Amitriptyline hydrochloride

Amitriptyline hydrochloride is an antidepressant drug. It is available as a generic (non-branded) product.

Low-dose amitriptyline can also be used to treat the pain caused by neuropathy (nerve damage), including neuropathy due to diabetes and herpes. Around two thirds of patients who try this treatment have at least moderate pain relief, although a fifth find the drug’s side-effects unacceptable.1

It is less certain whether low-dose amitriptyline is effective in alleviating neuropathy due to HIV or HIV treatment. In one placebo-controlled study of 250 patients with peripheral neuropathy caused by HIV, amitriptyline with or without acupuncture did not bring about a significant improvement in pain symptoms after 14 weeks of treatment.2 Similarly, a ten-week trial of 145 patients failed to show a benefit of amitriptyline over placebo.3

The main side-effects seen with amitriptyline treatment include sedation, perturbations of the heart rhythm, drowsiness, dry mouth, blurred vision, constipation, urinary retention and sweating.

Amitriptyline levels may be increased in patients taking protease inhibitors, with the possible exception of nelfinavir (Viracept). This may increase the risk of amitriptyline-related side-effects and may require the use of a reduced dose of amitriptyline.


  1. Saarto T et al. Antidepressants for neuropathic pain (review). Cochrane Database Syst Rev 3: CD005454, 2005
  2. Shlay JC et al. Acupuncture and amitriptyline for pain due to HIV-related peripheral neuropathy: a randomised controlled trial. JAMA 280: 1590-1595, 1990
  3. Kieburtz K et al. A randomized trial of amitryptiline and mexiletine for painful neuropathy in HIV infection. Neurology 51: 1682-1688, 1998

Community Consensus Statement on Access to HIV Treatment and its Use for Prevention

Together, we can make it happen

We can end HIV soon if people have equal access to HIV drugs as treatment and as PrEP, and have free choice over whether to take them.

Launched today, the Community Consensus Statement is a basic set of principles aimed at making sure that happens.

The Community Consensus Statement is a joint initiative of AVAC, EATG, MSMGF, GNP+, HIV i-Base, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, ITPC and NAM/aidsmap

This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.

NAM’s information is intended to support, rather than replace, consultation with a healthcare professional. Talk to your doctor or another member of your healthcare team for advice tailored to your situation.