Generic name: Amitriptyline.

Other brand names: Amitril, Endep, Enovil.

Elavil is a tricyclic antidepressant. It increases the concentration of the chemicals necessary for nerve transmission in the brain, thereby relieving depression. 

Quick Facts About Elavil


Used to relieve the symptoms of mental depression; also used to treat bulimia, chronic pain, prevention of migraines, and pathological laughing and weeping associated with multiple sclerosis.

Elavil Dosage

Take exactly as prescribed. Take with water or food to lessen stomach irritation, unless otherwise prescribed by doctor. May take 2 to 3 weeks before effects of medication are observed.

  • Usual adult dose: 75 milligrams per day divided into 2 or more doses, up to 150 milligrams per day, not to exceed 200 milligrams per day. Alternate therapy — 50 milligrams to 100 milligrams at bedtime, increasing dose by 25 or 50 milligrams, up to 150 milligrams per day. Long-term use — 40 to 100 milligrams taken one time per day, usually at bedtime. Seniors — 10 milligrams taken 3 times per day, with 20 milligrams taken at bedtime.
  • Usual child dose (for children 12 years and older): 10 milligrams taken 3 times per day, with 20 milligrams taken at bedtime.
  • Missed dose: take as soon as possible, unless almost time for next dose. In that case, do not take missed dose; go back to regular schedule. Do not double doses. If prescribed one daily dose at bedtime, do not take missed dose in the morning; may cause side effects during the day.

Elavil Side Effects

Elavil overdose can be fatal.

Overdose symptoms:

abnormally low blood pressure, congestive heart failure, convulsions, dilated pupils, drowsiness, rapid or irregular heartbeat, reduced body temperature, stupor, unresponsiveness or coma. Symptoms contrary to the effect of this medication: agitation, extremely high body temperature, rigid muscles, vomiting. If you suspect an overdose, immediately seek medical attention.

More common side effects: abnormal movements, anxiety, black tongue, blurred vision, breast development in males, breast enlargement, coma, confusion, constipation, delusions, diarrhea, difficult or frequent urination, difficulty in speech, dilation of pupils, disorientation, disturbed concentration, dizziness on getting up, dizziness or light-headedness, drowsiness, dry mouth, excessive or spontaneous flow of milk, excitement, fast or fluttery heartbeat, fatigue, fluid retention, hair loss, hallucinations, headache, heart attack, high or low blood sugar, hives, impotence, inability to sleep, increased or decreased sex drive, increased perspiration, increased pressure within the eye, inflammation of the mouth, intestinal obstruction, irregular heartbeat, lack or loss of coordination, loss of appetite, low blood pressure, nausea, nightmares, numbness, rapid heartbeat, rash, red or purple spots on skin, restlessness, ringing in the ears, seizures, sensitivity to light, stomach upset, strange taste, stroke, swelling due to fluid retention in the face and tongue, swelling of testicles, swollen glands, tingling and pins and needles in the arms and legs, tremors, vomiting, weakness, weight gain or loss, yellowed eyes and skin. Side effects due to rapid decrease or abrupt withdrawal from Elavil: headache, nausea, vague feeling of bodily discomfort. Side effects due to gradual dosage reduction: dream and sleep disturbances, irritability, restlessness.

No known less common or rare Elavil side effects.


Inform your doctor before combining Elavil with:

parkinsonism drugs such as Cogentin; quinidine (Quinidex); seizure medications such as Tegretol and Dilantin; sleep medications such as Halcion and Dalmane; thyroid hormones (Synthroid); tranquilizers such as Librium and Xanax; vitamin C in large doses; warfarin (Coumadin).

Alcohol may increase sedative effects; do not drink alcohol when taking this medication. 

Special Cautions

If pregnant or planning to become pregnant, inform your doctor immediately. Appears in breast milk; could affect a nursing infant

Seniors are prescribed lower doses.

Not prescribed for children under 12 years.

  • If you have or have had: asthma, diabetes, electroshock therapy, enlarged prostate gland, epilepsy, glaucoma or other chronic eye conditions, heart or circulatory system disorder, liver or kidney problems, mental illness, seizures, stomach or intestinal problems, thyroid disease, or urinary retention, notify your doctor before taking Elavil.
  • You may feel dizzy or light-headed or faint when standing up from a lying or sitting position. If standing slowly is not helpful, notify your doctor.
  • Urine may turn blue-green; this effect is harmless.
  • May experience increased sensitivity to sunlight; avoid the sun as much as possible.
  • Before medical or dental surgery, tell your doctor or dentist you are taking this drug.


HealthSurvey.org provides accurate and independent information prescription pills, over-the-counter medicines and natural products. This material is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have questions about  dosage, or Elavil side effects, please contact your healthcare provider.