Posted by: Antonia | 2009-06-18


Dear Dr, I wonder if I could ask for your advice please. My best friend (we were school buddies throughout) tended to be on the depressive side and after not doing well on any of the general A/D' s her psychiatrist started her on Elavil. She was on 10mg' s initially and over a two year period as it really seemed to help where others hadn' t - this med was gradually increased to where for about a year and a half she is now taking 100mg' s per day.
I caught her the other day drinking two after breakfast and two after lunch as she said she is under a great deal of stress and they help to calm her down. I am becoming rather panicky now as when we got to braai' s or socials, she also has a couple of beers and other alcoholic drinks and I distinctly remember she should not drink with this A/D/ Please can you tell me, since we share a cottage together and I more or less see whatever she eats and drinks, what quantity of Elavil can she actually safely take? Her Psych Doc is overseas for 6 months and supplied my friend with enough medication till the Dr returns home but I would hate to see something happening to her simply because she is not understanding how important staying under a certain dose is.
I would be most thankful for any feedback you can give me.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImagePharmacist

Hi A

Elavil (amitriptyline) is an tricyclic antidepressant. "Normal" doses range up to 150 mg per day. In severe cases it may be increased up to 300 mg.

Sedation is potentiated by alcohol and is one of the main reasons why it should be used together - espescially when driving. It may increase the risk of liver damage if taken together often.

Most important: She should keep at the dose her doc prescribed, and not change it herself!

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