HeadMeds gives young people in the United Kingdom general information about medication. HeadMeds does not give you medical advice. Please talk to your Doctor or anyone else who is supporting you about your own situation because everyone is different. Please read more important details about our site.

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Return to Amitriptyline overview
  1. Use and Action
  2. Warnings and side effects
  3. Sex, drink, weight and everything else
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Amitriptyline can be used to treat the following conditions

Headmeds fills the medicines information gaps for young people - things you might want to know about meds like will it affect my sex life? Can I still study?  Can I drink?
Headmeds does not give medical advice so this is just general information.
Each medicine has a balance of good and bad effects, and each person gets their own individual effects.
You might want to know just one thing about your medicine, but on each page we have given you the ‘safety headlines’. Please read them as they are important.
We have included lots of information about each medicine - but if you want all the details, please look at the patient information leaflet - which is inside every pack. These leaflets are also at www.medicines.org.uk - where there will be the most up-to-date information.

Safety headlines

  • If you have taken more amitriptyline than it said on the label, you must see a doctor quickly – even if you do not feel any different.
  • Amitriptyline can make some people think about hurting themselves or committing suicide. You must go straight to hospital with your tablets if you have any of these thoughts.
  • Amitriptyline can also cause other serious side-effects: allergic reactions (difficulty breathing, swelling of your face or throat, itching skin lumps), and other serious symptoms. Go to a hospital if you get any of these symptoms, with your medicine.
  • Do not take amitriptyline if you have taken a monoamine oxidase inhibitor antidepressant (MAOI) like moclobemide, phenelzine, isocarboxazid or tranylcypromine in the last 14 days.
  • Stopping amitriptyline suddenly can cause serious side-effects – go to your doctor if you want to stop, or if you are having these effects.
  • You might feel sleepy in the first few days after taking amitriptyline – do not drive a car, ride a bike or operate machines until you see how this affects you.
  • If you take amitriptyline while you are pregnant, it may affect the developing baby. Use good contraception while you are taking amitriptyline. It can also cause symptoms in newborn babies if you take it at the end of pregnancy. Talk to your doctor or midwife about this and get their help.

Basic details

Amitriptyline can be used to treat depression in young people. 

  • Some studies have shown that tricyclic antidepressants are not very effective to treat depression in children and young people.
  • Even so, specialists might prescribe it ‘off label’ if it is the best medicine for you.

The tablets and liquid contain sugars and colours that can cause allergies in some people

  • The tablets may not be suitable for you if you have problems eating some sugars or dairy (milk-based) foods.
  • The yellow 25mg tablets also contain sunset yellow (E110), a food additive that can cause allergic reactions, especially if you are allergic to aspirin.
  • The liquid may contain ingredients that can cause an allergic reaction, which may happen some time after starting the medicine:
    • methyl and propyl parahydroxybenzoates
    • the food additive colour carmoisine (E122)
  • The liquid may also contain liquid maltitol (a type of sugar). If your doctor has told you that you cannot eat some sugars, talk to your doctor before taking it.

Reference sources