Amitriptyline Side Effects

by on July 4, 2011


Amitriptyline hydrochloride is sold under the brand names Endep and Elavil, and generally has no serious side effects.  However, as with any drug, there are potential side effects in some users which may include and are not limited to drowsiness, dizziness, constipation and hair loss.

Common Amitriptyline Side Effects

The most common side effects of Amitriptyline may include:

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Dry mouth
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Constipation
  • Increased sweating
  • Fluxuating blood sugar levels
  • Hair loss

If the patient stops taking the drug suddenly, they may also experience these Side Effects:

  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Sleep problems

Serious Amitriptyline Side Effects

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Increased heart rate
  • Seizures
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations.

If any serious side effects are experienced, it is important to talk to a doctor immediately. It is also possible to experience an allergic reaction to the drug.

Other Side Effects of Amitriptyline

Side effects for men may include erectile dysfunction or swelling of the testicles.  Women and men may also experience breast changes, including breast enlargement or breast discharge. Pregnant women should avoid amitriptyline, as it may cause birth defects.

Weight gain is also one of the most common side effects of antidepressant medications.  In fact, several types of these medications have even been marketed as obesity treatments, because they can increase or decrease the basal metabolic rate without making any changes in caloric intake.

Other possible side effects of Amitriptyline may include jaundice or yellowing of the skin and eyes, anxiety attacks and thoughts of suicide. If there are thoughts of suicide it is imperative to consult with a physician immediately. It should also not be given to anyone who is recovering from a heart attack or who is currently taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), Parnate (tranylcypromine) or Nardil (phenelzine). Patients may also experience more sensitivity to sunlight and should wear protective clothing and sunscreen when outdoors while on this medication.

Any drug has potential side effects, and with amitriptyline these side effects are usually minor.  However, there are serious side effects that are possible for some users.  Be sure to check with your doctor if you are taking any over-the-counter medications or dietary supplements that may affect the absorption of this drug. In addition, black tea may decrease the absorption of amitriptyline, so do not take this medication within two hours of drinking black tea.