amitriptyline (Elavil, Endep)

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

GENERIC NAME: amitriptyline

DISCONTINUED BRAND: Elavil (in the U.S.), Amitid, Amitril, Endep

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Amitriptyline is in the class of drugs called tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) and is used for treating depression. Other drugs in the same class include:

Individuals with depression may have an imbalance in neurotransmitters, chemicals that nerves make and use to communicate with other nerves. Like all TCAs, amitriptyline increases levels of norepinephrine and serotonin, two neurotransmitters, and blocks the action of acetylcholine, another neurotransmitter. It is believed that by restoring the balance of these different neurotransmitters in the brain that depression is alleviated (for example, the mood is elevated). Amitriptyline was approved by the FDA in May 1983.

PRESCRIBED FOR: Amitriptyline is used to elevate the mood of patients with depression. It is also used off-label (non-FDA-approved) for treating postherpetic neuralgia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), migraine headache, and eating disorders.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/18/2015

Quick GuideDepression Hurts: Physical Symptoms of Depression

Depression Hurts: Physical Symptoms of Depression
FDA Logo

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

RxList Logo

Need help identifying pills and medications?

Use the pill identifier tool on RxList.

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Depression Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors