Amitriptyline – Why have I been prescribed an antidepressant for my back pain?

AmitriptylineAmitriptyline belongs to the group of drugs known as ‘tricyclic antidepressants’ that are also used to treat depression.

However, Amitriptyline is also used to treat many types of persistent pain and it is especially good for nerve pain. Nerve pain can present as a burning, shooting or stabbing pain, this pain is normally referred down to the extremities. This can often be accompanied by pins and needles and/or numbness. In many cases you may find that the manufacturer does not mention pain on the notices on the medication box. However, be assured, amitriptyline has been used to treat pain for many, many years and the prescription of amitriptyline will be to target your nerve pain. The dose of amitriptyline used for pain relief is also usually lower than that prescribed for depression and taken only once or perhaps twice a day.

When taking this drug, it is important to note that every patient is different. Some notice some initial benefit within 2 weeks, however it may take up to 2 months for a full effect. Your doctor may need to increase the dose to get the maximum effect. You should stay in contact with your doctor while taking this drug and make sure to inform them of its effectiveness whether good or bad so that they can correctly control your pain. Amitriptyline does not work for everyone and so you may require the use of other drugs such as gabapentin should you not get the results you desire from amitriptyline.

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