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Pharmacy and Medications

Antidepressants for Muscle Spasm

12/20/2010

Question:

I`ve been told I have muscle spasms and general constriction in my facial muscles (pterygoid and masseter in particular). Someone told me that amitryptiline can be effective in treating this condition. Is this true? Are there better alternatives? I`m asking since I`ve also learned that amitryptiline is an antidepressant; I`m not depressed, and am not sure i want to experience a variety of possible side effects. Thanks for your guidance.

Answer:

Amitriptyline and other medications in the tricyclic antidepressant class have multiple uses. The original indication for the class was for depression; however they have been shown to be effective in various other indications, from insomnia to neuropathic pain. 

I am unable to find any significant clinical evidence that the tricyclics may be used to treat this form of muscle spasms. It may be possible that amitriptyline can treat some underlying clinical condition that is causing these spasms; however, I'm unable to find any clinical evidence of this, either. You should have a discussion with your physician about potential causes of the spasms, and treatment options. Each medication that may be used to treat the spasms will have its own set of side effects. You should discuss these with your physician, also.

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Response by:

Michael  Ganio, PharmD Michael Ganio, PharmD
Clinical Applications Pharmacist
Wexner Medical Center
The Ohio State University