Elavil is a tricyclic antidepressant (TCA). By blocking their reuptake by presynaptic neurons, TCAs increase the synaptic levels and action durations of noradrenaline and serotonin. Serotonin is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that is heavily involved in mood and emotion regulation and has been found to be elevated in the whole blood and platelets of ASD patients. In addition to their reuptake-inhibiting properties, TCAs also exert antagonistic effects on histamine H2, serotonin 5-HT2, α1-adrenergic, and muscarinic acetylcholine receptors. While many of these neurotransmission systems have been implicated in autism pathogenesis, the generally low receptor specificity results in a high toxicity profile. Side effects include nausea, drowsiness, weakness, dry mouth, changes in appetite or weight gain, constipation, blurred vision, increased sweating, and decreased sexual drive. Low doses of this drug do show promise in the treatment of...
KeywordsAutism Spectrum Disorder Emotion Regulation Serotonin Reuptake Acetylcholine Receptor Cochrane Review
References and Reading
- Bhatti, I., Thome, A., Smith, P. O., Cook-Wiens, G., Yeh, H. W., Gaffney, G. R., & Hellings, J. A. (2013). A retrospective study of amitriptyline in youth with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 1–11.Google Scholar