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Thread: Withdrawal from Amitriptyline

  1. #1

    Withdrawal from Amitriptyline

    Hello,

    Anyone has any experience of withdrawing from this medication?
    I had been taking it for a year when I decided (with input from my GP and psychologist) that I was ready to come off it. I was on 50mg at the time and tapered off very slowly (over approx. 3 months). I did not experience any noticeable side effects whilst reducing the dose slowly although I did find that I felt a bit more anxious but just put that down to other things that were going on in my life at the time.
    I've been off it completely for 2.5 weeks now and for the past week I've started experiencing really bad insomnia (2.5 hours sleep per night, feeling extremely awake and not able to fall asleep til the early hours of the morning). Today, I've started noticing that my mood is up and down quite a lot and I've been feeling extremely nauseous (feel like vomiting which has never happened to me before) and also headachy....
    Feeling really really crap and just wanted to know if anyone else had a similar experience? And if so, how long that lasted for? Given the really crappy side effects I was experiencing whilst on the drug (huge appetite increase, cravings for sweets and junk food leading to weight gain, lethargy, very dry mouth, dizziness, etc), I have no intention of getting back on it if I can help it!!!

    Thanks for any input !

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
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    1,996

    Re: Withdrawal from Amitriptyline

    Can't help regarding withdrawal, but I can confirm that reducing dosage causes me insomnia, nightmare, over-sensitivity and widely varying emotions (feeling good to feeling tearful over the slightest thing).

    My GP gave me the go-ahead to experiment within the 10-100mg dosage range - I went up to 100mg, then quite quickly to 20. Felt OK for a week, then the withdrawal effects hit. I'm happy to stay on it and will be going up to 20mg twice daily from tomorrow.

    Maybe I've been fortunate with the side effects, just very dry mouth and sexual side effects (increases with dosage).

    You seem to have gone trough the recommended cessation routine of cutting down slowly. Are you sure it's the withdrawal. Could it be the anxiety / depression (that you presumably took it for) making a reappearance?
    __________________
    Daily Medication for GAD: Amitriptyline 25mg and Mirtazapine 15mg

  3. #3

    Re: Withdrawal from Amitriptyline

    Hi Mark13,
    Thanks for your response. Am fairly confident this is not my symptoms coming back as was feeling very stable and well for a few months before deciding to come off. I was originally put on it for anxiety a year ago. Also, the symptoms I am describing are completely unusual for me, I have never had problems sleeping even when I felt really unwell and never ever have issues with vomiting or headaches usually. I've been doing some research online and these symptoms seem to be very common when withdrawing from the medication. What I feel annoyed about is that my GP did not tell me I could experience these even if I tapered off extremely cautiously so I wasn't really expecting it!
    Have been totally off them for 2 weeks now so fingers' crossed it should get better in the next few days!
    Lucky you that it does help you with minimum side effects and at a low dose!

    Take care

  4. #4
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    Dec 2012
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    1,996

    Re: Withdrawal from Amitriptyline

    Quote Originally Posted by Clarinha View Post
    Lucky you that it does help you with minimum side effects and at a low dose!

    Take care
    I certainly think 20mg is too low for me, but 40mg from today, and hopefully that'll be a good balance between efficacy of the medication and reasonable side effects.

    Good luck with your withdrawal, hope it's smooth and pain-free from now on.
    __________________
    Daily Medication for GAD: Amitriptyline 25mg and Mirtazapine 15mg

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    743

    Re: Withdrawal from Amitriptyline

    I was on 10mg of nortriptyline and it took me months to taper off it. It was only a tiny amount according to doctors, but it really affected me, so yes, I definitely think that it could be causing the withdrawal you are experiencing.

  6. #6

    Re: Withdrawal from Amitriptyline

    Hello,

    I was put on Amitriptyline 6mths ago for sciatic nerve pain. I was originally put on 10mg that was increased after a month to 25mg. I was put up to 50mg 6weeks ago but had to reduce it back down because it was making me feel lousy.

    I had surgery 6days ago on my back to shave the prolapsed discs causing my sciatic pain. I'm still taking Tapentadol and Oramorph. I asked my GP the day after surgery if I could reduce my dose back down to 10mg before coming off then. He said 25mg is a very low dose and I should be ok to just stop. So I did.

    24hrs after my first missed dose I started to feel queasy, which I thought was an effect from the general anaesthetic. Gradually getting worse. By the next day I couldn't go near food and was suffering with cold/hot sweats. By the next night I was in such a state my husband phoned the paramedics. Although my obs (blood pressure, blood sugars, pulse) were normal, I clearly wasn't fine. After a lot of questions being asked they sussed that it came back to me stopping my medication, I was going through withdrawal and can only describe it as a mini hell.

    My husband took me back to the GP first thing the next morning, I saw a different Gp who advised me to go back on the Amytriptaline but prescribed some 10mg for me to try and gradually wean down.

    After seeing the GP I took one of my 25mg and have woke today like a completely different person. I feel a little cross that I was allowed to get in that situation as it could've been completely avoided.

    I'm not a particularly big built person either so medication will affect me more, the fact that increasing to 50mg affected me previously should've been recognised.

    I would definitely never stop such a medication so suddenly again.

  7. #7

    Re: Withdrawal from Amitriptyline

    I only took 20mg of amitryptyline, but am now having trouble withdrawing, even slowly! I cut the 10mg pills in half and have been trying 15mg every other night, then 15mg every night. But I'm finding I'm having lots of panic attacks, especially at night, so much so that I'm tepmted to give up on giving up! Must be hypersensetive as am on such a low dose already and the dr said it would be easy to withdraw from, not sure where to turn for advice?

  8. #8
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    Nov 2012
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    Re: Withdrawal from Amitriptyline

    When had y second child i had this medication , i had dry mouth and also eye problems i was seeing like through fog , when i came off it i didn't have any withdrawal symptoms .

  9. #9
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    Re: Withdrawal from Amitriptyline

    This makes for very interesting reading. In January I was prescribed 20 mg nightly of Amit. In September '15 I was prescribed Setraline, which had me bouncing off the walls; I weaned myself off of this after just 4 weeks and the GP prescribed Mirtazapine on 17th October - which also did not suit and I weaned myself off of this over the Christmas period. I was meds free for most of January, but my sleep was very poor and I was still having acute anxiety and panic attacks.

    The GP prescribed 3 x 40 mg Propanalol (beta blocker), and 20 mg nightly of Amitryptline - in the hope that it would address some of the anxiety and my insomnia. I am sleeping much better, and while my anxiety has lessened, the reasons for my anxiety still exist, so I don't think any magic pill will resolve this.

    My sleep is still not perfect, but is much better and I now get between 5-6 hours sleep, compared to the 2-3 hours per night which was the case a few months ago.

    Now I had hoped to actually start withdrawing from the Amit - small increments of 5 mg, ie, down to 15 mgs for a couple of weeks, then down to 10 mgs, for a couple of weeks etc. So probably withdrawing over around 8-12 weeks.

    Any feedback or response to this would be appreciated.

    Also, have any of you noticed a weight gain with Amit - even at the small doses ?

  10. #10
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    Re: Withdrawal from Amitriptyline

    Quote Originally Posted by Katesbeads View Post
    I only took 20mg of amitryptyline, but am now having trouble withdrawing, even slowly! I cut the 10mg pills in half and have been trying 15mg every other night, then 15mg every night. But I'm finding I'm having lots of panic attacks, especially at night, so much so that I'm tepmted to give up on giving up! Must be hypersensetive as am on such a low dose already and the dr said it would be easy to withdraw from, not sure where to turn for advice?
    I would look for a withdrawal plan that suits you.

    Do you mean you were trying the "on & off" routine first and then decided just to reduce to 15mg instead? It would be unusual to combine them.

    Some say reduce by 10%. So, you could try this to make a longer, more gradual taper BUT you are going to need to weigh the pills. This also means weighing them before you start the cutting because whilst it will be 20mg of the active drug (or 10mg if that's the pill dose), the weight of the pill will be heavier to account for the extra stuff they put in it. So, when you drop 10%, it won't be 10% of the active drug but 10% of the pill weight which is reality will mean less than 10% of the active drug, if you see what I mean?

    You can buy a jewellery scale for a few quid off Ebay and that will weigh 0.01-200g in some cases or similar. Usually people use pill cutters but to go the 10% route it will probably mean a good sharp and thin blade, like a Stanley knife blade.

    ---------- Post added at 05:31 ---------- Previous post was at 05:28 ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by sandie View Post
    This makes for very interesting reading. In January I was prescribed 20 mg nightly of Amit. In September '15 I was prescribed Setraline, which had me bouncing off the walls; I weaned myself off of this after just 4 weeks and the GP prescribed Mirtazapine on 17th October - which also did not suit and I weaned myself off of this over the Christmas period. I was meds free for most of January, but my sleep was very poor and I was still having acute anxiety and panic attacks.

    The GP prescribed 3 x 40 mg Propanalol (beta blocker), and 20 mg nightly of Amitryptline - in the hope that it would address some of the anxiety and my insomnia. I am sleeping much better, and while my anxiety has lessened, the reasons for my anxiety still exist, so I don't think any magic pill will resolve this.

    My sleep is still not perfect, but is much better and I now get between 5-6 hours sleep, compared to the 2-3 hours per night which was the case a few months ago.

    Now I had hoped to actually start withdrawing from the Amit - small increments of 5 mg, ie, down to 15 mgs for a couple of weeks, then down to 10 mgs, for a couple of weeks etc. So probably withdrawing over around 8-12 weeks.

    Any feedback or response to this would be appreciated.

    Also, have any of you noticed a weight gain with Amit - even at the small doses ?
    It's good to hear your sleep is at least a bit better, sandie.

    You have always come across as someone who is very reasonable about your expectations of meds and I agree, pills are just helpers.

    So, how do you think you could work on the real reasons for the anxiety now the sleep is getting better? Are you also trying to see if you can reduce the Amit to check your sleep has been corrected so you can get off them and work on the anxiety afresh again without the insomnia mess those other meds caused?

    Have you factored in the half life and elimination issue? You could play safe with that so your blood plasma is stable before taking another drop. I don't know if that will be any better, I just wonder whether we can drop too harsh before of body has stabilised itself at such a basic level before we push on again and whether this becomes less harsh and less likely to feel it?
    __________________
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