There are a variety of conditions Elavil is used for. While it is categorized as a tricyclic antidepressant, and a very effective one at that, it has an analgesic effect that helps with other conditions as well.
What is Elavil (amitriptyline) used for?
First and foremost, however, Elavil (amitriptyline) is used to treat mood disorders like depression, including major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder with associated depressive symptoms. This medication helps to relieve tension and elevate mood by blocking the neurotransmitters responsible for regulating mood, which are serotonin and norepinephrine. Elavil (amitriptyline) has also been known to elevate energy level.
Scientists and clinicians have yet to figure out how Elavil (amitriptyline) has an analgesic (pain relieving) effect on certain types of chronic pain syndromes. They do not know if it has something to do with the blocking and regulation of the neurotransmitters, an additional chemical reaction when it breaks down in the body, or a combination of both. The fact is, though, that Elavil (amitriptyline) has helped patients with chronic pain that were not finding relief with other medications and treatments.
Some of the most common pain syndromes that respond well to Elavil (amitriptyline) include:
- Peripheral neuropathy. These are the nerves that carry messages to and from the brain and spinal cord and move throughout the rest of the body. This condition means that the nerves aren’t working properly.
- Postherpetic neuralgia. This generally happens after an episode and treatment of shingles. It is a pain that lasts for more than a month afterwards and can last several years. Postherpetic neuralgia is frequently unresponsive to other treatment medications but responds well to amitriptyline.
- Migraine headaches
- Chronic low back pain
- Fibromyalgia. This is a wide-spread body pain condition that is very difficult to pinpoint and diagnose. Many believe the condition happens in the joints and muscles, but it is not limited to this system of the body. Some recent studies have shown amitriptyline to be helpful in patients who have a hard time treating this pain with other medications.
- Some types of cancer pain caused by treatment regimens.
In addition to mood disorders like depression and anxiety, Elavil (amitriptyline) has been very successful in treating patients with the eating disorder, bulimia nervosa. This is a condition that is characterized by eating large amounts of food (usually unhealthy foods) and then either vomiting it right up or using excessive amounts of laxatives, diuretics, enemas, over-exercise, or fasting. The neurochemical reaction of amitriptyline seems to help control the urges and symptoms of patients with this condition.