(Elavil is another name for this medication.)
What Is It?: This medication is used to make your pet feel less anxious when it is away from you (separation anxiety) or during certain frightening circumstances (thunderstorms, fireworks). Amitriptyline is also useful in stopping some bad behaviors such as urine spraying or excessive biting and chewing of skin. It is also used in birds to stop behavior problems such as feather picking.
How To Use: This medication is usually given one to two times daily. It may take several weeks before changes in behavior are seen. Do not skip doses. Amitriptyline must be mixed into a special dosage form when used in birds. Most birds will receive a liquid form that should be stored exactly as the pharmacist has recommended. Sometimes amitriptyline is mixed into a cream or gel that can be applied to the skin. This can provide similar results without the need to feed a tablet or capsule. Apply the product as directed by the pharmacist (usually to the inside of the ear(s)). Wash hands after applying.
Possible Side Effects: The most common side effects from amitriptyline are drowsiness, constipation, and dry mouth. Amitriptyline may also cause blood sugar to either increase or decrease in diabetic patients. Very high doses of amitriptyline can cause severe damage to the heart.
Warning: Some other drugs can interact with this medication so tell your veterinarian about any drugs or foods that you currently give your animal. Do not give new foods or medications without first asking your veterinarian.
Storage: Keep in the original container. Keep out of the reach of children. Capsules and tablets may be stored at room temperature. Some liquids should be stored in the refrigerator (see the prescription label.) Store all medicines away from excess heat and moisture. Topical creams may be stored at room temperature. Do NOT store in the bathroom.
Note: If you miss a dose give it as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with the regular schedule. Do not give a double dose to make up for the missed one.