Most Fibromyalgia patients appear to be on Amitriptyline and for me, the small dose makes a big difference as a muscle relaxant. Unfortunately though, I am aware within my support group many people are having trouble with them in a variety of ways.
Most side effects with Amitriptyline are minor and require little or no treatment. Among the common side effects are increased sweating, confusion, and dizziness. Also, people who suddenly stop taking Amitriptyline may experience withdrawal side effects, which can include nausea, headache, irritability, and sleep problems. Amitriptyline side effects that you should not hesitate to report to your GP include changes in heart rhythm, seizures, and hallucinations. As with any medicine, side effects are possible with Amitriptyline, however not everyone who takes the drug will experience these, In fact most people tolerate it well. If you do develop side effects, in many cases they are minor and require no treatment or are easily treated by you or your GP.
In studies side effects are always documented and compared to side effects that occur in people who are not taking the medication. With this in mind, researchers can note what side effects occurred, how often they appeared, and how they compared to the group not taking the medicine.
Common Amitriptyline side effects include but are not limited to:
- Difficulty urinating
- Dry mouth
- Hair loss
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Changes in blood sugar levels
- Increased sweating
As with most medication, if you suddenly stop taking Amitriptyline, withdrawal side effects will occur and they usually include the following:
- Sleep problems
There are a number of side effects that you should report to your healthcare provider as soon as possible. These include but are not limited to:
- Heart attack or stroke
- Changes in heart rhythm (arrhythmia)
- Fast heart rate (tachycardia) or feelings of a rapidly or forcefully beating heart (palpitations)
- Confusion, delusions, or hallucinations
- Signs of an allergic reaction, including:-
- An unexplained rash
- Unexplained swelling
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing
- Any breast changes, including breast enlargement or breast discharge
- Swelling of the testicles
- Yellowing of the eyes or skin (jaundice)
- Anxiety or panic attacks
- Suicidal thoughts or behaviour
Unfortunately, there is no way for your GP to know beforehand if you will have side effects from a medicine that you have never tried. Therefore, be sure to let your GP know if you develop any unusual body changes while taking Amitriptyline or just feel that something “does not seem right.” While it may not be an amitriptyline side effect, your GP will be able to diagnose and treat the problem.
Kaye Townsend (MBACP)