Amitriptyline withdrawal symptoms

Hi all,

I decided to try not taking amitriptyline for a few days to see what happens. I'm only on 10mg a night to help me sleep and reduce fibro pain. I was sceptical when I read about withdrawal symptoms with such a low dose.

But having taken it last at 9 in the evening on Monday, I had violent shivers on Wednesday afternoon and now at 3 on Thursday afternoon I'm dizzy and nauseous. Unbelievable that such a small dose can create such dependence. But having also had the morning headaches again that I used to get every day before I took amitriptyline, I can see no option but to start taking it again. Looks like I'll be on it for life :(

34 Replies

  • That is what I went through plus headaches back I'm now back on amitriptilyne, how long were you on them ? I'm sorry to here you are suffering as I know what you going through

    Take care xx

  • I've been on it for exactly a year!

  • As with all drugs you have to cut them down gradually I know that sounds silly as you are only on 10mg but you should ask your Dr .

  • Yes hun withdrawal is awful! I,m wondering why you tried to stop them? Your g.p can advise on reducing safely, for now I would take half of one (5mg) to alleviate the withdrawal and headaches; it doesn,t matter if breaking them in half isn,t spot on but take the bigger piece- otherwise you will upset your sleep pattern too..I recently stopped having coffee- wow the headaches from caffeine withdrawal were just as bad and I should have realised so I,m on weak coffee twice a day until I feel I,m ok

  • They help me sleep (like a log) and ease the pain, but leave me feeling cloggy-headed and weary all day till I perk up at about 8 in the evening. So I wondered whether it was really worth replacing the fibro fog and fatigue with just a different form of tiredness plus being on a drug I'd rather not take. I think on balance now it's worth taking them because they deal with the headaches and muscle aches too.

  • Just maybe try the 2.5 dose? I tried amitrip in child formation off a spoon because I woke with a vile headache off 5mg pills , they are really antidepressants! My preference is proper analgesia I have co dydramol BUT at night and when I,ve had poor sleep I have zopiclone 3.75 and I take half of one of them, I get 5 hours as long as puss doesn,t come looking for an early breakfast!! Proper analgesia and proper sleeping pills- I messed around and experimented with too many prescription pills and I think the appropriate meds for the illness keeps me on the right track.. Good luck hun I hope you find a compromise but see your g.p and get a good doseage to suit you.

  • Hello every one interesting to hear how we all use different tablets to cope . I have tried everything. but unfortanly back on the morphine again. Nothing at all takes pain away, to help me sleep, but the morphine makes my brain just high enough to mask the pain a bit. and then my body can relax a bit. When I try to stop taking it though side effects are terrible, think I will be a junkie for rest of my life now, not to happy about it..

  • Hi Molimole, I cannot take Amitriptyline due to the awful side effects it leaves me with, but when I recently attended pain management course, the pharmacist there, suggested I try Nortriptyline (sister pill of Amitriptyline) and hey presto It works for me! This one is much kinder on your system.

    Well worth a chat to your GP about :) xx

  • Hi, I've cut down on caffeine by alternating my big caffeine days with days of just drinking decaf. It's a trade off. Caffeine works well with the pain killers but reduces vitamin absorption, and considering I'm vit d deficient this is important. Have a doc meeting Tuesday and am going to suggest that I might have fibromyalgia. Am desperate for something that works better than co-codomol but am concerned about side effects of any fibromyalgia meds my doc might prescribe if he decides that's what it is.

  • As caz-54 said you can try cutting them in half, no one likes taking drugs but if they help I'm all for it, can you say why you've been prescribed them and is your Dr aware your trying to come off them also what time at night are you taking them, maybe if you take them earlier in the evening. X

  • They should be taken 12 hours away from the time you intend to get up the next day!

    So for instance, if you normally get up at 06.00am, they would be taken at 18.00pm the night before! x

  • Thanks, that's worth knowing! x

  • Your very welcome my friend x

  • Molimole I would agree, I find mine last about 10 hrs, I take mine at about 9.30 pm which send me off to sleep soundly by about 10 pm. I normally wake at about 7pm, and am a bit dopey for the first hour - have to concentrate on making early morning tea/coffee for me and the other half, or I forget the sweeteners or get our fave mugs round the wrong way! But it is worth it for the good rest and therefore getting less aching and flare-ups.

  • I was prescribed then for fibro pain and to help me sleep. I am self-employed and need a clear brain to work all day! The tablets give me a fuzzy head despite taking them 3 hours before I go to bed. I thought I'd try not taking them to see if it cleared my head, and was just amazed that such a low dose as 10 mg can cause major withdrawal effects.

  • Hi Molimole you say the tabs are giving you a fuzzy head is this because you are withdrawing or has this always been the case. ?

  • It's always been the case! And it's my main reason for considering withdrawing.

  • Hmm that's a long time to take them and still getting side effect, I can understand why you want off them nobody likes not being in control of your own head or body. It's maybe time you went back to Dr but if you are intent to come off them I would still take half. I hope we have all helped in some way.

    Take care x

  • Hi Molimole

    I have tried to cut down on my medication ( 30 tabs a day) and I get the violent shivers then I go all hot and sweating and I mean by soaking my top and trousers or if I am in bed the bed is soaking so my husband have to come in my room( we have not slepted togeather since my work accident 6 years ago because of the CRPS)to change the bedding or I've to completely change , dizzy,and the shakes

    So I've got no choice at the moment ,I am waiting to be in the right mind to be accepted for a spinal cord simulator for mr CRPS and then I can reduce my medication 😊

    So u not alone

    Take care

    Christine CRPS uk

  • So sorry to hear that. Hope things get better for you xx

  • So sorry to hear the way you are suffering

  • Gentle hugs xx

    Christine CRPS uk

  • Hi there

    As you now know it is very dangerous to stop taking any medication without your GP's help and advice.

    Amitryptyline should always be taken around 6pm to avoid grogginess the next day or as ryanbone says 12 hours before you need to get up the next day.

    My GP told me this and it is a shame that more GP's don't tell their patients this.

    This medication helps with sleep, low mood and pain.

    It only works as an antidepressant at a higher dose.

    I have had to take antidepressants all my life. I felt like you do now until my GP said to me that if I was diabetic I would have to take insulin all my life and that it was no different.

    I know that in order to control my depression to some extent I need to take them. No one needs to know unless you choose to tell them.

    My humble opinion is that if they work, does it matter that you will always have to take them?

    Amitriptyline is the medication most Rheumatologists prescribe when diagnosing Fibromyalgia.

    Coming off any medication can be extremely hard, even when weaning off very slowly. When I weaned off Pregablin I had extreme headaches etc for weeks and weeks afterwards.

    I hope the answers you have received will help you a little.

    Take care of yourself

    Lu xx

  • Thank you BlueMermaid3 for your reply and your thoughts. I will indeed talk to my GP. In the meantime I have restarted the amitriptyline and will take it earlier in the evening to see if that makes a difference.

  • You are very welcome. Please don't be too down if you find that you do need to keep taking them.

    Changing the time that I took them made the world of difference.

    Please let us know how you get on.

    Lu xx

  • It is not a good idea to stop taking medication without consulting your GP as you may need to cut down slowly. I made this mistake twice with different drugs and on one ocassion was very ill.

    I have been n amitriptyline for 20yrs - initially for something else but only a 5mg dose as can"t tolerate a larger dose (I have another condition which makes me drug intolerant).

    It works for me but if it doesn't for you then speak to your GP. Maybe he can offer an alternative.

  • Hi Molimole

    I am so genuinely sorry to read that you are experiencing problems with your Amitriptyline and I sincerely hope that you can find some resolution to this issue. I do have to agree with the others as it would be best to talk to your GP prior to stopping taking them.

    I want to sincerely wish you all the best of luck, and please take care of yourself.

    All my hopes and dreams for you


  • Thanks Ken for your reply. I'm trying changing the timing of when I take the tablets, but if that doesn't help I will indeed talk to my GP.

  • Good luck my friend.

  • Hi Molimole

    I find most Meds even painkillers affect me badly. I was put on the 25mg Amitriptyline but they would knock me out for days after just taking one. I now have the 10mg ones but they don't seem to help much with sleeping and I still feel rough for days afterwards so try not to take them. I have also noticed the going from boiling hot to shivery but wasn't sure if it was just a fibro thing as normally I am cold all the time.

    I hope you find something that works for you soon

    All the best

    Jo x

  • I was on 30mg a day and when I saw the rheumatologist he added another two because of the pain in my feet and ankles.I would like to reduce my pill intake but it seems impossible at the moment.My G.P took me off of one of my anxiety piles and I had to go to A & E as I was so bad.Could not eat,felt nauseous and was pacing back and forth.So I managed to get back on the anxiety pill by seeing another G.P.I am trying not to worry about how many pills I take at the moment as I definitely need them.Take care and try not to worry about

  • I stopped a week ago, was fine for four days then last weekend sickness dizzy and awful headache. I know now I should have weaned off slowly but maybe it's too late. I do not want to go back on it again but thinking of taking half for a week or so, maybe too late. Wish I had come on this site a few weeks ago!!! It was helpful reading your post, hope you are feeling well again now.

  • Well, I gave in and carried on taking the amitryptyline. I take 10mg most nights and 20mg sometimes when I need a really good night's sleep. It works to some extent, and I've decided for the moment I'd rather take the stuff and function reasonably well, rather than not take it and be a zombie.

  • Thanks for your reply and glad you are feeling ok now. Going to contact my pharmacy to seek advise as I have lasted a week now and feel just 10mg dose is the lowest. Having said that I feel dreadful! Thanks again. Sue x

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