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How does antidepressant Elavil (Amitriptyline) cause Weight gain

Updated on February 9, 2012

Elavil is medication in tricyclic antidepressant family. Its generic name is Amitriptyline. It is prescribed for depression, nocturnal enuresis in children and neuropathic pain. However, it can cause many side effects such as drowsiness and weight gain.

How Elavil cause weight gain

Elavil inhibits histamine action in the central nervous system. Long term inhibition of histamine receptors in the brain causes deranged metabolism, which can lead to weight gain. In addition, people with depression with low appetite may start eating more once the depression is settled. Therefore, weight can get increased. In addition, Elavil can cause increased appetiteĀ  on its own. This can cause weight gain.

How to prevent Elavil induced weight gain?

As with any weight loss regime, the patient can change their life style. In addition, reducing high caloric food and increasing exercise can help to reduce the weight gain associated with Elavil. In addition, the patient can change the drug to drug which does not cause weight gain. Welbutrin and Bupropion are anti-depressants of choice when the weight gain is an issue. However, there is a possibility of precipitating another depressive episode with the change of drug. Therefore, it is not recommended if your depression is stabilized with Elavil. But you can change it with proper medical guidance.


Elavil or Amitriptyline is an antidepressant that can cause weight gain due to its anti-histamine properties. It can be prevented by following simple weight loss plan. In addition, changing the drug to a non weight gain anti depressant can resolve it.


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    • njmanura profile image

      Dr Manura Nanayakkara 6 years ago from Sri Lanka

      A good alternative is Venlafaxine or Effexor. It causes reduced appetite.

    • profile image

      Polar 6 years ago

      If I am taking Elavil for chronic pain and am concerned about weight gain, is there something else that works for this purpose without increasing the risk of drug-related weight gain?

    • njmanura profile image

      Dr Manura Nanayakkara 6 years ago from Sri Lanka

      Thank you for the comment

    • profile image

      Kyle Tyler 6 years ago

      Thanks a ton in the awesome submit. My spouse and i will enjoy perusing a lot more via people down the road.