Amitriptyline, aka Elavil is sometimes given as an adjuvant pain medication to chronic back pain sufferers. Learn about Elavil as a pain medication for back pain.
1. What Is Amitriptyline?Amitriptyline is the generic name for an antidepressant medication sometimes prescribed off-label to manage chronic back pain. Tricyclic antidepressants, including amitriptyline, is a drug class in a category known as adjuvant pain medications. In the U.S., the brand name for amitriptyline is Elavil. Amitriptyline is generally tried if conservative treatments, including medications such as NSAIDs and Tylenol, have not been effective for relieving the pain. Amitriptyline is not a narcotic drug.
neuropathic type of chronic back pain. For spine pain sufferers, this usually means your pain radiates down an arm or leg. Although amitriptyline's pain relieving abilities are independent of its antidepressant effect, the drug works by increasing the amount of certain brain chemicals necessary for mental balance. Amitriptyline is also used to treat fibromyalgia, which is a condition marked by widespread pain and tender points.
3. Is Amitriptyline Effective?Amitriptyline is the most studied of all the tricyclic antidepressants. It has been in use since the 1960s. According to Dr. Kathleen Fink, Director of Pain Services at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington D.C., it is underutilized due to the newer tricyclic antidepressants that have been developed since its entry onto the market. Fink says doctors are not comfortable prescribing amitriptyline for chronic spine pain because the side effects can make you feel hung over in the morning. "But in reality," she says, "amitriptyline is an effective and inexpensive medication for managing chronic back pain, especially if you are also having problems sleeping."
drug interaction with amitriptyline. Birth control pills and hormone therapy are also examples of substances that could cause problems when mixed with amitriptyline.