Author: James Anderson

Mixing Alcohol & Elavil Amitriptyline: Side Effects & Overdose Risks

amitriptyline and alcohol

Your doctor may need to adjust your diabetes medication, exercise program, or diet. This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy or blur your vision. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you more dizzy or drowsy.

  1. If you cannot avoid being in the sun, wear protective clothing and use sunscreen.
  2. Amitriptyline belongs to a class of drugs known as tricyclic antidepressants.
  3. Drinking can also exacerbate other side effects of Elavil, like dizziness and headaches.
  4. It belongs to a group of medications called tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs).
  5. You’ll soon start receiving the latest Mayo Clinic health information you requested in your inbox.

The half-life of a drug is the time it takes for the blood concentration of a drug to reduce by one-half. It takes about 5 half-lives for a drug to be fully eliminated from your body. So, after about 50 to 140 hours (about 2 to 6 days), most of amitriptyline is gone from your body. Some young people have thoughts about suicide when first taking an antidepressant.

What should I tell my care team before I take this medication?

Amitriptyline can interact with a number of prescription medications. This medication is especially dangerous when combined with other antidepressants, such as other tricyclic antidepressants or MAOIs. This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use.

amitriptyline and alcohol

This can be increased gradually to 200 mg or 300 mg per day if necessary. Amitriptyline increases the action of norepinephrine and serotonin, neurotransmitters that play a role in modulating pain and mood. Specifically, amitriptyline prevents the termination of the action of these neurotransmitters by preventing their uptake into membrane receptors. Amitriptyline is listed as an essential medicine by the World Health Organization. It is a generic formulation that was previously manufactured under brand names like Elavil and Endep, which have been discontinued.


If necessary, you can place your medication in a pillbox to help you manage your medication schedule. Follow your prescriber’s instructions and never alter your dose on your own. Alcohol and antihistamines like Benadryl have a depressant effect and shouldn’t be consumed when taking amitriptyline. This article looks at amitriptyline and why it may be prescribed. It also discusses precautions, dosage, warnings, and side effects.

If you are drinking, you should not be driving or operating heavy machinery at all. However, if you have combined alcohol and Elavil, you should be wary of doing so even the day after, and the effects can stay in your body for a while. Also, avoid any other activities that require you to be alert, such as cycling, using gym equipment or supervising children. The main reason why amitriptyline should not be mixed with alcohol is that alcohol is a depressant, meaning it too causes fatigue and drowsiness. Combining the two can increase the effect, making you excessively sleepy and reducing alertness. In extreme cases, this could lead to passing out or blackouts.

amitriptyline and alcohol

Dizziness, drowsiness, and confusion can increase the risk of falling. Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products). Read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start taking amitriptyline and each time you get a refill.

Do not use amitriptyline if you have used an MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days, such as isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue injection, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, or tranylcypromine. Selected from data included with permission and copyrighted by First Databank, Inc. This copyrighted material has been downloaded from a licensed data provider and is not for distribution, except as may be authorized by the applicable terms of use.

Stopping this medication too quickly may cause serious side effects or your condition may worsen. As a rule, avoid drinking when taking Elavil, as this is the easiest way to make sure you stay safe. If you know you are going to be drinking and taking Elavil, let your friends know and ask them to keep an eye on you. If you start feeling excessively sleepy, drowsy or dizzy, ask them to help you get home. Elavil is a common brand of the drug amitriptyline, a tricyclic antidepressant (TCA). This type of antidepressant was amongst the first to be developed and distributed, which means that Elavil has been around since the 1960s.

Off-Label Dose

Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Lab and/or medical tests (such as EKG, liver function, amitriptyline blood level) may be done while you are taking this medication. This medication may make you more sensitive to the sun. Use sunscreen and wear protective clothing when outdoors. Tell your doctor right away if you get sunburned or have skin blisters/redness. This is not a complete list of possible side effects.

QT prolongation can rarely cause serious (rarely fatal) fast/irregular heartbeat and other symptoms (such as severe dizziness, fainting) that need medical attention right away. Overall, it is true that the negative effects of mixing alcohol and amitriptyline are not as serious as with some other antidepressants. The main risk lies in making you excessively drowsy, which can be dangerous. This is more likely to happen if you have just started taking Elavil or if you have just increased your dose. Don’t stop taking an antidepressant or other medication just so that you can drink.

If this happens, especially at the beginning of treatment or after a change in dose, call your care team. Medicines that interact with amitriptyline may either decrease its effect, affect how long it works, increase side effects, or have less of an effect when taken with amitriptyline. An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of the medications; however, sometimes it does. Speak to your doctor about how drug interactions should be managed. The standard maintenance dose of amitriptyline for the treatment of depression is 75 mg per day, either once at bedtime, or divided into two doses per day.

Before using amitriptyline, report all medications you are currently using to your doctor or pharmacist. Other medications can affect the removal of amitriptyline from your body, thereby affecting how amitriptyline works. These drugs include cimetidine, drugs to treat irregular heart rate (such as quinidine/propafenone/flecainide), antidepressants (such as SSRIs including paroxetine/fluoxetine/fluvoxamine). Amitriptyline can cause drug interactions and side effects, some of them severe.

It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers. Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor’s approval. provides accurate and independent information on more than 24,000 prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines and natural products.