Elavil (amitriptyline) is a tricyclic antidepressant used for both mood disorders and chronic pain conditions. Like most medications, especially those that work with brain chemistry, Elavil (amitriptyline) dosage comes in various amounts with risks and precautions to keep in mind with use. Elavil (amitriptyline) is most commonly taken in oral tablet form, but can also be administered intramuscularly. This medication is not recommended for use in children under the age of 12, so all dosages discussed below are for adults and adolescents.
Elavil (amitriptyline) tablets come in the following doses:
- 10 mg blue tablet
- 25 mg yellow tablet
- 50 mg beige tablet
- 75 mg orange tablet
- 100 mg mauve tablet
- 150 mg blue capsule-shaped pill
The injection usually comes in doses of 10 mg/mL and is a clear, colorless solution. It’s generally supplied in 10 mL vials and given at 20 to 30 mg four times a day. This administration is used for patients with swallowing difficulties or intolerance to pills.
The initial dose for adults on an outpatient basis is 75 mg every day, usually divided into several small dosages. This can be gradually increased to 150 mg per day if the 75 mg does not work efficiently. With the higher doses of Elavil, a sedative effect is likely to occur before the antidepressive effect, so any increase should be done in afternoon or nighttime doses instead of morning doses.
Alternatively, some physicians like to start with a lower dose first. They will start with 50 mg and move to 100 mg at bedtime, increasing in increments of 25 mg as necessary until reaching 150 mg daily if needed.
Patients who are hospitalized for a severe mood disorder may need an initial dose of 100 mg to load their system. This can be increased to 200 mg or even 300 mg if needed throughout the stay, but these patients should be very closely monitored for side effects and adverse reactions.
For adolescents and elderly patients, the dosage is much smaller. These patients are usually given 10 mg 3 times a day with 20 mg at bedtime, and this has proven to be sufficient for treatment of their condition.
Once side effects and sedative effects reside, the usual maintenance dose for all patients is 50 to 100 mg each day. In patients with less of a neurotransmitter imbalance or more mild depressive and/or pain symptoms, 40 mg a day has proven to be enough for adequate treatment.
Elavil (amitriptyline) overdose can be serious and even fatal, so regular monitoring is required. Using alcohol can exacerbate symptoms and cause an overdose of this tricyclic antidepressant as well. Toxicity develops after tricyclic overdose, so hospitalization will be required for monitoring and treatment. Symptoms of overdose include cardiac dysrhythmia, severe low blood pressure, convulsions, depression of nervous system (including coma), and changes in heart rhythm. Dosing should be done carefully and patients should take Elavil (amitriptyline) only as directed by their physician.