What Is Elavil Used For?
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Elavil is a tricyclic antidepressant. Tricyclic antidepressants are an older group of medications that have been used to treat depression for many years. Even though Elavil has been around for a long time, it is not entirely clear how it works. Elavil affects several chemicals in the brain, including serotonin and norepinephrine.
Elavil is not recommended for use in people less than 12 years old, as it has not been thoroughly studied in children. Antidepressants have been shown to increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in short-term research studies involving children and teenagers (see Amitriptyline and Suicide for more information on the risks of suicide with Elavil). Talk with your healthcare provider about treatment options for childhood or teen depression.
On occasion, your healthcare provider may recommend Elavil for something other than the condition(s) discussed above. This is called an "off-label" use. At this time, there are several off-label Elavil uses, including:
- Chronic pain: Elavil works best for chronic pain that is nerve-related, such as nerve pain from having shingles (including postherpetic neuralgia).
- Anxiety disorders: Many antidepressants (including Elavil) are used to treat anxiety disorders.
- Bedwetting: Elavil has been used to help people stop bedwetting.
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): Elavil can be used to treat ADHD, especially if other ADHD medications have not been effective or have caused side effects.
- Fibromyalgia: Elavil has been used to treat pain and other symptoms of fibromyalgia.
- Prevention of migraine headaches: Elavil can be used on a daily basis to prevent migraine headaches. Elavil is not effective at treating a migraine headache once it starts.
- Treatment for bulimia: Elavil has been found to improve symptoms of bulimia, including binge eating and vomiting.
- Smoking: Elavil is sometimes used to help people quit smoking.