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Side Effects


Amitriptyline should be used with caution in: the elderly, patients with heart disease or epilepsy, those with poor liver function, thyroid problems, previous or current mental diseases such as schizophrenia or manic depression, increased pressure in the eye (known as narrow-angle glaucoma), those who find passing water (urine) difficult or who have an enlarged prostate gland, or who are undergoing electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), anaesthesia for an operation, or dental treatment.

It should not be used in: children under 6 years of age when used for night-time bedwetting, children under 16 years of age when used for depression, women who are pregnant, likely to become pregnant or who are breastfeeding, those who have heart problems such as a recent heart attack (myocardial infarction), an irregular heartbeat (known as arrhythmias, and particularly the type called heart block), severe liver problems, the blood disease known as porphyria, and during the manic phase in patients - such as those with bipolar disorder - who experience this mental symptom, or in patients taking a drug called a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) within 14 days.

Also see list of precautions and interactions.


Store below 25°C in a dry place and protect from light.


Amitriptyline is used to treat a number of problems.

It is a member of a class of drugs called tricyclic antidepressants, sometimes known as TCAs.

In general, this drug is used to treat depression or night-time bedwetting in children.

Benefits of being on this drug include the prevention of bedwetting and relief from depression.

It can be useful for treating people with depression who are agitated and who might benefit from amitriptyline's additional calming effect as this drug can also cause sleepiness.

Listed below are the typical uses of amitriptyline.

  • Night-time bedwetting in children
  • Depression (though this drug is no longer widely recommended for depression because it can be dangerous if taken in overdose).


How often do I take it?

  • This medication is available as a solution or as a tablet, either of which should be taken orally, usually as a single dose every night (for depression or bedwetting), or as divided doses throughout each day (for depression only). Tablets should be taken with a glass of water.
  • Use this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it.
  • Remember to use it at the same time each day - unless specifically told otherwise by your doctor.
  • It may take up to 4 weeks before you notice any benefits of this drug.
  • Certain medical conditions may require different dosage instructions as directed by your doctor.

What dose?

  • Dosage is based on your age, gender, medical condition, response to therapy and use of certain interacting medicines.

Do I need to avoid anything?

  • Avoid drinking alcohol, and if the drug causes you to feel sleepy then avoid driving or using machinery. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.

When can I stop?

  • It is important to continue taking this medication even if you feel well, unless your doctor tells you to stop. Stopping this medication abruptly may cause you to have withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, feeling sick, dream and sleep disturbances, irritability and restlessness.


  • Sleepiness
  • Dryness of the mouth
  • Blurred sight
  • Constipation
  • Difficulty in passing water (urine)
  • Excessive sweating
  • Feeling sick (nausea)
  • Headache
  • Increased appetite and weight gain (sometimes weight loss)
  • Feeling faint or dizzy when standing up
  • Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
  • Rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
  • Feeling confused or unable to concentrate
  • Hearing or seeing things that are not there (hallucinations)
  • Difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
  • Nightmares.

If any of these persist or you consider them severe then inform your doctor.

Tell your doctor immediately if you develop any of the following symptoms: feeling more depressed and/or thinking about suicide; effects on the blood (as may be indicated by fever or chills, sore throat, ulcers in the throat or mouth, unusually severe tiredness or weakness, unusual bleeding or bruising); sensitivity to the sun or to sun lamps/sun beds (skin itchiness, redness, bumps and/or rashes after a brief exposure).

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

A serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction include: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), dizziness, trouble breathing.

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

The Yellow Card Scheme allows you to report suspected side effects from any type of medicine (which includes vaccines, herbals and over the counter medicines) that you are taking. It is run by the medicines safety watchdog called the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory agency (MHRA). Please report any suspected side effect on the Yellow Card Scheme website.


Before taking amitriptyline, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to other tricyclic antidepressants (TCA); or if you have any other allergies.

This medication should not be used if you have certain medical conditions. Before using this medicine, consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have: any blood disorders, any mental disorders (particularly schizophrenia or bipolar disorder), liver disease or any sort of heart or blood disorder, an overactive thyroid gland or are taking medicines to treat a thyroid disorder, an enlarged prostate or having difficulty in passing water (urine), increased pressure in the eye (glaucoma), are undergoing electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), or are about to undergo an operation, including dental treatment, that involves an anaesthetic.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially any of the following: any previous mental disorders or epilepsy.

Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist that you are taking this medication.

Does alcohol intake affect this drug?

  • Yes. Do not drink alcohol whilst taking amitriptyline.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding - please ensure you read the detailed information below.


Amitriptyline is not safe to take if you are, or are planning to become, pregnant.

It is sensible to limit use of medication during pregnancy whenever possible. However, your doctor may decide that the benefits outweigh the risks in individual circumstances and after a careful assessment of your specific health situation.

If you have any doubts or concerns you are advised to discuss the medicine with your doctor or pharmacist.


Amitriptyline is not safe to take if you are breastfeeding.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any doubts or questions about this.

It is sensible to limit use of medication during breastfeeding whenever possible. However, your doctor may decide that the benefits outweigh the risks in individual circumstances and after a careful assessment of your specific health situation.

If you have any doubts or concerns you are advised to discuss the medicine with your doctor or pharmacist.


Your doctor or pharmacist may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for them. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with them first.

This drug should not be used with the following medications because very serious, possibly fatal interactions may occur:

  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) and for 14 days after stopping a MOAI
  • Amiodarone
  • Moxifloxacin
  • Pimozide
  • Saquinavir

If you are currently using any of these medications, tell your doctor or pharmacist before starting amitriptyline.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all prescription and non-prescription/herbal products you may use, especially of:

  • adrenaline
  • ephedrine
  • isoprenaline
  • noradrenaline
  • phenylephrine
  • phenylpropanolamine
  • St John's Wort.
  • guanethidine
  • clonidine
  • methylphenidate
  • ritonavir
  • disulfiram
  • phenobarbital
  • carbamazepine
  • thiopental
  • fluconazole.

This information does not contain all possible interactions. Therefore, before using amitriptyline, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the products you use.


Symptoms of an overdose include changes in heartbeat (which may become fast or irregular), dilated pupils, sleepiness, chills, fever, vomiting, coma (unable to wake), worry or distress, and fits.

If you think you, or someone you care for, might have accidentally taken more than the recommended dose of amitriptyline hydrochloride or intentional overdose is suspected, contact your local hospital, GP or if in England call 111. In Scotland call NHS 24. In Wales, call NHS Direct Wales. In the case of medical emergencies, always dial 999.


If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.

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CONDITIONS OF USE: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgement of healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse events, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular medicine is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any medicine, changing any diet, or discontinuing any course of treatment.

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