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Elavil and Headaches: Associated With Fibromyalgia?

Elavil and headaches, along with its' cousin, Pamelor (nortriptyline), are very effective medications for a variety of headaches and fibromyalgia. This is because of several benefits these drugs have. I will start with Elavil.

Elavil (amitriptyline) is an older drug in the anti-depressant category. It treats depression at high doses only. At low doses it causes sedation, is an anti-spasmotic (for neck pain) and treats headaches! In addition to treating the muscular pain of fibromyalgia, Elavil can also ease neuropathic or stabbing type pain.

I usually tell people to take it an hour before bed. It will help correct those poor lifestyle issues such as sleep disturbances. It will calm down chronic daily headaches and migraines. When it comes to Elavil and headaches, also eases spasms in the neck that contribute to cervicogenic headaches.

NOTE: I advise all patients to take this medication 1-2 hours before bed. This drug peaks in about two hours so you will feel tired and want to sleep..taking it this early before bed avoids oversedation and a sense of fatigue the next day. You should give the drug a 90 day trial to see its full effect for headache and for fibromyalgia.

  • Fibromyalgia Treatment

As a medicine for fibromyalgia, Elavil (amitriptyline) is an excellent medication to reduce pain and spasms. Elavil is an anti-spasmotic and can ease muscle pain. It will also dampen nerve pain to these muscles. You must give it some time however, perhaps two or three weeks before you begin to see some effect.

Once again, like migraine treatment, I start with low doses, perhaps 10mg, taken 2 hours before bed.

  • Side Effects

Well, the biggest one is a benefit! Sedation! See how we use some medications to our benefit? Like other drugs that get into your brain it can also cause dizziness and rarely do I hear of nausea. Some people get "vivid dreams" but that tends to wear off with time.

Weight gain is not an issue with this medication when used in small pediatric doses. Pamelor is chemically similar to Elavil but has some minor differences. For those people who cannot tolerate Elavil, I will use small doses of Pamelor as a treatment for migraine and other types of headache.

These drugs are also VERY useful and considered the drug of choice for post-traumatic head injury headaches.

Again the side effects are similar, but Pamelor has a little more nausea associated with it. Rarely they can cause urinary retention and conversely, urinary frequency.

These medications are meant to be use daily for chronic headaches and aren't really effective when used on an "as needed" basis.

Neither of these drugs should be taken if you are pregnant, nor if you have a history of cardiac arrythmias.

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