Amitriptyline Dosage Guide: What Is The Right Dose?

Last Updated: February 7, 2020

Authored by Sharon Levy, MD, MPH

Amitriptyline, sold under Elavil brand name, is prescribed in varying doses for the treatment of several mental illnesses. These amitriptyline dosage amounts vary from patient to patient based on several factors such as age and weight in addition to what it is prescribed for. Also, low-dose amitriptyline may be prescribed off-label for a myriad of other conditions. This article discusses the general information on Elavil dosage that is useful for the patients to know.

Amitriptyline Dosage Strengths

The main dosage form for Elavil is a tablet which varies in various strengths and forms. Amitriptyline HCl tablets for oral administration are available in the following strengths:

Dose Type (tablet/capsule) Color Imprint Code
10mg tablet pink GG 40 on one side of the tablet
25mg tablet light green GG 44 on one side of the tablet
50mg tablet brown GG431 on one side of the tablet
75mg tablet purple GG451 on one side of the tablet
100mg tablet orange GG461 on one side of the tablet
150mg capsule-shaped tablet light green GG 450 on one side of the tablet

Amitriptyline Dose For Depression

Population Starting Target Maximum
Adults 50 to 100 mg/day 150 mg/day 150 mg/day (300mg/day for hospitalized patients)
Geriatric 10 to 25 mg 150 mg/day 150 mg/day
Adolescents 50 mg/day 150 mg/day 150 mg/day

Amitriptyline doses should be taken around the same time each day at about 2 hours before bedtime and as instructed by a doctor. The maximum dose of amitriptyline is 150 mg on average. Taking more than the recommended dosage may be fatal. Therefore, in case of an overdose on amitriptyline pills, emergency amitriptyline overdose treatment should be administered to the patient from a qualified medical professional. The safety of amitriptyline is not approved for children under the age of 12 years.

Amitriptyline Dosage For Sleep Problems

The recommended Elavil dose for the treatment of insomnia is 10 to 50 mg once daily at bedtime. The dose will depend on other factors such as age, with adolescents being prescribed a lower dose. Low-dose amitriptyline is thought to block histamine in the brain, thereby, inducing a feeling of drowsiness. The amitriptyline mechanism of action is the reason doctors sometimes prescribe the drug as a sleep aid.

Elavil dosage for pain

Amitriptyline Dosage For Nerve Pain

This drug is normally more efficacious for neuropathic pain than it is for chronic back pain. Amitriptyline 25 mg tablets can be prescribed as a starting dose. If the patient has minimal nerve pain, the starting dose may be 5-10 mg, which can be increased up to the maximum dose of amitriptyline for nerve pain of between 50 and 150 mg. During this treatment, patients may experience some Elavil side effects and are advised to talk to a doctor on how best to manage them. Elavil and weight gain are connected, and it has been reported as a side effect in some patients, although this side effect is not as common.

Amitriptyline Dosage For Migraines

When used for the treatment of migraine headaches, amitriptyline 25 mg may be prescribed during the initial phase of treatment. As the patient continues to use the drug, a doctor may increase the amount to between 75 and 100 mg, depending on how well the patient tolerates the medicine.

Elavil Dosage Considerations

If the drug is prescribed for patients with hepatic impairments, then low-dose amitriptyline should be administered. Nonetheless, caution should still be taken for dosage adjustments in such situations and should only be administered if the use justifies the risks. No dose adjustment is needed for patients with renal impairment.

blister of pills

Elavil Missed Dose

The missed dose should be taken as soon as the patient remembers it. Do not take double or triple the amount of Elavil pills to make up for the missed ones, as this may cause an overdose. But, if it is nearly time for the next dose, skip the missed one and continue with the normal schedule.

Amitriptyline LD50 Dose

The amitriptyline LD50 dosage ranges from 56mg/kg to 140mg/kg in mice, while in rats it ranges from 72mg/kg to 320mg/kg. The Elavil LD50 has not been studied in human trials.

What Patients Should Know Before Taking Elavil

The main amitriptyline dosage form is tablets that come in 10, 25, 50, 75, 100, and 150 mg strengths. These amitriptyline pills come in different forms and colors and are easily identifiable. Also, there are different doses for different conditions, and it is up to a qualified medical doctor to decide the best amount a day. Taking a dosage that is higher than the amitriptyline max dose should be discouraged as it may result in an overdose. It also can lead to unintentional abuse. Such actions should also be stopped, and an individual should seek professional assistance from drug rehab.

Page Sources

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  2. Thour A, Marwaha R. Amitriptyline. In: StatPearls. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020.
  3. Kamble SV, Motlekar SA, D'souza LL, Kudrigikar VN, Rao SE. Low doses of amitriptyline, pregabalin, and gabapentin are preferred for management of neuropathic pain in India: is there a need for revisiting dosing recommendations?. The Korean Journal of Pain. 2017; 30(3): 183–191. doi:10.3344/kjp.2017.30.3.183.
  4. Couch JR; Amitriptyline Versus Placebo Study Group. Amitriptyline in the prophylactic treatment of migraine and chronic daily headache. Headache. 2011 Jan;51(1):33-51. doi: 10.1111/j.1526-4610.2010.01800.x. Epub 2010 Nov 10.

Published on: February 7th, 2020

Updated on: February 7th, 2020

About Author

Sharon Levy, MD, MPH

After successful graduation from Boston University, MA, Sharon gained a Master’s degree in Public Health. Since then, Sharon devoted herself entirely to the medical niche. Sharon Levy is also a certified addiction recovery coach.


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