National Migraine Centre

Melatonin vs amitriptylene

I've been on amitriptylene for 20 years, mostly at the 25 mg dose. Last year I had breast cancer and during the entire chemo, then surgery, then radiation phase (about 9 months) I did not have one migraine. Two weeks after this was all done, I began experiencing migraines about every 2-3 days for at least three months. Despite diary entries about what I was eating, doing etc., the only constant was the already familiar barometric pressure changes. I feel it was my body weaning off all those cancer chemicals. I have sleep apnea and again amitriptylene is the drug of choice for doctors.

My doctor doubled my amitriptylene and about a month later the headaches subsided. I didn't want to go that route because of the weight gain. I had lost 20 lbs. during cancer treatments but I gained back 10 almost right away (I need to lose 100 lbs). It's been about 5 months now with good relief. I don't want to stay on this dosage so I did a bit of research and found one study done in 2013 that involved taking 3 g of melatonin and it showed the same relief as 25 mg of amitriptylene.

Two nights ago I took my first melatonin and slept really very well. The only problem was I woke up after 10 hours with a headache that lasted quite a few hours. I assumed it was from sleeping too long which is characteristic for me too. Last night I decided to drop to 25 mg, take a melatonin pill and so far. so good.

Anyone can comment on their experience?

Thank you.

4 Replies

Hi Wedding Lady

Well done on getting through your cancer treatment, how strange you didn't have a migraine during that time.

I took melatonin one night and had a bad migraine the next day too so to be honest was too scared to try it again. My theory is I went in to a really deep sleep, which is a trigger for me.

Good luck



I did have a headache the first day after worthy of the Migranal spray I use but none since in the last 3 nights. Hoping this will be beneficial. I slept 10 hours the first night and I think that is what triggered the headache. I

have slept the last 3 nights with only 1 25 mg amitriptylene vs 2 and so far so good.


Well I'll keep my fingers crossed for you. Keep us updated as I've just had to come off topirimate due to it causing hair loss. Apparently am a candidate for botox though so may try that. I am sick of pills!

Take care x


I am sick of them too. The chemo must have kept it at bay but when I was done radiation et al, the migraines unleashed three months of pain. I swear I had a migraine every other day and rebounds in between. I was afraid of becoming de-sensitized from Migranal. I kept daily diaries and nothing fit. It took a month for the ami to work but I hate the weight gain.


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