Fibromyalgia Action UK
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Sleeping Pills

I know amitriptyline knocks you out and also addresses other problems like mood etc. However, I'm trying the herbal approach before I consider going back on amitriptyline. So far so good but the valerian is only meant to be taken for 4 weeks so I'm now wondering if I should ask my GP for just a normal sleeping tablet to see if that helps. Anyone out there tried sleeping tablets at all? NWG x

10 Replies

Hi be very careful with that, some of it interacts with

Other medication, if you are on cymbalta don't take


GP don't like to give sleeping tablets, as they say

That we become reliant on them.

I am lucky my GP is very good, like most people with

Fibro I did not sleep for years this makes the pain

Worse, my GP gave me sleeping tablets I had them

For a year, what it did for me was regulate my sleep

I don't take them now I have not taken them for the

Last 4 months,

I still wake up in the night but go back to sleep, I get

About 6hours sleep for me sleeping tablets were a

Life saver

If I go back to not sleeping again I will go back on them

I stopped taking the GP was happy for me to continue

I had no side effects and was only on a low dose.

I know people will say that they stopped working for

Them maybe that is the time to stop and try without

Good luck



Hi, thankfully I'm not on any prescription drugs at the moment.I was just thinking a few good nights of not waking up might just get me into a more regular sleep pattern.At the moment I wake up 2 or 3 times a night although do go back to sleep ok but would love to sleep like a log as I did on the amitriptyline.


Hello Newaysgirl, Viv is correct in that most GPs are reluctant to give sleeping tablets because many of them can become addictive. I didn't get on too well with Amytriptyline so my GP has given me nortriptyline to try and so far it works fairly well. Have a chat with your GP as they can advise you about what will work well with your other medications. You do need to be aware that many herbal remedies can also interact with other remedies and other drugs. If you can't get to see your GP your local pharmacist is also trained to be aware of problems with interactions, so you could talk to them. Good luck! All best wishes to you. Jane x


Thanks Jane will bear that in mind.


NWG, thanks for your message :) Another reason for GP's not prescribing sleeping tablets as well as antidepressants is because many antidepressants have a sedative effect and therefore theoretically aid sleep and rest.

Amitriptyline and Dosulepin are sedative effect antidepressants for example. However they don't tend to promote 'normal' sleep and tend to make people still feel drowsy the following morning and tired through the day. If there were to be sleeping tablets on top of this type of sedative effect antidepressant, the sedation could be very extreme.

As Jane so rightly says above, the best thing to do would be to have a chat with your GP about this and your concerns over your sleep to see if you're on the correct medication/s for you.

Hope this helps, wishing you all the best. :) (((hug))) xx


I am on amitrityline at the moment, only 10mg each night. For the first few weeks it can make you feel drowsy in the mornings, but I found if I took the tablets earlier it helped. It is only a small dose but I know when I DON'T take it for a week or so as I do get worse so I know it helps. Some people never loose that drowsiness. I am supplementing it with 5HTP (which is the "herbal" alternative to SSRI antidepressants such as Prozac etc) as I was originally on Ami and Prozac together before.

You are asking however about the herbal alternatives. Really you should go to a hebalist for a consultation to get it done properly, but it would be also a good idea to look up the following on the web: Melatonin; St Johns' Wort; 5HTP; MSM; Magnesium CITRATE (not oxide); Vitamin B12; Morello Cherry Juice; and see how they relate to fibromyalgia. I am sure there are more than this available that are claiming to help. I have found Magnesium and B12 work with leg cramps and energy.

I do know that Valerian works by slowing down the heart rate and is the herbal alternative to Valium. It's intersting to know that there is a four week limit to taking it. I suppose if you have a tempoary problem, rather than fibro, 4 weeks is all it needs to recover. My cat used to love the smell of Valerian and if I left the cotton wool from the tablet bottle anywhere she would find it and literally rub it into the rug/sofa with her cheeks!!! Odd though, she hated catnip:-). It doesn't work the same way as Amitriptyline, and is supposed to help you drop off, but wears off after a few hours (whereas Valium lasts longer and can run into the next day).

You also need to look at interactions - ST Johns wort, Melatonin and 5HTP all work with the production of chemicals/hormones that interact with each other so you have to be carefull how you take them together - and that is when you should see a herbalist.

I hope this helps you but I am NOT a doctor. You MUST talk to a doctor first (who if they are Standard UK Gps it is hit and miss whether they have any idea about some of these - None of the GPs in my practice have heard of 5HTP until I HAD TO TELL THEM it was LIKE tryptophan). A herbalist may be your best option if no joy there.

Good luck


WARNING - Before even seeing a herbalist - please see your GP before you consider taking any herbal supplements. They may sound harmless, but for example St John's Wort can be toxic and can lead to serious side effects and even fatalities in extreme cases. It is a potentially dangerous supplement especially when taken with the sort of meds we take for our Fibromyalgia. Taking a concoction of supplements is not sensible either without prior consultation from a medical professional.

Please don't just take herbal supplements or any supplements before speaking to your GP or Consultant.


Hi, you have perhaps not seen my original post on here entitled I've swapped amitriptyline for herbal supplements? In it I talk about being under a nutritionist. Actually I was told not to take 5HTP with an antidepressant due to the danger of serotonin syndrome. I do know from my 8 years on amitriptyline that its not a good idea to stop and start it. Originally I used to do that eg I would take the prescribed dose if I was on a back shift so as I could enjoy waking up late but if on an early shift I would take less so as I would wake up early though usually I kept waking every hour afraid I'd sleep thru my alarm so it was a waste of time all round., needless to say it eventually did me no overall good and I ended up on a higher dose and could only do back shifts full stop. Valerian does tend to get me off to sleep but as you say it doesn't keep you asleep all night.I take 5HTP three times a day for depression but have now started to take my third dose an hour before bed because its also supposed to help with sleep and relaxation. I take two valerian with it too sometimes but still wake up briefly 2 or 3 times a night now. I'm going to see my GP soon about a low dose sleeping pill I think.



Sorry didn't see your original post. I too have been up and down on Ami over the years, went up to 50m at one point and it freaked me a little to think that I could get worse and need more. Finally settled out back to 10mg which I thought really wasn't working, then made a decision to try Gabapentin instead. Within 2 months back on Ami as was like walking dead on Gaba. Now I am back on 10mg of Ami with x2 5HTP tabs at night. I was getting panic attacks and would normally go on Prozac on top of the Ami (through the GP who told me that they were at safe doses to mix), so reasoned that the 5HTP could be tried instead of the Prozac this time and it has stopped the attacks (touch wood) but I still wake many times during the night. Bit of a work in progress.....


Hi, I too am fed up of keep waking up during the night. I've been trying a 5HTP tablet before bed and sometimes a couple of VALERIAN herbal tablets (but u are not supposed to take them for more than 4 weeks) anyway last night was awful so I went to the GP and he's given me Zimovane 7.5mgs. I was pleased until I got home read the leaflet and discovered u can't take them if like me you suffer from a wheat allergy! Annoying, suppose I should have mentioned that, but why would I? Also I told him I was on St Johns wort and he said that would be ok but the leaflet says it makes Zimovane work less well. So I'm just waiting for him to phone me back hopefully with an alternative suggestion. Honestly as if I didn't have enough hassle this morning getting an appointment in the first place!! Sick of surgeries and their appointment systems, it's like you need to know you are going to be ill 4 days in advance to get to see a doctor! Sorry, end of rant.Anyway, he seemed impressed that I'm managing my fibro with herbal supplements. It's just the sleep to get sorted. I told him going back on amitriptyline would be a last resort- still two more sons to get married off in near future so don't want to put back on the weight I've lost. Hope you manage to sort your sleep out too, it really is all about trial and error isn't it. NWG x


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