Antidepressant: Amitriptyline (generic of Elavil)

From: Helen Dynda (
Sun Feb 20 19:19:29 2000

I was prescribed amitriptyline (generic of Elavil) in the fall of 1975. I was prescribed the lowest strength of amitriptyline - 25mgs to start with. Then my doctor increased the strength of the amitriptyline gradually by 25mgs every 2 weeks until I had reached a level which was giving me the therapeutic help I needed.

He also spent alot of unpaid hours counseling me. He recognized that I was in a lot of pain and also very depressed. Amitriptyline has been recognized as a medication which is helpful for both depression and pain relief. Depression plays a big part in the sensation of chronic pain. Depression can increase the sensation of pain; so it is important to get help for depression too.

A person's amitriptyline level can be monitored by having periodic blood levels drawn. When I first started seeing my psychiatrist in January 1997, she wrote a prescription for me to have a blood level of amitriptyline to be drawn by my doctor. At that time I was taking 225mgs of amitriptyline.

As a result of that test, my blood level of amitriptyline was 525mgs!! My amitriptyline level was at a toxic level! So gradually over several weeks she lowered the number of milligrams I was receiving so that I currently take only 100mgs at night.

She also started me on carbamazapine (generic of Tegretol) -starting at a low level and gradually increasing over several weeks. Currently I take 200mgs in the AM and 400mgs before bedtime. My psychiatrist specializes in pain management -so she knows what she is doing.

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