Does Amitryptiline affect resting heart rate? (4 factors to consider)

In this article, we will discuss whether Amitriptyline has any effect on a person’s resting heart rate. We will also explore as to why such effects occur. Furthermore, we will also take a deep dive into the research of this topic along with factors that may contribute to this side effect.

Does Amitryptiline affect resting heart rate?

Amitriptyline may or may not affect a person’s heart rate. Amitriptyline is a tricyclic antidepressant commonly prescribed for the treatment of depression, anxiety disorders, and chronic pain conditions. One of the known side effects of amitriptyline is its impact on resting heart rate.

What does the research suggest?

According to one study, it was found that 24 patients who were treated with a daily dose of 150 mg of Amitriptyline resulted in a significant increase in resting heart rate compared to the baseline measurements. (1)

However, one study also found that a low dose of 10 mg of amitriptyline did not have any effect on a person’s heart rate, although a higher dose of amitriptyline did increase heart rate. (2)

So, the reason Amitriptyline affects someone’s resting heart rate is because it has anticholinergic properties, meaning it can block the action of acetylcholine, a  neurotransmitter involved in the regulation of heart rate. By inhibiting the effects of acetylcholine, amitriptyline may lead to an increase in resting heart rate.

What factors can contribute to Amitriptyline’s effect on resting heart rate?

Several factors can contribute to Amitriptyline’s effect on resting heart rate, including:

  • Dosage: Higher doses of Amitriptyline have been associated with an increase in heart rate.[1]
  • Individual Variability: The effect of Amitriptyline on resting heart rate can vary among individuals. Factors such as age, sex, weight, and overall health can influence the response to the medication. Some individuals may experience a significant increase in heart rate, while others may have minimal or no change at all.
  • Concurrent Medications: Other medications can interact with Amitriptyline and affect its impact on resting heart rate. For example, certain medications like beta blockers or calcium channel blockers may counteract the heart rate effects of amitriptyline. (3)
  • Pre-existing Cardiac Conditions: People who are already suffering from cardiovascular conditions, such as arrhythmias or heart failure, may be more susceptible to the effects of amitriptyline on resting heart rate.

What should you do if Amitryptiline does affect your heart rate?

If you experience any problems like chest pain or any difficulty in breathing that you did not experience before taking Amitriptyline, you should contact your doctor immediately and let them know about this issue.

Depending upon your input, your doctor may change the dose of your medication or may prescribe a new drug for your condition.

You shouldn’t take the matter into your own hands and stop taking Amitriptyline, thinking it will stop your irregular heart rate. Doing so may pose new problems and symptoms for you, which might do more harm than good.

So, contact your doctor and listen to their advice on how to tackle this issue in the most effective way possible.

Additional side effects of Amitriptyline

Given below are some of the common side effects that you may experience on taking amitryptiline.

  • Weight gain
  • Constipation
  • Xerostomia
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Blurred vision
  • Headache


In conclusion, the effect of amitryptiline on resting heart rate remains a topic of debate. While some studies suggest an increase in resting heart rate with amitryptiline use, conflicting results and individual variability indicate the need for more research. However, we did find out that a lower dose of amitryptiline remains safe compared to a higher dose of amitryptiline.

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Rechlin T, Claus D, Weis M. Heart rate analysis in 24 patients treated with 150 mg amitriptyline per day. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1994 Sep;116(1):110-4. doi: 10.1007/BF02244880. PMID: 7862922.



Kulshreshtha P, Gupta R, Yadav RK, Bijlani RL, Deepak KK. Effect of low-dose amitriptyline on autonomic functions and peripheral blood flow in fibromyalgia: a pilot study. Pain Med. 2012 Jan;13(1):131-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1526-4637.2011.01286.x. Epub 2011 Dec 5. PMID: 22142408.



Sprenger T, Viana M, Tassorelli C. Current Prophylactic Medications for Migraine and Their Potential Mechanisms of Action. Neurotherapeutics. 2018 Apr;15(2):313-323. doi: 10.1007/s13311-018-0621-8. PMID: 29671241; PMCID: PMC5935650.


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