Review By Dr. Kensington

Elavil is a prescription medication used to treat depression. It works by interacting with the chemicals in the brain that contribute to the symptoms of depression.

This antidepressant is a member of the family of medications called Tricyclic antidepressants. Tricyclics were developed in the 1950's. As an older class of antidepressants, they are rarely used anymore.

They are are not as commonly used as other types of antidepressants because they tend to cause more side effects than newer classes of antidepressants. However, they are still sometimes used in small doses to relieve pain, sleep disorders, and other conditions.

Side Effects

Depending on the individual, side effects of antidepressants can include dry mouth, drowsiness, constipation, dizziness, increased appetite, weight gain, and blurry vision. If you experience any adverse side effects report them to your prescribing doctor right away.

If you have severe reaction, seek immediate medical attention at the nearest hospital emergency room. Once you are discharged from the ER, follow up with your prescribing doctor.

Elavil Warnings

Especially for children, teens, and young adults, there may be an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors when taking antidepressants. See this warning about antidepressants and suicide).

If you or a loved one is taking this medication, monitor yourself or them carefully for any increase in suicidal thoughts or behaviors. If you or a love is feeling like harming themselves or others, contact 911 right away and/or visit the nearest hospital emergency room right away. 

Pregnancy Warning

In addition, there may be an increased risk of birth defects when antidepressants are taken by women during pregnancy. See this warning about antidepressants and pregnancy. If you are taking this medication and become pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, inform your doctor right away. The doctor may alter your treatment plan in order to lessen any potential risks to the baby.

Mixing With Alcohol

It is not recommended that this medication be mixed with alcohol. (See warning about antidepressants and alcohol.) In addition to the numerous health risks, alcohol is a depressant and should not be used by folks who already suffer from depression.

The side effects of this medication may impair your ability to drive and operate heavy machinery.

Weight Changes

In a small percentage of patients taking this antidepressant, weight changes may be a side effect. See this important information regarding antidepressants and weight changes.

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