Amitriptyline hydrochloride - originally sold under brand names Elavil, Endep and others, is a second-line drug used to treat, , and, recently,
It was discovered more than 70 years ago, and, despite a wide range of debilitating side effects, and the discontinuation of Elavil and Endep, it's still in use. In the US alone there are around 8 million prescriptions per year.
Amitriptyline hydrochloride is an antidepressant with sedative effects. Its mechanism of action in man is not known. It is not a monoamine oxidase inhibitor and it does not act primarily by stimulation of the central nervous system.
Amitriptyline inhibits the membrane pump mechanism responsible for uptake of norepinephrine and serotonin in adrenergic and serotonergic neurons. Pharmacologically this action may potentiate or prolong neuronal activity since reuptake of these biogenic amines is important physiologically in terminating transmitting activity. This interference with reuptake of norepinephrine and/or serotonin is believed by some to underlie the antidepressant activity of amitriptyline.
Source : US NIH
Note : For some uses, e.g. in treating ADHD and Parkinson's, there is currently no formal agreement about whether it's effective or not.
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