Are Antidepressant Side Effects Permanent?
Our cat has been taking Elavil (Amitripyline) for two days now. He has lost his spunk. In time, will he return to his normal self, while continuing to take the medication?
Edmonton, AB, Canada
Amitriptyline, also known as Elavil, has distinction of being the most hard to spell medication ever invented. Where does the y go? It's nearly impossible to get it right.
Elavil most commonly is prescribed for the feline problem that generates more Vet Blog questions than all the others combined: urinating outside of the litter box. It also is used to treat aggression and excessive grooming.
Feline house soiling often is caused by stress. Elavil is an antidepressant (a tricyclic antidepressant, to be specific). The medication attenuates stress responses in some cats, making them less likely to destroy carpets and furniture.
The most common side effect of Elavil is sedation or loss of spunk. Although there are exceptions, this side effect usually disappears within two to four weeks.
Lois, it is very likely that your cat will regain his spunk. However, if you can identify the cause of his stress or anxiety your best bet will be to eliminate it and avoid long term medication.