Definition

Tricyclic antidepressant with anticholinergic and sedative properties. It appears to prevent the re-uptake of norepinephrine and serotonin at nerve terminals, thus potentiating the action of these neurotransmitters. Amitriptyline also appears to antagonize cholinergic and alpha-1 adrenergic responses to bioactive amines.

Description

Amitriptyline hydrochloride is a dibenzocycloheptene-derivative tricyclic antidepressant (TCA). TCAs are structurally similar to phenothiazines. They contain a tricyclic ring system with an alkyl amine substituent on the central ring. In non-depressed individuals, amitriptyline does not affect mood or arousal, but may cause sedation. In depressed individuals, amitriptyline exerts a positive effect on mood. TCAs are potent inhibitors of serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake. Tertiary amine TCAs, such as amitriptyline, are more potent inhibitors of serotonin reuptake than secondary amine TCAs, such as nortriptyline. TCAs also down-regulate cerebral cortical β-adrenergic receptors and sensitize post-synaptic serotonergic receptors with chronic use. The antidepressant effects of TCAs are thought to be due to an overall increase in serotonergic neurotransmission. TCAs also block histamine-H1 receptors, α1-adrenergic receptors and muscarinic receptors, which accounts for their sedative, hypotensive and anticholinergic effects (e.g. blurred vision, dry mouth, constipation, urinary retention), respectively. See toxicity section below for a complete listing of side effects. Amitriptyline may be used to treat depression, chronic pain (unlabeled use), irritable bowel syndrome (unlabeled use), diabetic neuropathy (unlabeled use), post-traumatic stress disorder (unlabeled use), and for migraine prophylaxis (unlabeled use).

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Related Pathways

General Information

Toxicity

Mechanism of Action

Amitriptyline Interacts with Diseases

Amitriptyline Interacts with Genes