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Thread: elavil (antidpressant) for pain?

  1. #1

    elavil (antidpressant) for pain?

    has anyone ever taken elavil(antidpressant) for nueropatic pain. how well does it work and what were and severe were side effects. my doc say i could try it at bedtime annd may last thur next day. some side effects sound bad. i need some input from users and/or nurses before i start it.

  2. #2

    I tried it

    I used elavil years ago for neuropathic pain. I also took it at bedtime because the pain was keeping me awake all night. I had some mild relief. For me the side effects were pretty insignificant, sleepiness, dry mouth, urinary retention and constipation. I had to modify my bowel program to stay a step ahead. I took the elavil until I discovered I was pregnant. I have sice used other forms of treatment for the pain. Good luck

  3. #3

    Tricyclic antidepressants

    Generally the use of tricyclic antidepressants is the "first line" group of drugs tried for neuropathic pain. They can be sedating, which is why they are usually given at bedtime, usually in doses lower than the therapeutic doses used for depression. While many people do find significant relief with these drugs, some do not.

    Generally the next group of drugs that would be tried would be the anticonvulsants such as Tegretol and Neurontin. Some studies have indicated that these drugs work much better for some people when combined with the tricyclics, so instead of stopping Elavil if it does not work for you in a few weeks you may want to talk with your physician about adding Neurontin.

    All of these drugs must maintain a blood level to work, and so should not be taken "prn".


  4. #4
    I use it for burning pain in my legs and feet. The burning pain was keeping me up at night and could not sleep. I really didn't notice any side effects, but it did solve the problem.

  5. #5
    Senior Member TD's Avatar
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    Aug 2001
    Phoenix, AZ, USA

    The downside of using tricyclics...

    is they can make you so groggy you sleep most of the time. I had a hard time waking up when they tried them on me. I am currently on Neurontin and it seems to help some but I am on a low dose because I cannot tolerate it very well either. Good luck in finding the right answer for your pins and needles.

    "And so it begins."

  6. #6
    Senior Member alan's Avatar
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    Jul 2001
    Baltimore, MD
    I tried quite a few tricyclics, but the side effects were too much.

  7. #7
    Senior Member crashgirl246's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    palm springs Ca.


    Im on a low dosage 10mg at bedtime. im also at about 900mg of Nurontine. I ZONK OUT! but, i have been noticing a little constipation,im also on 16mg of Zanaflex at bedtime, i have nightmares a lot and dont know if its from all these drugs (perscribed of course) and Im also taking Tylenol3s (which havent done crap in teh past 3 days. I also have a bad UTI, and was impacted from about a week of not pooping right!! I was never told of the side effects though, what are tehy?? LIN

  8. #8

    Tricyclic side effects

    Here are those most commonly reported for Elavil:

    Within each category the following adverse reactions are listed in order of decreasing severity. Included in the listing are a few adverse reactions which have not been reported with this specific drug. However, pharmacological similarities among the tricyclic antidepressant drugs require that each of the reactions be considered when amitriptyline is administered.

    Cardiovascular: Myocardial infarction; stroke; nonspecific ECG changes and changes in AV conduction; heart block; arrhythmias; hypotension, particularly orthostatic hypotension; syncope; hypertension; tachycardia; palpitation.

    CNS and Neuromuscular: Coma; seizures; hallucinations; delusions; confusional states; disorientation; incoordination; ataxia; tremors; peripheral neuropathy; numbness, tingling, and paresthesias of the extremities; extrapyramidal symptoms including abnormal involuntary movements and tardive dyskinesia; dysarthria; disturbed concentration; excitement; anxiety; insomnia; restlessness; nightmares; drowsiness; dizziness; weakness; fatigue; headache; syndrome of inappropriate ADH (antidiuretic hormone) secretion; tinnitus; alteration in EEG patterns.

    Anticholinergic: Paralytic ileus; hyperpyrexia; urinary retention; dilatation of the urinary tract; constipation; blurred vision, disturbance of accommodation, increased ocular pressure, mydriasis; dry mouth.

    Allergic: Skin rash; urticaria; photosensitization; edema of face and tongue.

    Hematologic: Bone wmarrow depression including agranulocytosis, leukopenia, thrombocytopenia; purpura; eosinophilia.

    Gastrointestinal: Rarely hepatitis (including altered liver function and jaundice); nausea; epigastric distress; vomiting; anorexia; stomatitis; peculiar taste; diarrhea; parotid swelling; black tongue.

    Endocrine: Testicular swelling and gynecomastia in the male; breast enlargement and galactorrhea in the female; increased or decreased libido; impotence; elevation and lowering of blood sugar levels.

    Other: Alopecia; edema; weight gain or loss; urinary frequency; increased perspiration.

    Withdrawal Symptoms: After prolonged administration, abrupt cessation of treatment may produce nausea, headache, and malaise. Gradual dosage reduction has been reported to produce, within two weeks, transient symptoms including irritability, restlessness, and dream and sleep disturbance.

    These symptoms are not indicative of addiction. Rare instances have been reported of mania or hypomania occurring within 2-7 days following cessation of chronic therapy with tricyclic antidepressants.

    Causal Relationship Unknown: Other reactions, reported under circumstances where a causal relationship could not be established, are listed to serve as alerting information to physicians:

    Body as a Whole: Lupus-like syndrome (migratory arthritis, positive ANA and rheumatoid factor).

    Digestive: Hepatic failure, ageusia.

    A good source for information on any medications you are taking is In most states the pharmacist is obligated to give you written information and verbal explaination of the purpose of the drug, potential side effects, and what to report to your physician. In California, failure to do so (unless the patient refuses in writing) can be reported to the state Pharmacy board and is subject to disciplinary action.


  9. #9
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    as everyone knows Elavil puts weight on and also can cause cavities, as I found out on my last dental visit. So I got off of it and also Neurontin. Be careful with your teeth because any meds that can cause dry mouth you are at rsik for dental cavities. I jus can t get rid of this ringing in my ears .

  10. #10
    Senior Member Aly's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Radford, Va
    I took elavil for about five years, starting when I was in rehab for my initial injury. I took it because I had severe burning and pain in my back. It literally felt like I was on fire and someone was stabbing me. Because of some depression issues later I quit taking the elavil and switched to another antidepressant. Since then I've not had the pain nearly as intense as I used to. But at the time it helped greatly. I'm not sure what I would have done without it. I was not aware of the side effects, if the rehab doctor prescribed it I assumed it was okay and just took it, plus my mom was studying to be a nurse practitioner of the time. When she was not at the hospital with me she would call each night to talk to the nurse to see how my day went and ask about any medication changes. I figured with them looking out for me I didn't need to ask questions. Then again, I was also only 16 and had no clue.


    The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.
    Don Juan Matus

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