatment of tension-type headache – Report of an EFNS task force,” 2010

Interstitial Cystitis (Bladder Pain Syndrome):

American Urological Association, “Diagnosis and Treatment of Interstitial Cystitis/bladder Pain Syndrome,” December 2014

Irritable Bowel Syndrome:

American College of Gastroenterology (ACG), “American College of Gastroenterology monograph on the management of irritable bowel syndrome and chronic idiopathic constipation,” 2014

American Gastroenterological Association (AGA), “American Gastroenterological Association Institute Guideline on the Pharmacological Management of Irritable Bowel Syndrome,” 2014

National Collaborating Centre for Nursing and Supportive Care, “Irritable bowel syndrome in adults: Diagnosis and management of irritable bowel syndrome in primary care,” 2008

Migraine Prophylaxis:

American Academy of Neurology, “Evidence-Based Guideline Update: Pharmacologic Treatment for Episodic Migraine Prevention in Adults,” April 2012

American Academy of Neurology, “Practice parameter: Pharmacological Treatment of Migraine Headache in Children and Adolescents. Report of the American Academy of Neurology Quality Standards Subcommittee and the Practice Committee of the Child Neurology Society,” 2004.

Canadian Headache Society, “Canadian Headache Society Guideline for Migraine Prophylaxis,” 2012

European Federation of Neurological Societies (EFNS). “EFNS guideline on the drug treatment of migraine – revised report of an EFNS task force,” 2009

Neuropathic Pain:

American Academy of Neurology, the American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine, and the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, “Evidence-Based Guideline: Treatment of Painful Diabetic Neuropathy,” April 2011

American Diabetes Association, “Diabetic neuropathy: a position statement by the American Diabetes Association,” 2017

Canadian Pain Society, “Pharmacological management of chronic neuropathic pain – Consensus statement and guidelines from the Canadian Pain Society,” 2007

European Federation of Neurological Societies (EFNS), “EFNS guidelines on the pharmacological treatment of neuropathic pain, 2010 revision,” 2010

Sialorrhea:

European Federation of Neurological Societies (EFNS), “EFNS guidelines on the clinical management of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (MALS) – revised report of an EFNS task force,” 2012

Administration: Oral

Administer higher doses preferably at late afternoon or as bedtime doses to minimize daytime sedation.

Administration: Pediatric

Oral: May administer with food to decrease GI upset

Storage/Stability

Store at 20°C to 25°C (68°F to 77°F). Protect from light.

Medication Patient Education with HCAHPS Considerations

• Discuss specific use of drug and side effects with patient as it relates to treatment. (HCAHPS: During this hospital stay, were you given any medicine that you had not taken before? Before giving you any new medicine, how often did hospital staff tell you what the medicine was for? How often did hospital staff describe possible side effects in a way you could understand?)

• Patient may experience fatigue, dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, lack of appetite, change in taste, anxiety, weight gain, weight loss, or diarrhea. Have patient report immediately to prescriber signs of depression (suicidal ideation, anxiety, emotional instability, or confusion), irritability, panic attacks, mood changes, confusion, difficulty focusing, signs of high blood sugar (confusion, fatigue, increased thirst, increased hunger, polyuria, flushing, fast breathing, or breath that smells like fruit), signs of low blood sugar (dizziness, headache, fatigue, feeling weak, shaking, tachycardia, confusion, increased hunger, or sweating), signs of severe cerebrovascular disease (change in strength on one side is greater than the other, difficulty speaking or thinking, change in balance, or vision changes), tachycardia, abnormal heartbeat, severe dizziness, passing out, severe headache, urinary retention, change in amount of urine passed, severe loss of strength and energy, bruising, bleeding, edema, tremors, seizures, hallucinations, burning or numbness feeling, angina, sexual dysfunction, decreased libido, testicle edema, enlarged breasts, nipple discharge, chills, pharyngitis, severe abdominal pain, severe constipation, lack of sweating, vision changes, insomnia, nightmares, tinnitus, tongue discoloration, sweating a lot, eye pain, eye irritation, or signs of tardive dyskinesia (unable to control body movements; tongue, face, mouth, or jaw sticking out; mouth puckering; and puffing cheeks) (HCAHPS).

• Educate patient about signs of a significant reaction (eg, wheezing; chest tightness; fever; itching; bad cough; blue skin color; seizures; or swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat). Note: This is not a comprehensive list of all side effects. Patient should consult prescriber for additional questions.

Intended Use and Disclaimer: Should not be printed and given to patients. This information is intended to serve as a concise initial reference for health care professionals to use when discussing medications with a patient. You must ultimately rely on your own discretion, experience, and judgment in diagnosing, treating, and advising patients.

Medication Safety Issues
  Sound-alike/look-alike issues:
  Geriatric Patients: High-Risk Medication:
Medication Guide and/or Vaccine Information Statement (VIS)

An FDA-approved patient medication guide, which is available with the product information and at the following website, must be dispensed with this medication:

Antidepressant medications: https://www.fda.gov/downloads/drugs/drugsafety/ucm088660.pdf

Contraindications

Hypersensitivity to amitriptyline or any component of the formulation; coadministration with or within 14 days of MAOIs; coadministration with cisapride; acute recovery phase following myocardial infarction

Canadian labeling: Additional contraindications (not in the US labeling): Severe liver impairment; acute heart failure

Documentation of allergenic cross-reactivity for tricyclic antidepressants is limited. However, because of similarities in chemical structure and/or pharmacologic actions, the possibility of cross-sensitivity cannot be ruled out with certainty.

Warnings/Precautions

Major psychiatric warnings:

• Suicidal thinking/behavior: [US Boxed Warning]: Antidepressants increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in children, adolescents, and young adults (18 to 24 years of age) with major depressive disorder (MDD) and other psychiatric disorders; consider risk prior to prescribing. Short-term studies did not show an increased risk in patients >24 years of age and showed a decreased risk in patients ≥65 years. Closely monitor patients for clinical worsening, suicidality, or unusual changes in behavior, particularly during the initial 1 to 2 months of therapy or during periods of dosage adjustments (increases or decreases); the patient’s family or caregiver should be instructed to closely observe the patient and communicate condition with health care provider. A medication guide concerning the use of antidepressants should be dispensed with each prescription. Amitriptyline is not FDA-approved for use in children.

• The possibility of a suicide attempt is inherent in major depression and may persist until remission occurs. Worsening depression and severe abrupt suicidality that are not part of the presenting symptoms may require discontinuation or modification of drug therapy. Use caution in high-risk patients during initiation of therapy.

• Prescriptions should be written for the smallest quantity consistent with good patient care. The patient’s family or caregiver should be alerted to monitor patients for the emergence of suicidality and associated behaviors such as anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, impulsivity, akathisia, hypomania, and mania; patients should be instructed to notify their health care provider if any of these symptoms or worsening depression or psychosis occur.

Concerns related to adverse effects:

• Anticholinergic effects: May cause anticholinergic effects (constipation, xerostomia, blurred vision, urinary retention); use with caution in patients with decreased gastrointestinal motility, increased intraocular pressure (IOP), narrow-angle glaucoma, paralytic ileus, urinary retention, BPH, xerostomia, or visual problems. The degree of anticholinergic blockade produced by this agent is high relative to other antidepressants.

• CNS depression: May cause CNS depression, which may impair physical or mental abilities; patients must be cautioned about performing tasks that require mental alertness (eg, operating machinery or driving).

• Fractures: Bone fractures have been associated with antidepressant treatment. Consider the possibility of a fragility fracture if an antidepressant-treated patient presents with unexplained bone pain, point tenderness, swelling, or bruising (Rabenda 2013; Rizzoli 2012).

• Hematologic effects: TCAs may rarely cause bone marrow suppression; monitor for any signs of infection and obtain CBC if symptoms (eg, fever, sore throat) evident.

• Ocular effects: May cause mild pupillary dilation which in susceptible individuals can lead to an episode of narrow-angle glaucoma. Consider evaluating patients who have not had an iridectomy for narrow-angle glaucoma risk factors.

• Orthostatic hypotension: May cause orthostatic hypotension (risk is very high relative to other antidepressants); use with caution in patients at risk of this effect or in those who would not tolerate transient hypotensive episodes (cerebrovascular disease, cardiovascular disease, hypovolemia, or concurrent medication use which may predispose to hypotension/bradycardia). Therapy is relatively contraindicated in patients with symptomatic hypotension.

• Syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion and hyponatremia: Antidepressant agents have been associated with the development of syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion (SIADH) and hyponatremia, predominately in the elderly. Other risk factors include volume depletion, concurrent use of diuretics, female gender, low body weight, and severe physical illness. TCAs have a lower risk for hyponatremia in comparison to SSRIs (De Picker 2014).

Disease-related concerns:

• Cardiovascular disease: Use with caution in patients with a history of cardiovascular disease (including previous MI, stroke, tachycardia, or conduction abnormalities); the risk of conduction abnormalities with this agent is high relative to other antidepressants. Heart block may be precipitated in patients with preexisting conduction system disease and use is relatively contraindicated in patients with conduction abnormalities. In a scientific statement from the American Heart Association, amitriptyline has been determined to be an agent that may exacerbate underlying myocardial dysfunction (magnitude: moderate) (AHA [Page 2016]).

• Diabetes: Use with caution in patients with diabetes mellitus; may alter glucose regulation.

• Hepatic impairment: Use with caution in patients with hepatic impairment.

• Mania/hypomania: May precipitate a shift to mania or hypomania in patients with bipolar disorder. Patients presenting with depressive symptoms should be screened for bipolar disorder, including details regarding family history of suicide, bipolar disorder, and depression. Amitriptyline is not FDA approved for the treatment of bipolar depression.

• Renal impairment: Use with caution in patients with renal impairment.

• Seizure disorder: Use with caution in patients at risk of seizures, including those with a history of seizures, head trauma, brain damage, alcoholism, or concurrent therapy with medications which may lower seizure threshold.

Concurrent drug therapy issues:

• Drug-drug interactions: Potentially significant interactions may exist, requiring dose or frequency adjustment, additional monitoring, and/or selection of alternative therapy. Consult drug interactions database for more detailed information.

Other warnings/precautions:

• Discontinuation syndrome: Abrupt discontinuation or interruption of antidepressant therapy has been associated with a discontinuation syndrome. Symptoms arising may vary with antidepressant however commonly include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, light-headedness, dizziness, diminished appetite, sweating, chills, tremors, paresthesias, fatigue, somnolence, and sleep disturbances (eg, vivid dreams, insomnia). Less common symptoms include electric shock-like sensations, cardiac arrhythmias (more common with tricyclic antidepressants), myalgias, parkinsonism, arthralgias, and balance difficulties. Psychological symptoms may also emerge such as agitation, anxiety, akathisia, panic attacks, irritability, aggressiveness, worsening of mood, dysphoria, mood lability, hyperactivity, mania/hypomania, depersonalization, decreased concentration, slowed thinking, confusion, and memory or concentration difficulties. Greater risks for developing a discontinuation syndrome have been associated with antidepressants with shorter half-lives, longer durations of treatment, and abrupt discontinuation. For antidepressants of short or intermediate half-lives, symptoms may emerge within 2 to 5 days after treatment discontinuation and last 7 to 14 days (APA 2010; Fava 2006; Haddad 2001; Shelton 2001; Warner 2006).

• Electroconvulsive therapy: May increase the risks associated with electroconvulsive therapy; consider discontinuing, when possible, prior to ECT treatment.

• Surgery: Recommended by the manufacturer to discontinue prior to elective surgery; risks exist for drug interactions with anesthesia and for cardiac arrhythmias. However, definitive drug interactions have not been widely reported in the literature and continuation of tricyclic antidepressants is generally recommended as long as precautions are taken to reduce the significance of any adverse events that may occur. Norepinephrine should be considered the vasopressor of choice for TCA-related hypotension (Pass 2004). Therapy should not be abruptly discontinued in patients receiving high doses for prolonged periods.

Geriatric Considerations

Amitriptyline is not a drug of choice for the elderly. The most anticholinergic and sedating of the antidepressants; pronounced effects on the cardiovascular system (hypotension).

A systematic review and meta-analysis of antidepressant placebo-controlled trials in persons with depression and dementia found evidence “suggestive” of efficacy but not of sufficient strength to “confirm” efficacy (Nelson 2011). Older patients with depression being treated with an antidepressant should be closely monitored for response and adverse effects.

Pregnancy Risk Factor

C

Pregnancy Considerations

Adverse events have been observed in some animal reproduction studies. Amitriptyline crosses the human placenta; CNS effects, limb deformities, and developmental delay have been noted in case reports (causal relationship not established). Tricyclic antidepressants may be associated with irritability, jitteriness, and convulsions (rare) in the neonate (Yonkers 2009). Crying, constipation, problems with urinating, and nausea may also occur in neonates exposed during pregnancy (Larsen 2015).

The ACOG recommends that therapy for depression during pregnancy be individualized; treatment should incorporate the clinical expertise of the mental health clinician, obstetrician, primary health care provider, and pediatrician (ACOG 2008). According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the risks of medication treatment should be weighed against other treatment options and untreated depression. For women who discontinue antidepressant medications during pregnancy and who may be at high risk for postpartum depression, the medications can be restarted following delivery (APA 2010). Treatment algorithms have been developed by the ACOG and the APA for the management of depression in women prior to conception and during pregnancy (Yonkers 2009). Tricyclic antidepressants are not the preferred therapy for depression in pregnant women but may be helpful when agitation is also present. If a TCA is needed, amitriptyline is one of the preferred agents. Maternal serum concentrations should be monitored during pregnancy (Larsen 2015; Yonkers 2009). Migraine prophylaxis should be avoided during pregnancy; if needed, amitriptyline may be used if other agents are ineffective or contraindicated (Pringsheim 2012).

Pregnant women exposed to antidepressants during pregnancy are encouraged to enroll in the National Pregnancy Registry for Antidepressants (NPRAD). Women 18 to 45 years of age or their health care providers may contact the registry by calling 844-405-6185. Enrollment should be done as early in pregnancy as possible.

Breast-Feeding Considerations

Amitriptyline and the metabolite nortriptyline are present in breast milk (Bader 1980).

The relative infant dose (RID) of amitriptyline is 1.2 % when calculated using the highest breast milk concentration located and compared to a weight-adjusted maternal dose of 175 mg/day. In general, breastfeeding is considered acceptable when the RID is <10% (Anderson 2016; Ito 2000). Using the highest milk concentration (197 ng/mL), the estimated daily infant dose via breast milk is 0.03 mg/kg/day. This milk concentration was obtained following maternal administration of oral amitriptyline 175 mg/day for ~28 days (Yoshida 1997). In a review article which included six mother/infant pairs, following maternal use of amitriptyline 75 to 175 mg/day, the estimated exposure to the breastfeeding infant was calculated as 0.2% to 1.9% of the weight-adjusted maternal dose (additional detail not provided) (Fortinguerra 2009). Very small amounts of amitriptyline can be detected in the plasma and urine of breastfeeding infants (Yoshida 1997). It should be noted that actual milk concentrations of tricyclic antidepressants are generally related to maternal serum concentration and vary by fat content of breast milk; the level of detection varies greatly by assay method (Yoshida 1997).

Most sources have not reported adverse events in infants exposed to amitriptyline via breast milk (Fortinguerra 2009; Larsen 2015; Yoshida 1997). However, in a case report, severe sedation with associated poor feeding was observed in a breastfed infant (~15 days old) following the initiation of amitriptyline 10 mg/day in the mother. Symptoms in the infant decreased within 24 hours and resolved within 48 hours after the maternal dose was discontinued. Once amitriptyline was reinitiated in the mother, symptoms in the infant returned (Uguz 2017).

Infants of mothers using psychotropic medications should be monitored daily for changes in sleep, feeding patterns, and behavior (Bauer 2013) as well as infant growth and neurodevelopment (Sriraman 2015).

Tricyclic antidepressants are not the preferred therapy for depression in breastfeeding women. However, if a TCA is needed, amitriptyline is one of the agents with information available (Larsen 2015). A woman already stabilized on a TCA during pregnancy may continue that medication while breastfeeding (Sriraman 2015). Migraine prophylaxis should be avoided in women who are breastfeeding; if needed, amitriptyline may be used if other agents are ineffective or contraindicated (Pringsheim 2012). The WHO considers amitriptyline to be compatible with breastfeeding in doses ≤150 mg/day (WHO 2002). Due to the potential for serious adverse reactions in the breastfed infant, the manufacturer recommends a decision be made whether to discontinue breastfeeding or to discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of treatment to the mother.

Briggs’ Drugs in Pregnancy & Lactation
Adverse Reactions

Anticholinergic effects may be pronounced; moderate to marked sedation can occur (tolerance to these effects usually occurs).

Frequency not defined.

Cardiovascular: Atrioventricular conduction disturbance, cardiac arrhythmia, cardiomyopathy (rare), cerebrovascular accident, ECG changes (nonspecific), edema, facial edema, heart block, hypertension, myocardial infarction, orthostatic hypotension, palpitations, syncope, tachycardia

Central nervous system: Anxiety, ataxia, cognitive dysfunction, coma, confusion, delusions, disorientation, dizziness, drowsiness, drug withdrawal (nausea, headache, malaise, irritability, restlessness, dream and sleep disturbance, mania [rare], and hypomania [rare]), dysarthria, EEG pattern changes, excitement, extrapyramidal reaction (including abnormal involuntary movements and tardive dyskinesia), fatigue, hallucination, headache, hyperpyrexia, insomnia, lack of concentration, nightmares, numbness, paresthesia, peripheral neuropathy, restlessness, sedation, seizure, tingling of extremities

Dermatologic: Allergic skin rash, alopecia, diaphoresis, skin photosensitivity, urticaria

Endocrine & metabolic: Altered serum glucose, decreased libido, galactorrhea, gynecomastia, increased libido, SIADH, weight gain, weight loss

Gastrointestinal: Ageusia, anorexia, constipation, diarrhea, melanoglossia, nausea, paralytic ileus, parotid gland enlargement, stomatitis, unpleasant taste, vomiting, xerostomia

Genitourinary: Breast hypertrophy, impotence, testicular swelling, urinary frequency, urinary retention, urinary tract dilation

Hematologic & oncologic: Bone marrow depression (including agranulocytosis, leukopenia, and thrombocytopenia), eosinophilia, purpura

Hepatic: Hepatic failure, hepatitis (rare; including altered liver function and jaundice)

Hypersensitivity: Tongue edema

Neuromuscular & skeletal: Lupus-like syndrome, tremor, weakness

Ophthalmic: Accommodation disturbance, blurred vision, increased intraocular pressure, mydriasis

Otic: Tinnitus

Postmarketing and/or case reports: Angle-closure glaucoma, neuroleptic malignant syndrome (rare; Stevens, 2008), serotonin syndrome (rare)

Allergy and Idiosyncratic Reactions
Metabolism/Transport Effects

Substrate of CYP1A2 (minor), CYP2B6 (minor), CYP2C19 (minor), CYP2C9 (minor), CYP2D6 (major), CYP3A4 (minor); Note: Assignment of Major/Minor substrate status based on clinically relevant drug interaction potential

Drug Interactions 

Abiraterone Acetate: May increase the serum concentration of CYP2D6 Substrates (High risk with Inhibitors). Management: Avoid concurrent use of abiraterone with CYP2D6 substrates that have a narrow therapeutic index whenever possible. When concurrent use is not avoidable, monitor patients closely for signs/symptoms of toxicity. Risk D: Consider therapy modification

Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitors: May diminish the therapeutic effect of Anticholinergic Agents. Anticholinergic Agents may diminish the therapeutic effect of Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitors. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Aclidinium: May enhance the anticholinergic effect of Anticholinergic Agents. Risk X: Avoid combination

Ajmaline: May increase the serum concentration of CYP2D6 Substrates (High risk with Inhibitors). Risk C: Monitor therapy

Alcohol (Ethyl): CNS Depressants may enhance the CNS depressant effect of Alcohol (Ethyl). Risk C: Monitor therapy

Alizapride: May enhance the CNS depressant effect of CNS Depressants. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Alpha-/Beta-Agonists (Direct-Acting): Tricyclic Antidepressants may enhance the vasopressor effect of Alpha-/Beta-Agonists (Direct-Acting). Management: Avoid, if possible, the use of direct-acting alpha-/beta-agonists in patients receiving tricyclic antidepressants. If combined, monitor for evidence of increased pressor effects and consider reductions in initial dosages of the alpha-/beta-agonist. Risk D: Consider therapy modification

Alpha1-Agonists: Tricyclic Antidepressants may diminish the therapeutic effect of Alpha1-Agonists. Specifically, Tricyclic Antidepressants may diminish the vasopressor effect of Alpha1-Agonists. Tricyclic Antidepressants may enhance the therapeutic effect of Alpha1-Agonists. Specifically, Tricyclic Antidepressants may enhance the vasopressor effect of Alpha1-Agonists. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Alpha2-Agonists: Tricyclic Antidepressants may diminish the antihypertensive effect of Alpha2-Agonists. Management: Consider avoiding this combination. If used, monitor for decreased effects of the alpha2-agonist. Exercise great caution if discontinuing an alpha2-agonist in a patient receiving a TCA. Exceptions: Apraclonidine; Brimonidine (Ophthalmic); Lofexidine. Risk D: Consider therapy modification

Alpha2-Agonists (Ophthalmic): Tricyclic Antidepressants may diminish the therapeutic effect of Alpha2-Agonists (Ophthalmic). Risk C: Monitor therapy

Altretamine: May enhance the orthostatic hypotensive effect of Tricyclic Antidepressants. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Amantadine: May enhance the anticholinergic effect of Anticholinergic Agents. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Amezinium: May enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Tricyclic Antidepressants. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Amifampridine: Agents With Seizure Threshold Lowering Potential may enhance the neuroexcitatory and/or seizure-potentiating effect of Amifampridine. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Amphetamines: Tricyclic Antidepressants may enhance the stimulatory effect of Amphetamines. Tricyclic Antidepressants may also potentiate the cardiovascular effects of Amphetamines. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Anticholinergic Agents: May enhance the adverse/toxic effect of other Anticholinergic Agents. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Antiemetics (5HT3 Antagonists): May enhance the serotonergic effect of Serotonin Modulators. This could result in serotonin syndrome. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Antipsychotic Agents: Serotonin Modulators may enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Antipsychotic Agents. Specifically, serotonin modulators may enhance dopamine blockade, possibly increasing the risk for neuroleptic malignant syndrome. Antipsychotic Agents may enhance the serotonergic effect of Serotonin Modulators. This could result in serotonin syndrome. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Aspirin: Tricyclic Antidepressants (Tertiary Amine) may enhance the antiplatelet effect of Aspirin. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Asunaprevir: May increase the serum concentration of CYP2D6 Substrates (High risk with Inhibitors). Risk D: Consider therapy modification

Azelastine (Nasal): CNS Depressants may enhance the CNS depressant effect of Azelastine (Nasal). Risk X: Avoid combination

Barbiturates: May increase the metabolism of Tricyclic Antidepressants. Risk D: Consider therapy modification

Beta2-Agonists: Tricyclic Antidepressants may enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Beta2-Agonists. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Blonanserin: CNS Depressants may enhance the CNS depressant effect of Blonanserin. Risk D: Consider therapy modification

Botulinum Toxin-Containing Products: May enhance the anticholinergic effect of Anticholinergic Agents. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Brimonidine (Topical): May enhance the CNS depressant effect of CNS Depressants. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Bromopride: May enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Tricyclic Antidepressants. Risk X: Avoid combination

Bromperidol: May enhance the CNS depressant effect of CNS Depressants. Risk X: Avoid combination

Buprenorphine: CNS Depressants may enhance the CNS depressant effect of Buprenorphine. Management: Consider reduced doses of other CNS depressants, and avoiding such drugs in patients at high risk of buprenorphine overuse/self-injection. Initiate buprenorphine patches (Butrans brand) at 5 mcg/hr in adults when used with other CNS depressants.Risk D: Consider therapy modification

Cannabidiol: May enhance the CNS depressant effect of CNS Depressants. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Cannabis: May enhance the CNS depressant effect of CNS Depressants. Risk C: Monitor therapy

CarBAMazepine: May decrease the serum concentration of Tricyclic Antidepressants. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Chloral Betaine: May enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Anticholinergic Agents. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Chlormethiazole: May enhance the CNS depressant effect of CNS Depressants. Management: Monitor closely for evidence of excessive CNS depression. The chlormethiazole labeling states that an appropriately reduced dose should be used if such a combination must be used. Risk D: Consider therapy modification

Chlorphenesin Carbamate: May enhance the adverse/toxic effect of CNS Depressants. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Cimetidine: May decrease the metabolism of Tricyclic Antidepressants. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Cimetropium: Anticholinergic Agents may enhance the anticholinergic effect of Cimetropium. Risk X: Avoid combination

Cinacalcet: May increase the serum concentration of Tricyclic Antidepressants. Management: Seek alternatives when possible. If these combinations are used, monitor closely for increased effects/toxicity and/or elevated serum concentrations (when testing is available) of the tricyclic antidepressant. Risk D: Consider therapy modification

Cisapride: Amitriptyline may enhance the arrhythmogenic effect of Cisapride. Risk X: Avoid combination

Citalopram: Tricyclic Antidepressants may enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Citalopram. Tricyclic Antidepressants may increase the serum concentration of Citalopram. Citalopram may increase the serum concentration of Tricyclic Antidepressants. Management: Consider alternatives to this combination when possible. Monitor for adverse effects of tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), including serotonin syndrome and QT-interval prolongation, when a TCA is being used in combination with citalopram. Risk D: Consider therapy modification

CloBAZam: May increase the serum concentration of CYP2D6 Substrates (High risk with Inhibitors). Risk C: Monitor therapy

CNS Depressants: May enhance the adverse/toxic effect of other CNS Depressants. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Cobicistat: May increase the serum concentration of CYP2D6 Substrates (High risk with Inhibitors). Risk C: Monitor therapy

CYP2D6 Inhibitors (Moderate): May decrease the metabolism of CYP2D6 Substrates (High risk with Inhibitors). Risk C: Monitor therapy

CYP2D6 Inhibitors (Strong): May decrease the metabolism of CYP2D6 Substrates (High risk with Inhibitors). Risk D: Consider therapy modification

Dacomitinib: May increase the serum concentration of CYP2D6 Substrates (High risk with Inhibitors). Management: Avoid concurrent use of dacomitinib with CYP2D6 subtrates that have a narrow therapeutic index. Risk D: Consider therapy modification

Dapoxetine: May enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Serotonin Modulators. Risk X: Avoid combination

Darunavir: May increase the serum concentration of CYP2D6 Substrates (High risk with Inhibitors). Risk C: Monitor therapy

Desmopressin: Tricyclic Antidepressants may enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Desmopressin. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Dexmethylphenidate: May enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Tricyclic Antidepressants. Dexmethylphenidate may increase the serum concentration of Tricyclic Antidepressants. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Dimethindene (Topical): May enhance the CNS depressant effect of CNS Depressants. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Doxylamine: May enhance the CNS depressant effect of CNS Depressants. Management: The manufacturer of Diclegis (doxylamine/pyridoxine), intended for use in pregnancy, specifically states that use with other CNS depressants is not recommended. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Dronabinol: May enhance the CNS depressant effect of CNS Depressants. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Dronedarone: Tricyclic Antidepressants may enhance the arrhythmogenic effect of Dronedarone. Management: Drugs listed as exceptions to this monograph are discussed in further detail in separate drug interaction monographs. Risk X: Avoid combination

Droperidol: May enhance the CNS depressant effect of CNS Depressants. Management: Consider dose reductions of droperidol or of other CNS agents (eg, opioids, barbiturates) with concomitant use. Exceptions to this monograph are discussed in further detail in separate drug interaction monographs. Risk D: Consider therapy modification

DULoxetine: May enhance the serotonergic effect of Tricyclic Antidepressants. This could result in serotonin syndrome. DULoxetine may decrease the metabolism of Tricyclic Antidepressants. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Eluxadoline: Anticholinergic Agents may enhance the constipating effect of Eluxadoline. Risk X: Avoid combination

Escitalopram: Tricyclic Antidepressants may enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Escitalopram. Escitalopram may increase the serum concentration of Tricyclic Antidepressants. Management: Consider alternatives to this combination when possible. Monitor for adverse effects of tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), including serotonin syndrome and QT-interval prolongation, when a TCA is being used in combination with escitalopram. Risk D: Consider therapy modification

Esketamine: May enhance the CNS depressant effect of CNS Depressants. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Fluconazole: Amitriptyline may enhance the QTc-prolonging effect of Fluconazole. Fluconazole may increase the serum concentration of Amitriptyline. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Flunitrazepam: CNS Depressants may enhance the CNS depressant effect of Flunitrazepam. Risk D: Consider therapy modification

FLUoxetine: May enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Tricyclic Antidepressants. FLUoxetine may increase the serum concentration of Tricyclic Antidepressants. Management: Consider alternatives to this combination when possible. Monitor for adverse effects of tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), including serotonin syndrome and QT-interval prolongation, when a TCA is being used in combination with fluoxetine. Risk D: Consider therapy modification

FluvoxaMINE: May enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Tricyclic Antidepressants. FluvoxaMINE may increase the serum concentration of Tricyclic Antidepressants. Management: Consider alternatives to this combination when possible. Monitor for adverse effects of tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), including serotonin syndrome and QT-interval prolongation, when a TCA is being used in combination with fluvoxamine. Risk D: Consider therapy modification

Gastrointestinal Agents (Prokinetic): Anticholinergic Agents may diminish the therapeutic effect of Gastrointestinal Agents (Prokinetic). Risk C: Monitor therapy

Glucagon: Anticholinergic Agents may enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Glucagon. Specifically, the risk of gastrointestinal adverse effects may be increased. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Glycopyrrolate (Oral Inhalation): Anticholinergic Agents may enhance the anticholinergic effect of Glycopyrrolate (Oral Inhalation). Risk X: Avoid combination

Glycopyrronium (Topical): May enhance the anticholinergic effect of Anticholinergic Agents. Risk X: Avoid combination

Guanethidine: Tricyclic Antidepressants may diminish the therapeutic effect of Guanethidine. Risk C: Monitor therapy

HYDROcodone: CNS Depressants may enhance the CNS depressant effect of HYDROcodone. Management: Avoid concomitant use of hydrocodone and benzodiazepines or other CNS depressants when possible. These agents should only be combined if alternative treatment options are inadequate. If combined, limit the dosages and duration of each drug.Risk D: Consider therapy modification

HydrOXYzine: May enhance the CNS depressant effect of CNS Depressants. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Imatinib: May increase the serum concentration of CYP2D6 Substrates (High risk with Inhibitors). Risk C: Monitor therapy

Iobenguane Radiopharmaceutical Products: Tricyclic Antidepressants may diminish the therapeutic effect of Iobenguane Radiopharmaceutical Products. Management: Discontinue all drugs that may inhibit or interfere with catecholamine transport or uptake for at least 5 biological half-lives before iobenguane administration. Do not administer these drugs until at least 7 days after each iobenguane dose. Risk X: Avoid combination

Iohexol: Agents With Seizure Threshold Lowering Potential may enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Iohexol. Specifically, the risk for seizures may be increased. Management: Discontinue agents that may lower the seizure threshold 48 hours prior to intrathecal use of iohexol. Wait at least 24 hours after the procedure to resume such agents. In nonelective procedures, consider use of prophylactic anticonvulsants. Risk D: Consider therapy modification

Iomeprol: Agents With Seizure Threshold Lowering Potential may enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Iomeprol. Specifically, the risk for seizures may be increased. Management: Discontinue agents that may lower the seizure threshold 48 hours prior to intrathecal use of iomeprol. Wait at least 24 hours after the procedure to resume such agents. In nonelective procedures, consider use of prophylactic anticonvulsants. Risk D: Consider therapy modification

Iopamidol: Agents With Seizure Threshold Lowering Potential may enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Iopamidol. Specifically, the risk for seizures may be increased. Management: Discontinue agents that may lower the seizure threshold 48 hours prior to intrathecal use of iopamidol. Wait at least 24 hours after the procedure to resume such agents. In nonelective procedures, consider use of prophylactic anticonvulsants. Risk D: Consider therapy modification

Ipratropium (Oral Inhalation): May enhance the anticholinergic effect of Anticholinergic Agents. Risk X: Avoid combination

Itopride: Anticholinergic Agents may diminish the therapeutic effect of Itopride. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Kava Kava: May enhance the adverse/toxic effect of CNS Depressants. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Levosulpiride: Anticholinergic Agents may diminish the therapeutic effect of Levosulpiride. Risk X: Avoid combination

Linezolid: May enhance the serotonergic effect of Tricyclic Antidepressants. This could result in serotonin syndrome. Management: Consider alternatives to this combination whenever possible. If clinically acceptable, wait at least 2 weeks after tricyclic antidepressants (TCA) discontinuation to initiate linezolid. Risk D: Consider therapy modification

Linezolid: May enhance the serotonergic effect of Serotonin Modulators. This could result in serotonin syndrome. Management: Due to a risk of serotonin syndrome/serotonin toxicity, discontinue serotonin modulators 2 weeks prior to the administration of linezolid. If urgent initiation of linezolid is needed, discontinue serotonin modulators immediately and monitor closely. Risk D: Consider therapy modification

Lithium: May enhance the neurotoxic effect of Tricyclic Antidepressants. Management: This combination should be undertaken with great caution. When combined treatment is clinically indicated, monitor closely for signs of serotonin toxicity/serotonin syndrome. Risk D: Consider therapy modification

Lofexidine: Tricyclic Antidepressants may diminish the therapeutic effect of Lofexidine. Management: Consider avoiding this combination. If used, monitor for decreased effects of the alpha2-agonist. Exercise great caution if discontinuing an alpha2-agonist in a patient receiving a TCA. Risk D: Consider therapy modification

Lumefantrine: May increase the serum concentration of CYP2D6 Substrates (High risk with Inhibitors). Risk C: Monitor therapy

Magnesium Sulfate: May enhance the CNS depressant effect of CNS Depressants. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Metaxalone: May enhance the serotonergic effect of Serotonin Modulators. This could result in serotonin syndrome. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Methotrimeprazine: CNS Depressants may enhance the CNS depressant effect of Methotrimeprazine. Methotrimeprazine may enhance the CNS depressant effect of CNS Depressants. Management: Reduce adult dose of CNS depressant agents by 50% with initiation of concomitant methotrimeprazine therapy. Further CNS depressant dosage adjustments should be initiated only after clinically effective methotrimeprazine dose is established. Risk D: Consider therapy modification

Methylene Blue: Tricyclic Antidepressants may enhance the serotonergic effect of Methylene Blue. This could result in serotonin syndrome. Risk X: Avoid combination

Methylene Blue: May enhance the serotonergic effect of Serotonin Modulators. This could result in serotonin syndrome. Risk X: Avoid combination

Methylphenidate: May enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Tricyclic Antidepressants. Methylphenidate may increase the serum concentration of Tricyclic Antidepressants. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Methylphenidate: May enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Serotonin Modulators. Specifically, the risk of serotonin syndrome or serotonin toxicity may be increased. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Metoclopramide: May enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Tricyclic Antidepressants. Management: Seek alternatives to this combination when possible. Monitor patients receiving metoclopramide with tricyclic antidepressants for signs of extrapyramidal symptoms, neuroleptic malignant syndrome, and serotonin syndrome. Risk D: Consider therapy modification

MetyroSINE: CNS Depressants may enhance the sedative effect of MetyroSINE. Risk C: Monitor therapy

MetyroSINE: May enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Tricyclic Antidepressants. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Mianserin: May enhance the anticholinergic effect of Anticholinergic Agents. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Minocycline: May enhance the CNS depressant effect of CNS Depressants. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Mirabegron: Anticholinergic Agents may enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Mirabegron. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Mirtazapine: CNS Depressants may enhance the CNS depressant effect of Mirtazapine. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors: May enhance the serotonergic effect of Tricyclic Antidepressants. This may cause serotonin syndrome. While methylene blue and linezolid are expected to interact via this mechanism, management recommendations differ from other monoamine oxidase inhibitors. Refer to monographs specific to those agents for details.Exceptions: Linezolid; Methylene Blue; Tedizolid. Risk X: Avoid combination

Nabilone: May enhance the CNS depressant effect of CNS Depressants. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Nicorandil: Tricyclic Antidepressants may enhance the hypotensive effect of Nicorandil. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Nitroglycerin: Anticholinergic Agents may decrease the absorption of Nitroglycerin. Specifically, anticholinergic agents may decrease the dissolution of sublingual nitroglycerin tablets, possibly impairing or slowing nitroglycerin absorption. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Agents (COX-2 Selective): Tricyclic Antidepressants (Tertiary Amine) may enhance the antiplatelet effect of Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Agents (COX-2 Selective). Risk C: Monitor therapy

Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Agents (Nonselective): Tricyclic Antidepressants (Tertiary Amine) may enhance the antiplatelet effect of Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Agents (Nonselective). Risk C: Monitor therapy

Opioid Agonists: CNS Depressants may enhance the CNS depressant effect of Opioid Agonists. Management: Avoid concomitant use of opioid agonists and benzodiazepines or other CNS depressants when possible. These agents should only be combined if alternative treatment options are inadequate. If combined, limit the dosages and duration of each drug.Risk D: Consider therapy modification

Orphenadrine: CNS Depressants may enhance the CNS depressant effect of Orphenadrine. Risk X: Avoid combination

Oxatomide: May enhance the anticholinergic effect of Anticholinergic Agents. Risk X: Avoid combination

Oxomemazine: May enhance the CNS depressant effect of CNS Depressants. Risk X: Avoid combination

OxyCODONE: CNS Depressants may enhance the CNS depressant effect of OxyCODONE. Management: Avoid concomitant use of oxycodone and benzodiazepines or other CNS depressants when possible. These agents should only be combined if alternative treatment options are inadequate. If combined, limit the dosages and duration of each drug. Risk D: Consider therapy modification

Panobinostat: May increase the serum concentration of CYP2D6 Substrates (High risk with Inhibitors). Risk C: Monitor therapy

Paraldehyde: CNS Depressants may enhance the CNS depressant effect of Paraldehyde. Risk X: Avoid combination

PARoxetine: May enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Tricyclic Antidepressants. PARoxetine may increase the serum concentration of Tricyclic Antidepressants. Management: Consider alternatives to this combination when possible. Monitor for adverse effects of tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), including serotonin syndrome and QT-interval prolongation, when a TCA is being used in combination with paroxetine. Risk D: Consider therapy modification

Peginterferon Alfa-2b: May decrease the serum concentration of CYP2D6 Substrates (High risk with Inhibitors). Peginterferon Alfa-2b may increase the serum concentration of CYP2D6 Substrates (High risk with Inhibitors). Risk C: Monitor therapy

Perampanel: May enhance the CNS depressant effect of CNS Depressants. Management: Patients taking perampanel with any other drug that has CNS depressant activities should avoid complex and high-risk activities, particularly those such as driving that require alertness and coordination, until they have experience using the combination. Risk D: Consider therapy modification

Perhexiline: CYP2D6 Substrates (High risk with Inhibitors) may increase the serum concentration of Perhexiline. Perhexiline may increase the serum concentration of CYP2D6 Substrates (High risk with Inhibitors). Risk C: Monitor therapy

Piribedil: CNS Depressants may enhance the CNS depressant effect of Piribedil. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Pitolisant: Tricyclic Antidepressants may diminish the therapeutic effect of Pitolisant. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Potassium Chloride: Anticholinergic Agents may enhance the ulcerogenic effect of Potassium Chloride. Management: Patients on drugs with substantial anticholinergic effects should avoid using any solid oral dosage form of potassium chloride. Risk X: Avoid combination

Potassium Citrate: Anticholinergic Agents may enhance the ulcerogenic effect of Potassium Citrate. Risk X: Avoid combination

Pramipexole: CNS Depressants may enhance the sedative effect of Pramipexole. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Pramlintide: May enhance the anticholinergic effect of Anticholinergic Agents. These effects are specific to the GI tract. Risk D: Consider therapy modification

Protease Inhibitors: May increase the serum concentration of Tricyclic Antidepressants. Risk C: Monitor therapy

QuiNIDine: Tricyclic Antidepressants may enhance the QTc-prolonging effect of QuiNIDine. QuiNIDine may increase the serum concentration of Tricyclic Antidepressants. Management: Drugs listed as exceptions to this monograph are discussed in further detail in separate drug interaction monographs. Risk D: Consider therapy modification

QuiNINE: May increase the serum concentration of CYP2D6 Substrates (High risk with Inhibitors). Risk C: Monitor therapy

Ramosetron: Anticholinergic Agents may enhance the constipating effect of Ramosetron. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Revefenacin: Anticholinergic Agents may enhance the anticholinergic effect of Revefenacin. Risk X: Avoid combination

ROPINIRole: CNS Depressants may enhance the sedative effect of ROPINIRole. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Rotigotine: CNS Depressants may enhance the sedative effect of Rotigotine. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Rufinamide: May enhance the adverse/toxic effect of CNS Depressants. Specifically, sleepiness and dizziness may be enhanced. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Secretin: Anticholinergic Agents may diminish the therapeutic effect of Secretin. Management: Avoid concomitant use of anticholinergic agents and secretin. Discontinue anticholinergic agents at least 5 half-lives prior to administration of secretin. Risk D: Consider therapy modification

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors: CNS Depressants may enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors. Specifically, the risk of psychomotor impairment may be enhanced. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Serotonin Modulators: May enhance the adverse/toxic effect of other Serotonin Modulators. The development of serotonin syndrome may occur. Exceptions: Nicergoline; Tedizolid.Risk C: Monitor therapy

Sertraline: May enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Tricyclic Antidepressants. Sertraline may increase the serum concentration of Tricyclic Antidepressants. Management: Consider alternatives to this combination when possible. Monitor for adverse effects of tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), including serotonin syndrome and QT-interval prolongation, when a TCA is being used in combination with sertraline. Risk D: Consider therapy modification

Sodium Oxybate: May enhance the CNS depressant effect of CNS Depressants. Management: Consider alternatives to combined use. When combined use is needed, consider minimizing doses of one or more drugs. Use of sodium oxybate with alcohol or sedative hypnotics is contraindicated. Risk D: Consider therapy modification

Sodium Phosphates: Tricyclic Antidepressants may enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Sodium Phosphates. Specifically, the risk of seizure and/or loss of consciousness may be increased in patients with significant sodium phosphate induced fluid/electrolyte abnormalities. Risk C: Monitor therapy

St John’s Wort: May increase the metabolism of Tricyclic Antidepressants. The risk of serotonin syndrome may theoretically be increased. Risk D: Consider therapy modification

Sulfonylureas: Cyclic Antidepressants may enhance the hypoglycemic effect of Sulfonylureas. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Suvorexant: CNS Depressants may enhance the CNS depressant effect of Suvorexant. Management: Dose reduction of suvorexant and/or any other CNS depressant may be necessary. Use of suvorexant with alcohol is not recommended, and the use of suvorexant with any other drug to treat insomnia is not recommended. Risk D: Consider therapy modification

Tapentadol: May enhance the CNS depressant effect of CNS Depressants. Management: Avoid concomitant use of tapentadol and benzodiazepines or other CNS depressants when possible. These agents should only be combined if alternative treatment options are inadequate. If combined, limit the dosages and duration of each drug. Risk D: Consider therapy modification

Tedizolid: May enhance the serotonergic effect of Serotonin Modulators. This could result in serotonin syndrome. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Terbinafine (Systemic): May increase the serum concentration of Amitriptyline. Management: Monitor for increased effects/toxicity of amitriptyline during concomitant administration with terbinafine. Reduced dosages of amitriptyline may be needed. Risk D: Consider therapy modification

Tetrahydrocannabinol: May enhance the CNS depressant effect of CNS Depressants. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Tetrahydrocannabinol and Cannabidiol: May enhance the CNS depressant effect of CNS Depressants. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Thalidomide: CNS Depressants may enhance the CNS depressant effect of Thalidomide. Risk X: Avoid combination

Thiazide and Thiazide-Like Diuretics: Anticholinergic Agents may increase the serum concentration of Thiazide and Thiazide-Like Diuretics. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Thyroid Products: May enhance the arrhythmogenic effect of Tricyclic Antidepressants. Thyroid Products may enhance the stimulatory effect of Tricyclic Antidepressants. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Tiotropium: Anticholinergic Agents may enhance the anticholinergic effect of Tiotropium. Risk X: Avoid combination

Topiramate: May enhance the CNS depressant effect of Amitriptyline. Topiramate may increase serum concentrations of the active metabolite(s) of Amitriptyline. Topiramate may increase the serum concentration of Amitriptyline. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Trimeprazine: May enhance the CNS depressant effect of CNS Depressants. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Umeclidinium: May enhance the anticholinergic effect of Anticholinergic Agents. Risk X: Avoid combination

Valproate Products: May increase the serum concentration of Tricyclic Antidepressants. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Vitamin K Antagonists (eg, warfarin): Tricyclic Antidepressants may enhance the anticoagulant effect of Vitamin K Antagonists. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Yohimbine: Tricyclic Antidepressants may increase the serum concentration of Yohimbine. Risk C: Monitor therapy

Zolpidem: CNS Depressants may enhance the CNS depressant effect of Zolpidem. Management: Reduce the Intermezzo brand sublingual zolpidem adult dose to 1.75 mg for men who are also receiving other CNS depressants. No such dose change is recommended for women. Avoid use with other CNS depressants at bedtime; avoid use with alcohol. Risk D: Consider therapy modification

Monitoring Parameters

Serum sodium in at-risk populations (as clinically indicated); evaluate mental status, suicide ideation (especially at the beginning of therapy or when doses are increased or decreased); anxiety, social functioning, mania, panic attacks or other unusual changes in behavior; heart rate, blood pressure and ECG in older adults and patients with preexisting cardiac disease; electrolyte panel (to assess risk of conduction abnormalities); blood glucose; weight and BMI; blood levels are useful for therapeutic monitoring (APA 2010; De Picker 2014).

Reference Range

Timing of serum samples: Draw trough just before next dose (Hiemke 2018); with once daily bedtime dosing draw level 12 to 16 hours after dose (Ziegler 1977).

Therapeutic reference range: Amitriptyline plus nortriptyline 80 to 200 ng/mL (SI: 288 to 720 nmol/L)

Laboratory alert level: Amitriptyline plus nortriptyline levels >300 ng/mL (SI: 1,080 nmol/L) (Hiemke 2018)

Advanced Practitioners Physical Assessment/Monitoring

Obtain blood glucose, heart rate, blood pressure, weight, BMI, and ECG (older patients or patients with preexisting cardiac disease). Obtain therapeutic blood levels as clinically indicated. Assess other medicines patient may be taking; alternate therapy or dosage adjustments may be needed. Assess mental status and for suicidal ideation.

Nursing Physical Assessment/Monitoring

Check ordered labs/tests and report abnormalities. Check vital signs as ordered. Monitor for and educate patient to report signs of suicidal ideation or unusual changes in behavior during therapy.

Dosage Forms: US

Excipient information presented when available (limited, particularly for generics); consult specific product labeling. [DSC] = Discontinued product

Tablet, Oral, as hydrochloride:

Elavil: 25 mg [DSC] [contains fd&c blue #2 aluminum lake, fd&c yellow #10 aluminum lake]

Generic: 10 mg, 25 mg, 50 mg, 75 mg, 100 mg, 150 mg

Dosage Forms: Canada

Excipient information presented when available (limited, particularly for generics); consult specific product labeling.

Tablet, Oral, as hydrochloride:

Elavil: 10 mg, 25 mg, 50 mg, 75 mg

Levate: 10 mg, 25 mg, 50 mg, 75 mg

Generic: 10 mg, 25 mg, 50 mg, 75 mg, 100 mg

Anatomic Therapeutic Chemical (ATC) Classification
  • N06AA09
Generic Available (US)

Yes

Pricing: US

Tablets (Amitriptyline HCl Oral)

10 mg (per each): $0.18 – $0.32

25 mg (per each): $0.36 – $0.64

50 mg (per each): $0.71 – $1.27

75 mg (per each): $1.07 – $1.91

100 mg (per each): $1.43 – $2.54

150 mg (per each): $2.14 – $3.81

Disclaimer: A representative AWP (Average Wholesale Price) price or price range is provided as reference price only. A range is provided when more than one manufacturer’s AWP price is available and uses the low and high price reported by the manufacturers to determine the range. The pricing data should be used for benchmarking purposes only, and as such should not be used alone to set or adjudicate any prices for reimbursement or purchasing functions or considered to be an exact price for a single product and/or manufacturer. Medi-Span expressly disclaims all warranties of any kind or nature, whether express or implied, and assumes no liability with respect to accuracy of price or price range data published in its solutions. In no event shall Medi-Span be liable for special, indirect, incidental, or consequential damages arising from use of price or price range data. Pricing data is updated monthly.

Mechanism of Action

Increases the synaptic concentration of serotonin and/or norepinephrine in the central nervous system by inhibition of their reuptake by the presynaptic neuronal membrane pump.

Pharmacodynamics/Kinetics

Onset of action: Individual responses may vary; however, 4 to 8 weeks of treatment are needed before determining if a patient with depression is partially or non-responsive; similarly 8 to 12 weeks are required for an adequate migraine prophylaxis trial (APA 2010; Pringsheim 2012); desired therapeutic effect (for analgesia) may take as long as 1 to 3 weeks.

Absorption: Rapid, well absorbed

Distribution: Vd: ~18 to 22 L/kg (Schulz 1985)

Protein binding: >90%

Metabolism: Rapid; hepatic N to demethylation to nortriptyline (active), hydroxy derivatives and conjugated derivatives

Bioavailability: ~43% to 46% (Schulz 1985)

Half-life elimination: ~13 to 36 hours (Schulz 1985)

Time to peak, serum: ~2 to 5 hours (Schulz 1985)

Excretion: Urine (glucuronide or sulfate conjugate metabolites; 18% as unchanged drug); Feces (small amounts)

Special Populations: Elderly: May have increased plasma levels (Schulz 1985)

Pharmacodynamics/Kinetics: Additional Considerations

Geriatric: May have increased plasma levels and prolonged half-life (Schulz 1985)

Dental Use

Management of chronic neuropathic pain in temporomandibular dysfunction (TMD)

Local Anesthetic/Vasoconstrictor Precautions

Amitriptyline is one of the drugs confirmed to prolong the QT interval and is accepted as having a risk of causing torsade de pointes. In terms of epinephrine, it is not known what effect vasoconstrictors in the local anesthetic regimen will have in patients with a known history of congenital prolonged QT interval or in patients taking any medication that prolongs the QT interval. Until more information is obtained, it is suggested that the clinician consult with the physician prior to the use of a vasoconstrictor in suspected patients, and that the vasoconstrictor (epinephrine, mepivacaine and levonordefrin [Carbocaine® 2% with Neo-Cobefrin®]) be used with caution.

Dental Health Professional Considerations

See Local Anesthetic/Vasoconstrictor Precautions

Effects on Dental Treatment

Key adverse event(s) related to dental treatment: Xerostomia and changes in salivation (normal salivary flow resumes upon discontinuation), stomatitis, peculiar taste, and black tongue. Patients may experience orthostatic hypotension as they stand up after treatment; especially if lying in dental chair for extended periods of time. Use caution with sudden changes in position during and after dental treatment. Amitriptyline is the most anticholinergic and sedating of the antidepressants; has pronounced effects on the cardiovascular system. Long-term treatment with TCAs such as amitriptyline increases the risk of caries by reducing salivation and salivary buffer capacity. In a study by Rundergren, et al, pathological alterations were observed in the oral mucosa of 72% of 58 patients; 55% had new carious lesions after taking TCAs for a median of 51/2 years. Current research is investigating the use of the salivary stimulant pilocarpine (Salagen®) to overcome the xerostomia from amitriptyline.

Effects on Bleeding

May cause thrombocytopenia

Dental Usual Dosing

Chronic neuropathic pain in temporomandibular dysfunction (TMD) (off-label use): Adults: Oral: Initial: 25 mg at bedtime; may increase as tolerated to 100 mg/day

Index Terms

Amitriptyline Hydrochloride; Elavil

FDA Approval Date
May 20, 1983
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Page RL 2nd, O’Bryant CL, Cheng D, et al; American Heart Association Clinical Pharmacology and Heart Failure and Transplantation Committees of the Council on Clinical Cardiology; Council on Cardiovascular Surgery and Anesthesia; Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing; and Council on Quality of Care and Outcomes Research. Drugs That May Cause or Exacerbate Heart Failure: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association [published correction appears in Circulation. 2016;134(12):e261]. Circulation. 2016;134(6):e32-e69.[PubMed 27400984]

Pass SE, Simpson RW. Discontinuation and reinstitution of medications during the perioperative period. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2004;61(9):899-912.[PubMed 15156966]

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Pilowsky I, Hallett EC, Bassett DL, Thomas PG, Penhall RK. A controlled study of amitriptyline in the treatment of chronic pain. Pain. 1982;14(2):169-179.[PubMed 6757842]

Pop-Busui R, Boulton AJ, Feldman EL, et al. Diabetic neuropathy: a position statement by the American Diabetes Association. Diabetes Care. 2017;40(1):136-154. doi: 10.2337/dc16-2042.[PubMed 27999003]

Praharaj SK, Arora M. Amitriptyline for clozapine-induced nocturnal enuresis and sialorrhoea. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2007;63(1):128-129.[PubMed 16939528]

Pringsheim T, Davenport W, Mackie G, et al. Canadian Headache Society guideline for migraine Prophylaxis. Can J Neurol Sci, 2012, 39(2 Suppl 2):S1-59.[PubMed 22683887]

Rabenda V, Nicolet D, Beaudart C, et al. Relationship between use of antidepressants and risk of fractures: a meta-analysis. Osteoporos Int. 2013;24(1):121-137.[PubMed 22638709]

Rajagopalan M, Kurian G, John J. Symptom relief with amitriptyline in the irritable bowel syndrome. J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 1998;13(7):738-741.[PubMed 9715427]

Rizzoli R, Cooper C, Reginster JY, et al. Antidepressant medications and osteoporosis. Bone. 2012;51(3):606-613.[PubMed 22659406]

Rowbotham MC, Reisner LA, Davies PS, Fields HL. Treatment response in antidepressant-naïve postherpetic neuralgia patients: double-blind, randomized trial. J Pain. 2005;6(11):741-746.[PubMed 16275598]

Scharf MB, Hirschowitz J, Zemlan FP, Lichstein M, Woods M. Comparative effects of limbitrol and amitriptyline on sleep efficiency and architecture. J Clin Psychiatry. 1986;47(12):587-591.[PubMed 3536890]

Schulz P, Dick P, Blaschke TF, Hollister L. Discrepancies between pharmacokinetic studies of amitriptyline. Clin Pharmacokinet. 1985;10(3):257-268.[PubMed 6825390]

Shelton, RC. Steps following attainment of remission: discontinuation of antidepressant therapy. Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry. 2001;3(4):168-174.[PubMed 15014601]

Silberstein SD, Holland S, Freitag F, Dodick DW, Argoff C, Ashman E; Quality Standards Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology and the American Headache Society. Evidence-based guideline update: pharmacologic treatment for episodic migraine prevention in adults: report of the Quality Standard Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology and the American Headache Society [published correction appears in Neurology. 2013;80(9):871]. Neurology. 2012;78(17):1337-1345.[PubMed 22529202]

Sinha S, Simlai J, Praharaj SK. Very low dose amitriptyline for clozapine-associated sialorrhea. Curr Drug Saf. 2016;11(3):262-263.[PubMed 27113954]

Squires N, Wills A, Rowson J. The management of drooling in adults with neurological conditions. Curr Opin Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2012;20(3):171-176. doi: 10.1097/MOO.0b013e32835328ec.[PubMed 22487791]

Sriraman NK, Melvin K, Meltzer-Brody S. ABM Clinical Protocol #18: use of antidepressants in breastfeeding mothers. Breastfeed Med. 2015;10(6):290-299.[PubMed 26204124]

Stevens DL. Association between selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors, second-generation antipsychotics, and neuroleptic malignant syndrome. Ann Pharmacother, 2008;42(9):1290-1297.[PubMed 18628446]

Talley NJ, Locke GR, Saito YA, et al. Effect of amitriptyline and escitalopram on functional dyspepsia: a multicenter, randomized controlled study. Gastroenterology. 2015;149(2):340-349.e2[PubMed 25921377]

Talley NJ, Vakil NB, Moayyedi P. American Gastroenterological Association technical review on the evaluation of dyspepsia. Gastroenterology. 2005;129(5):1756-1780.[PubMed 16285971]

Taylor FR. Tension-type headache in adults: Preventive treatment. Post TW, ed. UpToDate. Waltham, MA: UpToDate Inc. http://www.uptodate.com. Accessed July 16, 2018.

Uguz F. Poor feeding and severe sedation in a newborn nursed by a mother on a low dose of amitriptyline. Breastfeed Med. 2017;12:67-68.[PubMed 27870551]

US Department of Veterans Affairs/Department of Defense (VA/DoD). VA/DoD clinical practice guideline for the management of major depressive disorder. https://www.healthquality.va.gov/guidelines/MH/mdd/VADoDMDDCPGFINAL82916.pdf. Updated April 2016. Accessed September 9, 2018.

Vahedi H, Merat S, Momtahen S, et al. Clinical trial: the effect of amitriptyline in patients with diarrhoea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2008;27(8):678-684.[PubMed 18248658]

van Ophoven A, Pokupic S, Heinecke A, Hertle L. A prospective, randomized, placebo controlled, double-blind study of amitriptyline for the treatment of interstitial cystitis. J Urol. 2004;172(2):533-536. doi: 10.1097/01.ju.0000132388.54703.4d.[PubMed 15247722]

Vrethem M, Boivie J, Arnqvist H, Holmgren H, Lindström T, Thorell LH. A comparison of amitriptyline and maprotiline in the treatment of painful polyneuropathy in diabetics and nondiabetics. Clin J Pain. 1997;13(4):313-323.[PubMed 9430812]

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Watson CP, Chipman M, Reed K, Evans RJ, Birkett N. Amitriptyline versus maprotiline in postherpetic neuralgia: a randomized, double-blind, crossover trial. Pain. 1992;48(1):29-36.[PubMed 1738571]

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Yonkers KA, Wisner KL, Stewart DE, et a. The Management of Depression During Pregnancy: A Report From the American Psychiatric Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Obstet Gynecol. 2009;114(3):703-713.[PubMed 19701065]

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Brand Names: International

Adepril (IT); Adt (PT); Amicon (LK); Amilab (LK); Amilit (IT); Amineurin (DE); Amiprin (JP); Amiptril (AR); Amiram (JO); Amirol (MT); Amirol 25 (ZW); Amitrin-25 (ET); Amitrip (NZ); Amitriptylinum (PL); Amitryl (BD); Amytril (BR); Amyzol (HR); Anapsique (MX); Antalin (CL); Deprelio (ES); Domical (GB); Elatrol (IL); Elatrolet (IL); Elavil (FR); Enafon (KR); Endep (AU, HK); Entrip (AU); Etravil (KR); Fortyline (EG); Granityllin (EG); Lantron (JP); Laroxyl (BF, BJ, CI, ET, FR, GH, GM, GN, IT, KE, LR, MA, ML, MR, MU, MW, NE, NG, SC, SD, SL, SN, TN, TZ, UG, VN, ZM, ZW); Miketorin (JP); Modup (TW); Neurotol (PY); Noriline (ZA); Pinsaun (TW); Polytanol (TH); Protanol (BR); Psiquium (CO); Qualitriptine (HK); Redomex (BE); Reptylin (BD); Sarotard (KR); Saroten (AT, BF, BJ, CI, CY, DE, DK, EE, ET, GH, GM, GN, GR, IR, JO, KE, LR, MA, ML, MR, MU, MW, NE, NG, PT, QA, RU, SA, SC, SD, SE, SL, SN, TN, TR, TZ, UA, UG, ZA, ZM, ZW); Saroten Retard (CH, MY); Sarotena (IN); Sarotex (NO, UY); Sarotex Retard (NO); Seronil (BD); Syneudon (DE); Teperin (HU, IQ, JO); Teperinep (HU); Trepiline (ZA); Tridep (BG); Tridep-25 (ZW); Trilin (ID); Trip (BD); Tripgen (PH); Tripta (MY, SG, TH); Triptanol (MX); Triptil (PY); Triptizol (IT); Triptyl (FI); Trynol (TW); Tryptal (ZW); Tryptanol (AR, BR, EC, JP, LK, PE); Tryptizol (AE, AT, BH, CH, EG, ES, GB, JO, KW, LB, PT, SE); Trytomer (IN); Uxen (AR); Zinotroval (EG)

Amitriptyline (Patient Education – Adult Medication)
You must carefully read the “Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer” below in order to understand and correctly use this information
Pronunciation

(a mee TRIP ti leen)

Brand Names: US

Elavil [DSC]

Brand Names: Canada

Elavil; Levate

Warning
  • Drugs like this one have raised the chance of suicidal thoughts or actions in children and young adults. The risk may be greater in people who have had these thoughts or actions in the past. All people who take this drug need to be watched closely. Call the doctor right away if signs like low mood (depression), nervousness, restlessness, grouchiness, panic attacks, or changes in mood or actions are new or worse. Call the doctor right away if any thoughts or actions of suicide occur.
  • This drug is not approved for use in children. Talk with the doctor.
What is this drug used for?
  • It is used to treat low mood (depression).
  • It may be given to you for other reasons. Talk with the doctor.
What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take this drug?
  • If you have an allergy to amitriptyline or any other part of this drug.
  • If you are allergic to any drugs like this one, any other drugs, foods, or other substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had, like rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
  • If you have had a recent heart attack.
  • If you have taken certain drugs used for low mood (depression) like isocarboxazid, phenelzine, or tranylcypromine or drugs used for Parkinson’s disease like selegiline or rasagiline in the last 14 days. Taking this drug within 14 days of those drugs can cause very bad high blood pressure.
  • If you are taking any of these drugs: Linezolid or methylene blue.
  • If you are taking cisapride.
  • If you are breast-feeding or plan to breast-feed.
  • This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with this drug.
  • Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take this drug with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.
What are some things I need to know or do while I take this drug?
  • Tell all of your health care providers that you take this drug. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists. This drug may need to be stopped before certain types of surgery as your doctor has told you. If this drug is stopped, your doctor will tell you when to start taking this drug again after your surgery or procedure.
  • Avoid driving and doing other tasks or actions that call for you to be alert until you see how this drug affects you.
  • To lower the chance of feeling dizzy or passing out, rise slowly if you have been sitting or lying down. Be careful going up and down stairs.
  • Do not stop taking this drug all of a sudden without calling your doctor. You may have a greater risk of signs of withdrawal. If you need to stop this drug, you will want to slowly stop it as ordered by your doctor.
  • If you have high blood sugar (diabetes), you will need to watch your blood sugar closely.
  • Tell your doctor if you have signs of high or low blood sugar like breath that smells like fruit, dizziness, fast breathing, fast heartbeat, feeling confused, feeling sleepy, feeling weak, flushing, headache, more thirsty or hungry, passing urine more often, shaking, or sweating.
  • Talk with your doctor before you drink alcohol or use other drugs and natural products that slow your actions.
  • Some people may have a higher chance of eye problems with this drug. Your doctor may want you to have an eye exam to see if you have a higher chance of these eye problems. Call your doctor right away if you have eye pain, change in eyesight, or swelling or redness in or around the eye.
  • This drug may make you sunburn more easily. Use care if you will be in the sun. Tell your doctor if you sunburn easily while taking this drug.
  • Be careful in hot weather or while being active. Drink lots of fluids to stop fluid loss.
  • Some people who take this drug may get a very bad muscle problem called tardive dyskinesia. This muscle problem may not go away even if this drug is stopped. Sometimes, signs may lessen or go away over time after this drug is stopped. The risk of tardive dyskinesia may be greater in people with diabetes and in older adults, especially older women. The risk is also greater the longer you take this drug or with higher doses. Muscle problems may also occur after short-term use with low doses. Call your doctor right away if you have trouble controlling body movements or if you have muscle problems with your tongue, face, mouth, or jaw like tongue sticking out, puffing cheeks, mouth puckering, or chewing.
  • If you are 65 or older, use this drug with care. You could have more side effects.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant. You will need to talk about the benefits and risks of using this drug while you are pregnant.
What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?
  • WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Signs of high or low blood pressure like very bad headache or dizziness, passing out, or change in eyesight.
  • Weakness on 1 side of the body, trouble speaking or thinking, change in balance, drooping on one side of the face, or blurred eyesight.
  • Chest pain or pressure or a fast heartbeat.
  • A heartbeat that does not feel normal.
  • Feeling confused.
  • Not able to focus.
  • Trouble passing urine.
  • Change in how often urine is passed.
  • Feeling very tired or weak.
  • Any unexplained bruising or bleeding.
  • Swelling.
  • Shakiness.
  • Seizures.
  • Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not there).
  • A burning, numbness, or tingling feeling that is not normal.
  • Change in sex interest.
  • Not able to get or keep an erection.
  • Swelling of the testicles.
  • Enlarged breasts.
  • Nipple discharge.
  • Fever or chills.
  • Sore throat.
  • Very bad belly pain.
  • Very bad constipation.
  • Not sweating during activities or in warm temperatures.
  • Not able to sleep.
  • Bad dreams.
  • Ringing in ears.
  • Change in tongue color.
  • Sweating a lot.
What are some other side effects of this drug?
  • All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
  • Constipation.
  • Dizziness.
  • Feeling sleepy.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Feeling tired or weak.
  • Headache.
  • Upset stomach or throwing up.
  • Not hungry.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Anxiety.
  • Feeling nervous and excitable.
  • Change in taste.
  • Weight gain or loss.
  • These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
  • You may report side effects to your national health agency.
How is this drug best taken?
  • Use this drug as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
  • Take at bedtime if taking once a day.
  • To gain the most benefit, do not miss doses.
  • Keep taking this drug as you have been told by your doctor or other health care provider, even if you feel well.
What do I do if I miss a dose?
  • Take a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
  • If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
  • Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.
How do I store and/or throw out this drug?
  • Store at room temperature.
  • Protect from light.
  • Store in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.
  • Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.
General drug facts
  • If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
  • Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else’s drugs.
  • Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
  • Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including prescription or OTC, natural products, or vitamins.
  • Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. If you have any questions about this drug, please talk with your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
Amitriptyline (Patient Education – Pediatric Medication)
You must carefully read the “Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer” below in order to understand and correctly use this information
Pronunciation

(a mee TRIP ti leen)

Brand Names: US

Elavil [DSC]

Brand Names: Canada

Elavil; Levate

Warning
  • Drugs like this one have raised the chance of suicidal thoughts or actions in children and young adults. The risk may be greater in people who have had these thoughts or actions in the past. All people who take this drug need to be watched closely. Call the doctor right away if signs like low mood (depression), nervousness, restlessness, grouchiness, panic attacks, or changes in mood or actions are new or worse. Call the doctor right away if any thoughts or actions of suicide occur.
  • This drug is not approved for use in children. Talk with the doctor.
What is this drug used for?
  • It is used to treat low mood (depression).
  • It may be given to your child for other reasons. Talk with the doctor.
What do I need to tell the doctor BEFORE my child takes this drug?
  • If your child has an allergy to this drug or any part of this drug.
  • If your child is allergic to any drugs like this one or any other drugs, foods, or other substances. Tell the doctor about the allergy and what signs your child had, like rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
  • If your child has had a recent heart attack.
  • If your child has taken certain drugs used for low mood (depression) like isocarboxazid, phenelzine, or tranylcypromine or drugs used for certain other health problems in the last 14 days. Taking this drug within 14 days of those drugs can cause very bad high blood pressure.
  • If your child is taking any of these drugs: Linezolid or methylene blue.
  • If your child is taking cisapride.
  • If your child is breast-feeding a baby:
  • Talk with the doctor if your child is breast-feeding a baby or plans to breast-feed a baby.
  • This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with this drug.
  • Tell the doctor and pharmacist about all of your child’s drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for your child to take this drug with all of his/her drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug your child takes without checking with the doctor.
What are some things I need to know or do while my child takes this drug?
  • Tell all of your child’s health care providers that your child is taking this drug. This includes your child’s doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists. This drug may need to be stopped before certain types of surgery as the doctor has told you. If this drug is stopped, the doctor will tell you when to start giving this drug again after your child’s surgery or procedure.
  • Have your child avoid tasks or actions that call for alertness until you see how this drug affects your child. These are things like riding a bike, playing sports, or using items such as scissors, lawnmowers, electric scooters, toy cars, or motorized vehicles.
  • To lower the chance of feeling dizzy or passing out, have your child rise slowly if your child has been sitting or lying down. Have your child be careful going up and down stairs.
  • Do not stop giving this drug to your child all of a sudden without calling the doctor. Your child may have a greater risk of signs of withdrawal. If your child needs to stop this drug, you will want to slowly stop it as ordered by the doctor.
  • If your child has high blood sugar (diabetes), you will need to watch his/her blood sugar closely.
  • Tell your child’s doctor if your child has signs of high or low blood sugar like breath that smells like fruit, dizziness, fast breathing, fast heartbeat, feeling confused, feeling sleepy, feeling weak, flushing, headache, more thirsty or hungry, passing urine more often, shaking, or sweating.
  • Alcohol may interact with this drug. Be sure your child does not drink alcohol.
  • Talk with the doctor before giving your child other drugs and natural products that may slow your child’s actions.
  • Some people may have a higher chance of eye problems with this drug. The doctor may want your child to have an eye exam to see if your child has a higher chance of these eye problems. Call the doctor right away if your child has eye pain, change in eyesight, or swelling or redness in or around the eye.
  • This drug may make your child sunburn more easily. Use care if your child will be in the sun. Tell your child’s doctor if your child sunburns easily while taking this drug.
  • Have your child be careful in hot weather or while your child is being active. Have your child drink lots of fluids to stop fluid loss.
  • If your child is pregnant:
  • Tell the doctor if your child is pregnant or becomes pregnant. You will need to talk about the benefits and risks of your child using this drug while pregnant.
What are some side effects that I need to call my child’s doctor about right away?
  • WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your child’s doctor or get medical help right away if your child has any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Signs of high or low blood pressure like very bad headache or dizziness, passing out, or change in eyesight.
  • Weakness on 1 side of the body, trouble speaking or thinking, change in balance, drooping on one side of the face, or blurred eyesight.
  • Chest pain or pressure or a fast heartbeat.
  • A heartbeat that does not feel normal.
  • Feeling confused.
  • Not able to focus.
  • Trouble passing urine.
  • Change in how often urine is passed.
  • Feeling very tired or weak.
  • Any unexplained bruising or bleeding.
  • Swelling.
  • Shakiness.
  • Seizures.
  • Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not there).
  • A burning, numbness, or tingling feeling that is not normal.
  • Swelling of the testicles.
  • Enlarged breasts.
  • Nipple discharge.
  • Fever or chills.
  • Sore throat.
  • Very bad belly pain.
  • Very bad constipation.
  • Not sweating during activities or in warm temperatures.
  • Not able to sleep.
  • Bad dreams.
  • Ringing in ears.
  • Change in tongue color.
  • Sweating a lot.
  • Some people who take this drug may get a very bad muscle problem called tardive dyskinesia. This muscle problem may not go away even if this drug is stopped. Sometimes, signs may lessen or go away over time after this drug is stopped. The risk of tardive dyskinesia may be greater in people with diabetes and in older adults, especially older women. The risk is also greater the longer your child takes this drug or with higher doses. Muscle problems may also occur after short-term use with low doses. Call your child’s doctor right away if your child has trouble controlling body movements or if your child has muscle problems with his/her tongue, face, mouth, or jaw like tongue sticking out, puffing cheeks, mouth puckering, or chewing.
  • If your child is or may be sexually active:
  • Not able to get or keep an erection.
  • Change in sex interest.
What are some other side effects of this drug?
  • All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your child’s doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother your child or do not go away:
  • Constipation.
  • Dizziness.
  • Feeling sleepy.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Feeling tired or weak.
  • Headache.
  • Upset stomach or throwing up.
  • Not hungry.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Anxiety.
  • Feeling nervous and excitable.
  • Change in taste.
  • Weight gain or loss.
  • These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your child’s doctor. Call your child’s doctor for medical advice about side effects.
  • You may report side effects to your national health agency.
How is this drug best given?
  • Give this drug as ordered by your child’s doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
  • Give at bedtime if your child is taking it once a day.
  • To gain the most benefit, do not miss giving your child doses.
  • Keep giving this drug to your child as you have been told by your child’s doctor or other health care provider, even if your child feels well.
What do I do if my child misses a dose?
  • Give a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
  • If it is close to the time for your child’s next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your child’s normal time.
  • Do not give 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.
How do I store and/or throw out this drug?
  • Store at room temperature.
  • Protect from light.
  • Store in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.
  • Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.
General drug facts
  • If your child’s symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your child’s doctor.
  • Do not share your child’s drug with others and do not give anyone else’s drug to your child.
  • Keep a list of all your child’s drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your child’s doctor.
  • Talk with your child’s doctor before giving your child any new drug, including prescription or OTC, natural products, or vitamins.
  • Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. If you have any questions about this drug, please talk with your child’s doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.