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Triavil (Generic Amitriptyline)

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Amitriptyline is a tricyclic antidepressant commonly prescribed to treat depression, anxiety disorders, and certain types of chronic pain. While it can be effective for these conditions, there are several potential risks associated with taking amitriptyline:

  • Side Effects: Common side effects include drowsiness, dizziness, dry mouth, constipation, blurred vision, and weight gain. These side effects can affect daily functioning and quality of life.
  • Cardiac Effects: Amitriptyline can cause changes in heart rhythm, which may be dangerous, especially for people with existing heart conditions. It may also increase the risk of arrhythmias and other cardiac issues.
  • Suicidal Thoughts: Like many antidepressants, amitriptyline carries a black box warning regarding an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors, especially in children, adolescents, and young adults.
  • Serotonin Syndrome: In rare cases, amitriptyline can lead to serotonin syndrome, a potentially life-threatening condition characterized by dangerously high levels of serotonin in the body. Symptoms include confusion, agitation, rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, dilated pupils, and loss of muscle coordination.
  • Withdrawal Symptoms: Abruptly stopping amitriptyline can lead to withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, headache, irritability, and insomnia. It’s important to taper off the medication under medical supervision to minimize these effects.
  • Interactions with Other Medications: Amitriptyline can interact with a variety of other medications, including monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), blood thinners, and certain pain medications. These interactions can lead to potentially dangerous side effects or reduce the effectiveness of either medication.
  • Glaucoma: Amitriptyline can increase intraocular pressure, potentially worsening symptoms in individuals with glaucoma.
  • Urinary Retention: It may also cause urinary retention, especially in men with prostate enlargement, leading to difficulty urinating.

It’s essential for individuals considering taking amitriptyline to discuss these risks with their healthcare provider, who can weigh the potential benefits against the possible adverse effects and monitor for any complications during treatment.

Why is this medication prescribed?

Amitriptyline is prescribed for several medical conditions, primarily:

  • Depression: It is used to treat major depressive disorder, particularly when other antidepressants have not been effective.
  • Anxiety Disorders: Amitriptyline may be prescribed for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and panic disorder.
  • Chronic Pain: It can help manage various types of chronic pain, including neuropathic pain, fibromyalgia, tension headaches, and migraine headaches.
  • Sleep Disorders: In some cases, it may be prescribed off-label to help with certain sleep disorders, such as insomnia.

How should this medicine be used?

Amitriptyline is usually taken orally in the form of tablet. The dosage and frequency depend on the condition being treated and the individual’s response to the medication. Here are some general guidelines for how amitriptyline should be used:

  • Dosage: The typical starting dose for depression and anxiety is usually low and gradually increased under medical supervision until the desired effect is achieved. For chronic pain, the dosage may vary depending on the severity and type of pain.
  • Timing: It is usually taken once daily, preferably at bedtime, as it can cause drowsiness. However, some individuals may be advised to take it earlier in the day if drowsiness interferes with their daytime activities.
  • Follow Doctor’s Instructions: It’s crucial to follow the dosage and administration instructions provided by the prescribing healthcare provider. Do not increase or decrease the dosage without consulting a doctor.
  • Duration of Treatment: Treatment duration varies depending on the condition being treated and individual response. It’s essential to continue taking amitriptyline as prescribed, even if symptoms improve, to prevent a relapse.
  • Tapering Off: When discontinuing amitriptyline, it’s important to gradually taper off the medication under medical supervision to minimize withdrawal symptoms.
  • Avoid Alcohol and Other Depressants: Alcohol and other central nervous system depressants can enhance the sedative effects of amitriptyline, so it’s best to avoid them while taking this medication.
  • Regular Monitoring: Regular check-ups with the healthcare provider are essential to monitor the effectiveness of the medication, adjust the dosage if necessary, and monitor for any potential side effects or complications.

As with any medication, it’s crucial to discuss any questions or concerns about amitriptyline with a healthcare provider to ensure safe and effective use.

Other uses for this medicine

Aside from depression, amitriptyline can be prescribed for several other conditions, including:

  • Chronic pain conditions such as neuropathic pain, fibromyalgia, and chronic tension-type headaches.
  • Preventing migraines.
  • Treating insomnia, especially when associated with depression.
  • Managing symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), particularly when accompanied by pain.

What special precautions should I follow?

As for precautions when taking amitriptyline, it’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. Here are some general precautions:

  • Medical History: Inform your doctor about your complete medical history, especially if you have a history of heart problems, seizures, urinary retention, or glaucoma.
  • Drug Interactions: Amitriptyline can interact with certain medications, including MAO inhibitors, SSRIs, SNRIs, antihistamines, and certain antibiotics. Inform your doctor about all medications, supplements, and herbal products you are taking.
  • Suicidal Thoughts: Like many antidepressants, amitriptyline carries a black box warning regarding an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors, particularly in children, adolescents, and young adults. Close monitoring is essential, especially when starting the medication or adjusting the dosage.
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Amitriptyline may not be safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Consult your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.
  • Alcohol and Sedatives: Avoid alcohol and other sedatives while taking amitriptyline, as they can increase drowsiness and the risk of side effects.
  • Driving and Operating Machinery: Due to its sedative effects, amitriptyline may impair your ability to drive or operate machinery. Avoid these activities until you know how the medication affects you.

Always consult with your healthcare provider for personalized advice regarding the use of amitriptyline and any precautions specific to your situation.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

There are no specific dietary restrictions associated with amitriptyline. However, maintaining a balanced diet and avoiding excessive alcohol consumption can support overall health and well-being during treatment.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

  • If you forget to take a dose of amitriptyline, take it as soon as you remember, unless it is close to the time for your next dose. In that case, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule.
  • Do not double up on doses to make up for a missed dose, as this can increase the risk of side effects.
  • If you have any concerns or questions about missed doses, consult your healthcare provider for guidance.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Amitriptyline can cause a range of side effects, which may vary in severity from person to person. Some common side effects include:

  • Drowsiness: One of the most common side effects of amitriptyline is drowsiness or sedation. This effect is more pronounced at the beginning of treatment and may improve over time as your body adjusts to the medication.
  • Dry Mouth: Amitriptyline can reduce saliva production, leading to a dry mouth sensation. Drinking water or using sugar-free candies or gum can help alleviate this symptom.
  • Blurred Vision: Some individuals may experience blurred vision or difficulty focusing while taking amitriptyline. This effect may be temporary and typically improves with continued use.
  • Constipation: Amitriptyline can slow down bowel movements, leading to constipation. Eating a high-fiber diet, staying hydrated, and getting regular exercise can help alleviate this side effect.
  • Urinary Retention: In some cases, amitriptyline may cause difficulty urinating or urinary retention, particularly in men with prostate enlargement.
  • Weight Gain: Weight gain is a potential side effect of amitriptyline, although not everyone will experience this. Monitoring your diet and staying physically active can help manage weight changes.
  • Dizziness or Lightheadedness: Some individuals may experience dizziness or lightheadedness, especially when standing up quickly. Taking precautions such as rising slowly from a sitting or lying position can help reduce this risk.
  • Fatigue: Along with drowsiness, some people may experience fatigue or a lack of energy while taking amitriptyline.
  • Increased Heart Rate: Amitriptyline can cause a rapid or irregular heartbeat in some individuals, particularly at higher doses.
  • Nausea and Vomiting: Some people may experience gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea or vomiting, particularly at the beginning of treatment.
  • Sexual Dysfunction: Amitriptyline can sometimes lead to sexual side effects, including decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, or difficulty achieving orgasm.
  • Sweating: Excessive sweating, particularly at night, can occur as a side effect of amitriptyline.

It’s essential to discuss any side effects you experience with your healthcare provider. They can provide guidance on managing side effects and may adjust your dosage or recommend alternative treatments if necessary. Additionally, if you experience severe or persistent side effects, seek medical attention promptly.

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?

Storage and disposal of amitriptyline:

  • Storage:
    • Store amitriptyline at room temperature, away from moisture and heat.
    • Keep it out of reach of children and pets.
    • Avoid storing amitriptyline in the bathroom or other humid areas.
    • Follow any specific storage instructions provided by your pharmacist or healthcare provider.
  • Disposal:
    • Dispose of any unused or expired amitriptyline properly according to local regulations.
    • Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them down the drain unless instructed to do so.
    • Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal facility for guidance on proper disposal methods.

In case of emergency/overdose

  • In case of an overdose or emergency, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 or seek immediate medical attention.
  • Symptoms of amitriptyline overdose may include extreme drowsiness, confusion, hallucinations, seizures, rapid heart rate, and fainting.
  • Be prepared to provide information about the amount of medication ingested and any other relevant medical history.

What other information should I know?

  • Inform healthcare providers about all medications, supplements, and herbal remedies you are taking before starting amitriptyline, as it may interact with certain substances.
  • Attend all scheduled follow-up appointments with your healthcare provider to monitor your progress and adjust your treatment plan as needed.
  • Do not stop taking amitriptyline suddenly without consulting your healthcare provider, as this can lead to withdrawal symptoms.
  • Keep a list of emergency contacts, including your healthcare provider’s phone number and the nearest hospital, readily available.
  • If you experience any new or worsening symptoms while taking amitriptyline, contact your healthcare provider for guidance.

By following these guidelines and staying informed about storage, disposal, emergency procedures, and other important information, you can help ensure the safe and effective use of amitriptyline. Always consult with your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns about your medication regimen.

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