The drug belongs to tricyclic antidepressants family. It aims at boosting moods by influencing functions of norepinephrine and serotonin. Balance of these two chemicals is crucial in determining moods, which are controlled in the central nervous system. The drug effect is evident from 3 days; full effects depend on extent of depression, cause, and environment of the affected individual. It averagely takes 30 days for full recovery.
Dosage of this antidepressant is specific; any extremes or inconsistency has dire effects on an individual. Usually, doctors prescribe the lowest amount, 25 mg for 3 times a day they examine progress. In most cases, the medication is increased but frequency remains the same. The manufacturer only avails three doses; 25 mg, 50 mg, ad 75 mg. The dosage amount is only increased or reduced after consultation.
It is important to be in regular consultation with a doctor when taking the medication, especially if it is the first time, to determine a suitable amount. Effectiveness of a dosage varies from one person to another; the cause of depression, lifestyle, and age determines the dosage. Also, close examination of an individual after first few dosages determines effectiveness of the medication.
Just like the dose is increased for ultimate results, doctors regularly examine the original symptoms and any identified effects on the body and determine when to reduce the dose based on subsiding of the symptoms. 25 mg dose is mostly for infants. While the standard rate is 3 times a day, some people are advised to take it once a day, usually at bedtime.
Body weight is also a factor in determination of dose. Besides, any existing medication or health condition influence the dosage.
Determination of dosage is a specific process that requires accuracy because of concentration and impact of this antidepressant. Moreover, the central nervous system is a sensitive and irreplaceable body system; any interference due to miscalculation can paralyze all other body systems.
The medication should be taken strictly as per doctor's prescription; whenever you miss a dose, it is advisable to immediately take it and continue with normal schedule. If you remember when the next dose is due, skip it and continue with regular schedule. Elavil is a sensitive and powerful antidepressant, consultation is crucial whenever you are uncertain about dosage.
The medication should only be taken after a medical doctor's prescription. Also, stopping to use the drug should be after consultation. Sudden stop causes withdrawal.
Do not share the medication because dosage should be definite as prescribed. Even if a friend or family has exact symptoms, do not share without a doctor's prescription.
Do not take double dose as make up for missing medication.
Extreme symptoms of the antidepressant are linked to suicide. If you start experiencing suicidal thoughts, engage a medical doctor for advice on whether to stop the drug or not. This is common in people under the age of 24.
Safety of the drug is not guaranteed for children under 12 years; while it varies in people; it requires comprehensive examination for children in this age group before using the antidepressant.
Let the doctor know you are on this medication before any surgery. It might necessitate tapering off before a surgical procedure.
Tell the doctor if you are intending to be pregnant or already pregnant before using Elavil. Also, breast feeding mothers should not use this antidepressant because it passes through breast milk hence effects to a child.
Keep it away from children. Elavil should not be exposed to direct light and moisture. The chemicals are best at room temperature.
Consult a pharmacist on the best way to dispose Elavil. Avoid keeping expired Elavil in your house. Do not dispose it in garbage or toilet. It is highly reactive and can cause huge damage.
Depression cuts across all age, color, and gender. The varied causes of stress cannot be linked to either of these elements. However, the antidepressant can pose threat or be ineffective to some people because of the following reasons.
- If a person is allergic to Amitriptyline or contents of the drug
- History of allergic reaction to any of the tricyclic antidepressant family
- Severe heart failure
- If an individual is on certain medication like MAO inhibitor
- Recent heart attack
Possible side effects
Side effects differ in people. To some people, the drug works perfectly; to some there are undesired aspects. The side effects can either be severe or mild depending on the body system of an individual or dosage.
Some side effects are manageable while others will sustain for a significant time. It is important to discuss with your doctor on not only benefits of Elavil but also the risks.
Common side effects of this antidepressant include;
- High or low appetite
- Dry mouth
- Weight gain
- Body weakness
- Vision problems
In extreme cases that may involve severe allergic reactions, patients experience the following side effects;
- Loss of body balance
- Irregular heart beat
- High or low sexual ability
- Severe allergic reactions
There are more side effects depending on an individual's body. It is crucial to consult a doctor if any of the listed or any weird feeling surfaces. Consult rather than assume.
Other than the primary function of managing depression, Amitriptyline helps in treating insomnia. While it is rare and may not work with certain people, it is an effective sleep therapy drug.
Also, Elavil is used in dealing with pet behavior issues. Anxiousness in dogs and cats can easily be alleviated with this drug. This should only be after proper veterinary consultation.
Elavil's effect on the central nervous system hints the impact of this antidepressant to the human body. The chemical components in the drug are highly reactive with some body systems hence the need to consult on proper dosage. The mentioned side effects are also a result of its high concentration and impact on the nervous system, which controls all other body functions. Other than the mentioned precautions, it is important to let your doctor know if you are using any of the following drugs before you start on Elavil.
- Diet pills
- Any antidepressants
- Medication on heart beat irregularity
- Drugs for seizures, ulcers, mental illness, asthma, colds, and anxiety
- Sleeping pills
Most of these medications have the same chemical components or reactive chemicals that might cause more damage. Whether you are in the process of taking the medication or used them recently, it is important to indicate. Fluoxetine may also compromise on effectiveness on Elavil.
The information helps doctors to be extra keen on your symptoms or properly examine your body organs and systems and determine whether Elavil is suitable for your depression needs.
Alcohol and others also interfere with the antidepressant. You will be safer with letting the doctor know. You don't have to be an addict or shamed of it, recent ingestion of any drug including alcohol should be noted by a doctor when determining suitability of this antidepressant.
Elavil is strong; driving or operating any machinery can expose you to fatal accidents. You might also want to relax indoors after taking the medication. In most cases, doctors advise to take the medicine just before bedtime because of the highlighted side effects. If possible, let your peers or colleagues know the kind of medication you are taking hence know how to engage you in the crew activities.
The drug may not allow you to engage in rigorous activities. If you do, you not only compromise on its antidepressant effect but also expose your body system to more health complications.
Amitriptyline: All you need to Know
Damaged nerves cause pain, which is different from the regular pain messages taken via healthy nerves. In a typical situation, pain from damaged tissue such as an injury sustained from falling or bruising is sent via healthy nerves. Neuropathic pain, on the other hand, cannot be treated by regular medicines such as paracetamol and ibuprofen painkillers. Instead, medicines used in treatment of depression and epilepsy are also effective in treatment of neuropathic pain. Antidepressant are therefore, the most effective medicines used widely to treat neuropathic pain.
One of the most effective antidepressant is Amitriptyline. It has been found to bring relief to most people with neuropathic pain but is limited too. For example, it is not known to work well with neuropathic pain relating to HIV and cancer.
How to Use Amitriptyline
Amitriptyline is taken 1 to 4 times a day depending on the doctor's instruction based on the level of pain experienced. The dosage also depends on your medical condition and reactivity to treatment. It is traditionally taken orally and mostly before bedtime (for those with once-a-day dosage) to help reduce daytime sleepiness.
In most cases, patients begin with low doses before graduating to higher levels. This gradual change helps to limit the risk of side effects so you will need to follow your doctor's instructions keenly. Side effects that emerge with introduction to the medicine includes drowsiness, dry mouth, and dizziness.
Regular consumption of the medication will yield the best outcome so avoid inconsistencies with the dosage. To help you maintain a consistent routine, take it at the same time daily. You should also avoid using it for longer than the doctor's prescription or increase the dosage for better results. You will be risking an increase of side effects without improving your condition.
Even if you feel well, it is still important to keep taking the medication as prescribed. This means you will adhere to the doctor's instruction regardless of the circumstances or outcome of the neuropathic pains. Before you stop taking the medication, seek professional advice. This is because there are cases reported where patients got worse after halting their use suddenly.
Before proceeding with medication, you should ensure that you grasp the instructions in the guide provided by your pharmacist. Remember to consult your doctor or pharmacist with every refill to ensure you are safe.
What to Expect
Most users experience common symptoms such as mood swings, tiredness, dizziness, and headaches. It is the reason you need gradual introduction into the drug with low doses. The doctor will also induce a gradual reduction of the dosage to avoid the effects that arise from sudden elimination of the drug. In extreme cases, patients are known to have feelings of sadness or even thoughts of suicide after suddenly stopping to use Amitriptyline.
Beware that the medication may not work immediately as this, is not guaranteed. It may take a week for you to realize some benefits and up to 4 weeks to feel the full effect of the drug.
Nerve pain can be classified into several types. The most common today are diabetic neuropathy, post-stroke, and post-herpetic neuralgia pains. They type of pain is named from the location of your body affected.
Like any other drug, Amitriptyline, which is a strong antidepressant, comes with a number of side effects. The most common include; drowsiness, dizziness, blurred vision, constipation, weight gain. The symptoms are normal. However, you should consult your doctor or pharmacist promptly if they persist.
Other common side effects that range with individuals include; confusion, numbness and tingling of arms and legs, headaches, constipation and diarrhea, and swelling of faces and tongue. Some people also experience blurred vision, skin rashes, and unexpected changes in their weight (rapid loss or gain).
The most detrimental side effects that require emergency responses are heart attack and stroke. If you experience chest pain, shortness of breath, or pain in your chest; you are a likely candidate of heart attack. If, on the other hand, you experience weakness in one part of your body and slurred speech, you may be prone to stroke. Call you doctor immediately for emergency treatment.
Depression is usually expressed in several terms including Major depressive disorders, clinical depression or mental depression. It is better defined with respect to a constellation of symptoms felt over a certain period of time. For convenience, depression can be defined as a mood disorder in which a person is in a continuous state of sadness for over 2 weeks. People sometimes pass sadness for depression; well, maybe linguistically they qualify as synonyms but sadness is just a particular state of being unhappy which might pass for depression when the person is habitually in a state of sadness. Depression is said to be most prevalent in females between the age of 40 and 60 but it can generally be seen in any age. Depression is classified as a mental illness, in fact, it is one of the commonest forms of mental illness with hundreds of millions of people affected worldwide; it is among the leading causes of suicide. America alone is said to have 16 million adults living with depression. Majority of people only relates to Major depressive disorder; there are a whole lot of other types of depression.
Major depressive disorder
This is the type of disorder generally refers to as a clinical or mental depression. It is characterized by mood disorders which are best described by looking at constellations of behavior which include
- Mood changes: one of the first things noticed in people suffering depression is changes in their mood. Someone who usually goes around with a bright face is noticed to have a bland, unassuming face and would rather remain feeling sad over things he or she might not even be able to point out. Some become very irritable
- Interest: also noticed is reduce interest in activities and the environment. People living with depression keep more to themselves than share in a public discussion. They are usually noticed to be unaware even in the midst of the people.
- Change in sleep pattern: people suffering from depression usually have a change in sleep pattern. There are some who sleeps more in the day and spends the whole of the night just keeping to themselves or in a rather lost thought. There is also a usual change in eating pattern and weight. These are not specific symptoms because while some are losing weight others are gaining. Most depressive people, however, gain weight. A relationship exists between eating pattern and weight gain. Loss of appetite seems more like what is expected but it has also been found out that people with depression spend more time inside which means they will burn less amount of energy and also find a kind of succor in eating.
- Fatigue: they tend to complain of feeling tired more than usual. Most patient with depression complains of waking up tired.
- Thoughts of suicide or death: Majority of people living with depression will think of dying or committing suicide. what is rather surprising with them is, they do not lay out any plan to achieve this.
- There is also a feeling of worthlessness among depressive people.
In diagnosing a person with the major depressive disorder, at least five of the following must be present for 2 weeks and must include one of diminished interest or change in mood.
Persistent Depressive Disorder
This was formerly called Dysthymia. It is a form of low-grade depression but usually lasts longer than (lasting around 2 years and above) the Major depressive disorder. It present with lesser symptoms over a longer period of time, which is the reason why it was dubbed the mild chronic depression. There is also a form of persistent depressive disorder seen in children called Persistent pediatric depressive disorder which involve a child or an adolescent presenting with a continuous irritative or depressed mood for at least a year. The symptoms seen in them often include lack of hope and feeling of hopelessness.
Bipolar disorder, formerly called manic-depression, present with an episodic form of depression. Patient with bipolar usually has a manic and depressive period. The manic episode is an abnormally elevated mood where the patient is extremely happy during while low mood and extreme sadness set in during the depressive stage. The period of high can be divided into mania (which shows overt symptoms of grandeur) and hypomania (a less dramatic stage compared to mania). Bipolar disorder is usually a lifelong condition but can be managed effectively with drug compliance.
Postpartum depression must be differentiated from postpartum blues. It is a feeling of unabating sadness and low mood that begins shortly after delivery. Some go on to have hallucinations and delusions which is called postpartum psychosis.
Other types of depression include Premenstrual dysphoria (a disorder in which patients have a more significant low mood associated premestrual symptoms), seasonal affective disorder (where patient have depressive symptoms in the colder part of the year), and atypical depression.
Causes of depression
It is not known exactly what causes depression, there are however different life events that have been seen to predispose individuals to depression.
Genetics: The genetic link to depression have not been fully elucidated, there are, however, cases of depression running in family. It is thought that there might be some form of genetic disposition but this has not been sufficiently supported with available data.
Abuse: Past history of physical, emotional or sexual abuse often predispose the individual to depression. These have been studied sufficiently and people with abuse have been shown to be more prone to depression.
Death or loss: A number of people have been seen to have progressed from grief due to the loss of a loved one to depression.
Life events: There have also been cases of people becoming depressed due to lack of jobs or any other thing happiness is associated with.
Signs and symptoms
The symptoms of depression have generally been mentioned with the different types of depression mentioned above; especially the major depressive disorder. Others include the feeling of restlessness, irritability, and difficulty in concentration. Patient with depression can have difficulty in maintaining concentration which is partly due to their lack of interest in the environment; which makes them withdraw from anything going on around them including their own body. Additionally, a patient with depression might not pay enough attention to their body which will be noticed in their appearance. They might even go around untidy with dishelved hair.
Management of depression involves cooperative management between different departments. Behavioral modifications and oral medications have been shown to yield tremendous benefit.
Oral Medications: There are different classes of antidepressant that have been shown to be beneficial in the management of depression. Fluoxetine a type of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor is one of the earliest antidepressants available. Also commonly used are the tricyclic antidepressants which include amitriptyline, imipramine, and desipramine. Other common classes include the selective/nor epinephrine reuptake inhibitor, atypical antidepressant, and Serotonin-Dopamine Activity modulators. The antidepressants have been shown to be very effective with clinical response seen within 2-6 weeks.
Psychotherapy: psychotherapy treatments for depression has been shown to be as effective as the use of oral medications. The commonest is the behavioral and cognitive therapy. Other types of psychotherapy include interpersonal psychotherapy, problem-solving, and cognitive behavioral analysis system of psychotherapy.
The use of electroconvulsive therapy has also been shown to be highly effective in the treatment for depression. They are usually used to achieve a rapid antidepressant response or when medications have failed to yield expected improvement. They are also used in a patient with a high risk of death or sickness or though of suicide. Some patients also simply ask for it, which is also an indication for its use.
There is a simulation technique refers to as transcranial magnetic simulation (TMS) which is used for depression that has become resistant to treatment. Before TMS is used it must be demonstrated that the depression has not shown the desired result with the use of 4 complete and adequate medications and electroconvulsive therapy.