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:
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.
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!