Today’s post is about Amitriptyline. Also, Elavil is a brand name for this drug. Many people with Interstitial Cystitis (IC) get some relief from taking this medicine. As with any drug, there are side effects to contend with. Also, as I have mentioned before, what works for one person may not work for another.
According to Healthline.com, some of the more common side effects of amitriptyline can include:
- numbness and tingling in your arms and legs
- constipation or diarrhea
- blurred vision
- skin rash
- swelling of your face and tongue
- unexpected weight gain or loss
If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. [Healthline.com]
How does Amitriptyline help the bladder? According to Medscape.com, Amitriptyline is a tricyclic antidepressant with sedative properties. It increases circulating levels of norepinephrine and serotonin by blocking their reuptake at nerve endings.
This drug was originally developed to treat anxiety and depression; however, when taken at a low dose the medicine can reduce or stop pain. Amitriptyline works by increasing the amount of serotonin your brain makes. According to NHS.UK,
- You may notice a difference after a week or two but it can take 6 weeks for amitriptyline to work as a painkiller.
- Amitriptyline can cause extra side effects if you stop taking it suddenly. Talk to your doctor if you’re thinking of stopping taking amitriptyline.
- Amitriptyline is generally not recommended in pregnancy or while breastfeeding.
NOTE: According to CNN.com, a study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine suggests that the link between anticholinergic drugs and an increased risk of dementia is strongest for certain classes of anticholinergic drugs – particularly antidepressants such as paroxetine or amitriptyline, bladder antimuscarinics such as oxybutynin or tolterodine, antipsychotics such as chlorpromazine or olanzapine and antiepileptic drugs such as oxcarbazepine or carbamazepine [CNN.com]. Do your research and talk to your doctor. Your doctor can do a risk-benefit evaluation.
One of my goals for this blog is to write about some of the options, medicines or therapies that are being used by people with IC. Reminder: I am not a medical professional. The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. I am just providing information I have found when researching this disease.
Below are some testimonials from Drugs.com:
TESTIMONY 1: “… amitriptyline helps a lot with severe pain and burning from interstitial cystitis (IC)” [March 22, 2020]
TESTIMONY 2: “I had been going to multiple doctors trying to figure out why I kept burning when using the bathroom for 3 months straight. Not even urologists could figure out what was going on. Finally, a doctor diagnosed me with IC. I was given 25 mg of amitriptyline to take twice a day. It only took 2 days for my symptoms to go away. I felt so relieved. It does make me really tired throughout the day, & I find it harder to wake up. However; once I’m up I feel so much more energized. Not only has this medicine helped my IC, but has also made me feel like whole new person.” [October 3, 2019]
TESTIMONY 3: “Finally have relief of 3 years relentless pain from interstitial cystitis. The grogginess and constipation only downside. Made remarkable difference to urgency and pain. Feel a new women. Thought I’d never have relief ! ” [April 18, 2019]
TESTIMONY 4: “I was prescribed Amitriptyline for the above condition (Interstitial Cystitis) and have taken 1/2 of a 25 mg only at night for 8 nights. I’ve had trouble with my memory the last few days and I just had a sudden, very severe dizzy spell where I fell to the floor and I had no warning… [June 15, 2019]