I was prescribed Amitriptyline for depression. I was also suffering from insomnia as a result of the depression and this was the deciding factor in my GP giving me this drug.

At first I was started out on a low dosage, 25mg daily, to be taken in the morning. In order for this drug to be effective one must build up the dosage over a period of a time as it is incredibly easy and dangerous to overdose on it.

Every couple of weeks I would return to my doctor for a new prescription for the higher dosage, which would usually go up by 25mg each time. After taking the medication for a very short time I noticed some side effects. The most irritating of which was the dry mouth. My tongue constantly felt like sandpaper and I had to carry everywhere, two bottles of water for me to sip, to be refilled frequently. As a result of this I had to visit the ladies room far more often than normal, which irritated me even more. The dry mouth wasn't just dry though, it hurt like hell. I had to sit with my mouth open and tongue sticking out for some sort of relief which got more than a few strange looks. Talking was difficult, frustrating and painful.
Another side effect (which is the main reason I was given Amitriptyline) was extreme drowsiness. Before, I would usually go for a whole week getting roughly 15 hours sleep. On Amitriptyline, I felt sedated and almost narcoleptic. I would visit friends and fall asleep an hour or so after arriving, I lay down on the floor to cuddle my dog once and awoke 3 hours later. This was happening on a 100mg a day dosage and my psychiatric nurse informed me that for me to feel any real benefit, my dosage would most likely have to be doubled.

I was quiet distressed by this, I was already clinically depressed and now I had a mouth drier than a camel's arse and felt perpetually exhausted and sleepy, to the point of sleeping through shifts at work.
I kicked up shit with my doctor and was eventually prescribed fluoxetine and temazepam, ahh, good old prozac!

WARNING!
If you are ever prescribed this drug; never, ever under any circumstances drink alcohol while on it! In my foolish teenage rebelious nature I decided to ignore the warning on the packet, very bad idea. It magnified all the worst feelings I'd ever felt and slapped me with it all at once in full force. I felt more suicidal and drunk than ever before and did some very stupid things while in this state. I was lucky though, I had people around to look after me and stop me from doing something I would really regret.

This is a prescription drug used to treat depression (it is classed as a tricyclic antidepressant and is sold under trade names such as Elavil and Endep). It may cause a wide range of side effects, including rashes, nausea, weight gain/loss, drowsiness, nervousness, insomnia, confusion, seizures, coma, etc.

From the BioTech Dictionary at http://biotech.icmb.utexas.edu/. For further information see the BioTech homenode.

Also, in cases of chronic pain, some doctors may prescribe Amitriptyline as a sort of pain killer, operating on the assumption that an elevated mood may increase one's pain threshold. It won't actually relieve the pain you're suffering, but will make you better equipt to deal with it. I was prescribed a daily dose of Amitriptyline after years of suffering with a herniated disc. It made me very very drowsy, and was all but ineffective as a pain killer.

Amitriptyline is also prescribed, in low doses, to sufferers of frequent insomnia, especially where the underlying cause is anxiety. Based upon the assumption that anxiety at the subconscious level could be a factor in episodes of insomnia, it may also be prescribed when the patient cannot identify a single, evident cause (eg, financial worries, restless leg syndrome, other illnesses) in order to limit the frustrating effects of long-term insomnia.

In addition, as its most notable and widely-reported side-effect happens to be overwhelming drowsiness, it is useful as a sleeping drug in its own right.

Long-term use leads to dependence, and withdrawal from the drug must be gradual otherwise the patient may relapse into drug-dependent insomnia. Some patients report nightmares as another side-effect.

The following information is a comprehensive list of side-effects associated with the drug:

Side-effects
Older adults are especially liable to certain side effects of Amitriptyline, including rapid heart-beat, constipation, dry mouth, blurred vision, drowsiness and confusion, and are in greater danger of sustaining a fall.

Abnormal movements, anxiety, black tongue, blurred vision, breast development in males, breast enlargement, coma, confusion, constipation, delusions, diarrhoea, 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, fatigue, fluid retention, hair loss, hallucinations, headache, heart attack, hepatitis, high blood pressure, high fever, high or low blood sugar, hives, impotence, insomnia, increased or decreased sex drive, hyperhydrosis (excessive sweating), 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, 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, tachycardia (rapid heart beat) 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 sudden stop or rapid withdrawal from amitriptyline:
Headache, nausea, vague feeling of bodily discomfort.

Side-effects associated with gradual withdrawal from amitriptyline:
Dream and sleep disturbances, irritability, restlessness.

These side effects do not signify an addiction to the drug.

Overdosage

An overdose of amitriptyline can prove fatal.

Symptoms of amitriptyline overdose may include:
Abnormally low blood pressure, confusion, convulsions, dilated pupils and other eye problems, disturbed concentration, drowsiness, hallucinations, impaired heart function, rapid or irregular heartbeat, reduced body temperature, stupor, unresponsiveness, heart attack,or coma./p> Symptoms contrary to the effect of this medication are: Agitation, extremely high body temperature, overactive reflexes, rigid muscles, vomiting.

Yes, I've taken it for insomnia. I didn't suffer much at all on the very low dosage I was prescribed - but I can vouch for its effect on insomniacs!

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