Amitryptyline changing dosage - British Liver Trust

British Liver Trust

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Amitryptyline changing dosage


Been taking this for a few months to help with a trapped nerve in my neck. It’s helped a lot but I’m a bit confused by how i should be taking it.

I’ve been on 20 mgs every night. Thought to reduce to 10 mg - ie to wean myself off - and asked the GP who said “just take it like paracetamol ie whenever you feel pain. Changing the dose so radically is fine. “ my partner is sure this is wrong. I’d love your comments. Thank you in advance

7 Replies

I had severe pain in my shoulder blade which travelled down my inside arm and all around my elbow paramedics came out an said it was a trapped nerve my dr told me 2 carry on takin my gabapentin and gave me voltarol gel i have been lyin on a hot water bottle an the pain did ease off but it seems 2 b creepin right bac its horendous do u have any tips?

Mr-E in reply to Whitley09

Sorry no tips but there is hope for you. I thought i was totally screwed until i got the GP to recommend something other than codeine and naproxen - which i found to be fairly useless / together and seperately.

There is pain relief out there. Its just a question of finding what works for you.

My aunt who had cancer was told by her specialist that in this day and age there is no longer any excuse for anyone to be in any pain. Be it natural or medical he said there is always something out there for everyone. She ended up relying on cannabis but that's another story.


My advice to you would be to ask your pharmacist where you had the prescription dispensed.

Part of their role is to advice patients on their prescribed medication.


I take it too - for nerve pain. I take 30 or 40mgs at night because it makes you sleepy. Stopping suddenly makes you very nauseous. It takes time to build up in your system.

My husband takes this for his fibromyalgia and also takes it at night. He has had to start taking it earlier in the evening as just before bed he was still drowsy the next day and struggled to drive to work!

I've been taking amitriptyline for about 15 years for fibromyalgia. I used to take it around 9pm so that it would start to kick in by bedtime but I'd be able to wake up at a reasonable time. Over the years I have tried to stop taking it but I've always had to go back on it as I became very weepy and low. I have finally stopped taking it by gradually lowering the dosage then when i got down to 20 mg I started taking it every other night for a couple of weeks band now I'm not taking any at all. I had felt for a while that it wasn't helping with my pain or sleep and the dry mouth was getting me down. I also wanted to reduce my meds as much as possible as I don't think they're particularly helpful to the liver.

Update: I checked w the chemist who said do NOT suddenly change dosage or stop taking Amitryptyline. (ie the Doctor was wrong).

He said generally you have to wean yourself off slowly eg alternate from 3 to 2 tabs over a couple of weeks (eg Monday: Take 3 tabs / Tues 2 / Wed 3 etc) ... then - in the same way - go from 2 tabs to 1 and eventually 1 to 0.

However considering Amitryptyline has a (very long) half-life of approximately 20 hours (ie half the dose will still be in your system after 20 hours), you could cut from 3 to 2 tabs directly for a couple of weeks then down to 1 ie not alternate.

But do *not* make a drastic change eg 3 to 1 tabs

What he added was that Amitryptyline is an "old fashioned" drug that has a big "hangover feeling" / side effect problem.

He said there are many other trapped-nerve painkillers available that I should discuss w the doctor. (When I asked him what he would recommend he said "It's like me recommending a facecream to you. Many are good. Only some will work best for you - and yes there are as many Amitryptyline alternatives as there are facecreams".

Thanks for your help everybody. Good luck with your problems and bear in mind that with health / medicines: while modern drugs can do a lot of good, Grannys advice is now increasingly coming back into fashion eg an Apple a day... / use Vinegar / Vitamin C etc :)

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