Amitriptyline

Definition

Amitriptyline is a medication used to treat various forms of depression, pain associated with the nerves (neuropathic pain), and to prevent migraine headaches. It is sold in the United States under the brand names Elavil and Endep.

Purpose

Amitriptyline helps relieve depression and pain. This medication, usually given at bedtime, also helps patients sleep better.

Description

This medication is one of several tricyclic antide-pressants, so-called because of the three-ring chemical structure common to these drugs. Amitriptyline acts to block reabsorption of neurotransmitters (chemicals that transmit nerve messages in the brain). Amitriptyline and the other tricyclic antidepressants are primarily used to treat mental depression but are increasingly being replaced by a newer and more effective group of antide-pressant drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Amitriptyline is sometimes prescribed to help treat pain associated with cancer. In addition, it is sometimes prescribed for various types of chronic pain. Tablets are available in 10, 25, 50, 70, and 150 mg.

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