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Amitriptyline - What doctors don't know

Amitriptyline tablets contain Amitriptyline Hydrochloride as the active ingredient. It is a trycyclic anti-depressant, which alters the levels of various chemicals in the brain to relieve the symptoms of depression.

This all sounds very good, and for most people they work well, but some funny effects occur with some people which some doctors completely deny.

If you have the wrong diseases, you can end up with any or all of the following set of symptoms, which disappear some time after you stop taking the drug, and some doctors will not accept the possibility of any relation to the drug whatsoever. The list of symptoms include:

Severe depression (about nothing in particular), sometimes to suicidal levels
Paranoia, sometimes of quite extreme levels
A short temper, often incredibly short

This disbelief from doctors comes despite research about paradoxical reactions to amitriptyline which points out that exactly this response can happen. Unfortunately, the people who are linked to have started to only show the abstract of the paper, making the link less useful for ordinary people.

Some of the groups who seem prone to this include sufferers of the following disorders:

The problem with this is that although the datasheet for the drug says that it should only stay in the system for a few days after you stop taking it, the negative effects can (for people in the groups mentioned above) linger in slowly decreasing amounts for anywhere up to a year. This wouldn't be too bad, but as reported at healthy place, this is a known problem with the drug for at least one recognised disorder.

All of the time that you are suffering from those terrible symptoms, your doctor is saying that the pills can't possibly have anything to do with it, and often refusing to accept that the symptoms exist, and using that as an excuse for not prescribe anything for the symptoms.

If that wasn't bad enough, if it is you that suffers from it then you can end up with a diagnosis of hypochondriasis, and if it is your child then you can end up with a diagnosis of munchousen's syndrome by proxy. Both of these diagnosis are usually added to your records by the doctor who doesn't believe you, and are almost impossible to get removed, even if you are later proved right. Further more, once you have either of these on your records, they are then used as a reason to dismiss anything that you say that the doctor disagrees with.

On the whole, not a very positive attitude to mental health. If you know of any more symptoms, or other groups similarly affected, or any other drugs that have undocumented side effects, then email me and they will be added to the website in the right place.

I hope that this information helps you, even if your doctor does continue to disbelieve you.

On a less possitive note, it seems that this problem is not limited to this one drug, but can occur with any of the selective seratonin uptake inhibitors.

last modified 16:02 2005/08/07