Amitriptyline For IBS

Amitriptyline for IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a relatively common drug treatment. I will discuss reasons for this, side effects and much more.

It has antidepressant qualities as well as being a pain relieving medication, used to help chronic pain states.

Its an excellent drug, but unfortunately does have some side effects.

The drug is part of a group of drugs called tricyclic antidepressants that work by modifying the pain messengers in the brain.

It has been shown to be helpful in some cases, particularly when pain is a main issue.

Amitriptyline Tablets In IBS

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  • The Doctors View - my view on its use in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome

What Is Amitriptyline?


Amitriptyline treatment has a non-licensed use (UK) in Irritable Bowel Syndrome

It is also used in depression and bed wetting in children.

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Drug Names

The medications trade names include:

  • Amitriptyline
  • Elavil
  • Lentizol
  • Tryptizol
  • Bupropion
  • Wellbutrin 

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The drug should be used with caution in:

  • Heart disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Elderly  People
  • Liver Disease
  • Thyroid Disease
  • Phaeochromocytoma
  • People with mania and psychosis
  • A history of drug sensitivity
  • When taking other medications
  • Glaucoma
  • Urine retention

Always discuss this with a health care professional.

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The treatment is contraindicated in people who:

  • Have had a recent heart attack or myocardial infarction
  • Have palpitations with heart irregularities
  • Have severe liver disease

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Side Effects

Side effects of Amitriptyline in IBS include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Drowsiness
  • Blurred Vision 
  • Constipation
  • Difficulty passing urine
  • Nausea
  • Positional low blood pressure
  • Fast heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Tremor
  • Rashes
  • Hypersensitivity to the medication
  • Behavioral changes
  • Hypomania or mania
  • Confusion
  • Interference with sexual function
  • Blood sugar changes
  • Increased appetite
  • Weight gain/loss
  • Hormone changes
  • Movement disorders
  • Blood disorders
  • Salt imbalance
  • Abnormal liver function tests

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In adult Irritable bowel syndrome, the dose is normally started low at 10mg at night.

This can be increased to a maximum dose of 150 mg. The lower dose is less likely to cause side-effects.

The Key To IBS Freedom

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The Doctors View On Amitriptyline For IBS

Amitriptyline has been used as treatment for a long time now.

It has very special qualities that suit certain sufferers. These include sedating effects for those who have trouble sleeping, pain relieving qualities which are important in some sufferers who have significant pain issues and can also help in the regulation of your bowel.

It is best in diarrhea predominant symptoms as it has the so called "anticholinergic effect". This results in a reduction of bowel motility so constipation sufferers are less likely to gain the benefits from it (and can have worsening symptoms).

Some sufferers can't tolerate the drug because of its "hangover effect" from it's sedative properties. For those getting up early in the morning to work, in driving or anyone operating machinery, drowsiness can be a problemativ issue. In this situation, the use of the newer SSRI's might be an alternative. I would encourage you to read more about more this by going to the IBS and antidepressants page.

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