What is safer than amitriptyline?

There are many medications available for the treatment of depression, chronic pain, and sleep disorders that are considered safer than amitriptyline. While amitriptyline can be effective in treating these conditions, it can also cause a range of side effects and may not be appropriate for everyone.

  1. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs):
    SSRIs are a class of medications that are commonly used to treat depression and anxiety. Unlike tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline, SSRIs have a lower risk of side effects, including drowsiness, dry mouth, and weight gain. 1. A meta-analysis published in the journal PLOS ONE found that SSRIs were effective in treating depression and had a favorable safety profile compared to other antidepressant medications.
  2. Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs):
    NSAIDs are a class of medications that are commonly used to 2. treat pain and inflammation. Unlike amitriptyline, NSAIDs do not affect neurotransmitter levels in the brain and are not associated with the same range of side effects. While NSAIDs can cause side effects such as stomach upset and increased risk of bleeding, they are generally considered safe when taken as directed.
  3. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT):
    CBT is a form of therapy that is often used in conjunction with medication to treat depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. Unlike medications such as amitriptyline, CBT does not have any associated side effects and is generally considered safe for most people. 3. A meta-analysis published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology found that CBT was effective in treating depression and anxiety and had a lower risk of relapse compared to medication alone.

Overall, while amitriptyline can be effective in treating depression, chronic pain, and sleep disorders, there are many other treatment options available that are considered safer and have a lower risk of side effects. It is important to talk to your doctor about all of your treatment options and to choose the option that is most appropriate for your individual needs.


  1. Cipriani, A., Furukawa, T. A., Salanti, G., Chaimani, A., Atkinson, L. Z., Ogawa, Y., … & Geddes, J. R. (2018). Comparative efficacy and acceptability of 21 antidepressant drugs for the acute treatment of adults with major depressive disorder: a systematic review and network meta-analysis. PLOS ONE, 13(5), e0196975.
  2. Derry, S., Wiffen, P. J., Moore, R. A., & Quinlan, J. (2017). Topical NSAIDs for chronic musculoskeletal pain in adults. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (5), CD007400.
  3. Hofmann, S. G., Asnaani, A., Vonk, I. J., Sawyer, A. T., & Fang, A. (2012). The efficacy of cognitive behavioral therapy: A review of meta-analyses. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 36(5), 427–440.

There are various forms of drugs available, such as tablets or liquids, and each may have a separate patient information leaflet (PIL) for different doses. It is important to refer to the PIL for the specific form and dose of the drug that you have been prescribed.

You can search for further information and PILs on websites such as:

  • The British National Formulary (BNF)
  • Electronic medicines compendium (emc)
  • The National Library of Medicine's DailyMed
  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 
  • Different drug forms like tablets or liquids have specific patient information leaflets (PIL) for various doses. Refer to the PIL for your prescribed drug form and dose.

    Search for PILs on websites like:


    • ANSM (Agence nationale de sécurité du médicament et des produits de santé): ansm.sante.fr


    • AEMPS (Agencia Española de Medicamentos y Productos Sanitarios): aemps.gob.es


    • BfArM (Bundesinstitut für Arzneimittel und Medizinprodukte): bfarm.de


    For questions about your medication:

    • Consult your doctor, a healthcare professional, or a pharmacist


    • Contact SOS Médecins: 3624
    • For mental health support, contact SOS Suicide: 01 45 39 40 00

    Belgium (French)

    Switzerland (French)

    • La Main Tendue: 143
    • Website: 143.ch

    Canada (French)

    • Centre de prévention du suicide du Québec: 1 866 APPELLE (1 866 277-3553)
    • Website: cpsquebec.ca


    • Contact emergency number: 112
    • For mental health support, contact Teléfono de la Esperanza: 717 003 717


    • Contact emergency number: 112
    • For mental health support, contact Telefonseelsorge: 0800 111 0 111 or 0800 111 0 222


    • Contact emergency number: 112
    • For mental health support, contact Telefono Amico: 199 284 284


    • Contact emergency number: 112
    • For mental health support, contact 113 Zelfmoordpreventie: 0800 0113


    • Contact emergency number: 112
    • For mental health support, contact Sos Voz Amiga: 21 354 45 45, 91 280 26 69, or 96 352 46 60

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