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Doctors' Answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" - Elavil

These comments are made for the purpose of discussion and should NOT be used as recommendations for or against therapies or other treatments. An individual patient is always advised to consult their own physician.

[posted 06/11/2000]
Question: My husband is currently taking elavil for sleep. I would like to know if there has ever been any evidence that this drug affects reproductive health for men.

Answer: it can decrease sexual libido, but not sperm count etc. What do you mean by reproductive health?

[posted 02/9/2000]
Question: Can withdrawal from Elavil cause depression? I've been feeling really depressed ever since I went off of it.

Answer: Sure, but usually just a return of the original depression.

[posted 01/23/2000]
Question: I have been trying to get pregnant since April with no luck. I have been charting my ovulation and body temps...I have been taking elavil for several years. I was wondering if Elavil can affect one's fertility and if I should not be taking it now. I was going to immediately go off of it once I found out I was pregnant. Thank you.

Answer: Elavil is a Class C drug in pregnancy and there are reports of teratogenic changes in animal models using high dosing which is the basis for the C classification. There is no mention of impaired fertility in the PDR for this drug, so if it is present, it is pretty minimal.

[posted 08/26/1999]
Question: I was searching the web to find out more on Elavil. My Doctor prescribed Elavil, 10 miligrams at bedtime. I've taken it for two days and so far the pain is almost nil. Needless to say, I'm very happy about the results. My question is: what can I do to reduce the prognosis about weight gain? Thank you for your response.

Answer: There's not a lot that can be done to reduce this problem, but at this dosage, I doubt you'll have much of a problem.

[posted 08/25/1999]
Question: Post polio patients often have low levels of serotonin. Casual observation indicates a link between pain levels and weather conditions. At the approach of a storm front pain levels are markedly increased and dramatically decreased once it starts to rain. There may be a link between these conditions and negative ions if the ions do in fact increase serotonin levels.

Are you aware of any treatments for post polio and serotonin levels and/or any connections between serotonin levels and negative ions?

Any information or direction you could give would be very helpful in my investigation of these relationships.


Jim Mc Williams

Answer: Don't know of any research here. But, serotonin raising drugs would be Elavil and SRI antidepressants, discuss a trial of use with your doctor.

[posted 08/20/1999]
Question: Is it OK to take Metabolife with Elavil?

Answer: yes

[posted 08/20/1999]
Question: Five days ago I started taking Elavil, 50mg, at bedtime as
prescribd by my doctor for migraine headaches. Every morning, I have had a terribly difficult time waking up (very unlike me). What can you tell me about taking this medication for Migraine headaches? Will the sleepy mornings end? All the information I have seen regarding taking Elavil has been for depression. How does smoking marijuana effect the use of elavil? Thank you in advance for your thoughful advice.

Answer: The drowsiness will persist as long as you take the Elavil. Try taking it a few hours before bed instead of at bed. Also, there are other medications to try if you have not. Check out the FAQ section.

Elavil vs. Valium  [posted 12/02/98]
Question: I have been taking valium as a muscle relaxant for myofacial pain syndrome, as I am allergic to all other muscle relaxants. My physician wants to change me to elavil, will this have the  same effect? I am not depressed, and do take a pain med. hydrocodone. I am not sure if this   is a good idea to change to, I understand that Valium is not in the same class, but will this elavil work in a similar way?

Answer:  Elavil is an antidepressant used to enhance Stage IV sleep. This is a common disorder in myofascial pain syndromes and a standard treatment. Valium belongs to the benzodiazepine class of drugs and works very differently. You can use both at the risk of sedation. Avoid Narcotics if you can in this syndrome. They may be necessary;but, are addicting(so is Valium by the way) Elavil is not.

Elavil & Serotonin Levels [posted 11/24/98]
Question: What is the relationship between tryptophan levels and seratonin levels in obese patients with red meat diets versus those with white diets, specifically fowl not pork, and does elavil correct these levels?

Answer: Elavil clearly elevates serotonin levels. I really don't know about tryptophan levels. However, levels can be checked pre and post medication.

Why Does Elavil Cause a Sweet Tooth [posted 11/11/98]
Question: Why does Elavil cause patients to have a Sweet Tooth? It also causes weight gain? use. Why is that? What part of its composition does this?

Answer: It seems to have some effect on the "hunger center" in the brain, exactly what it is isn't clear;but, appears to center around serotonin.

Elavil General Information [posted 10/9/98]
Question: please tell me the do's and don't with this new pill called elavil

Answer: Elavil belongs to a class of drugs called tricyclics. They are effective for depression and pain control. Elavil is relatively sedating which can limit it usefulness. It takes about 3 weeks or longer for the antidepressant effect to begin, you will also experience a dry mouth and constipation. This pill can be very toxic in high doses and can cause cardiac arrthymias if not monitored correctly.

Elavil [posted 7/21/98]
Question: I've been prescribed Elavil for chronic pain and have been concerned about the long term side effects. Is there anything to worry about, or is this drug pretty safe?

Answer: Not habit forming if that is what you mean. It does produce sedation and can produce cardiac irregularities in some. You should have an EKG done from time to time. However, the doses used for chronic pain are usually smaller than for depression and less likely to cause the cardiac problem. Long term appears to be similar safety to short term. That is, no extra problems to be concerned about.

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but in the long run won't it be more profitable

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