Does anyone know how to ween off amitriptyline?

I have been taking amitriptyline for a few years now. I was taking 100mg which was fine for a while, it reduced my migraines from three a week to three a month. However, I then started getting migraines everyday.

I referred myself to The National Migraine Clinic in London and started following their advice about getting myself into a routine and immediately stop taking the paracetamol and coedine which I was taking everyday several times a day.

I was then migraine free for three months. Now, the only time I get a migraine is when I sleep too long, too short or I break my routine.

Therefore, I wanted to come off amitriptyline as I did not feel it was giving me any benefit when I had found a medication-free solution. I gradually reduced the dose over a period of months and eventually came to 10mg.

When stopping the drug completely, I am dizzy, sick and unable to do anything.

I have tried taking it on alternate days but this has resulted in migraines because of the break of routine.

I tired cutting the tablets in two to 5mg but this also caused migraines.

The last time I spoke to my doctor he said he wanted me to "stabilize" on the 10mg again and then think about stopping later. When I asked what I should do after I "stabilize" he avoided answering me and spoke about how nice it would be if there were 7.5mg tablets.

Does anyone have any advice for me? Or do I need to take a week off work to go cold-turkey?

4 Replies

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  • Hi, probably not the answer you are looking for, but a couple of weeks off work to go cold turkey is normally what we would recommend to stop medication overuse, although this needs to be closely monitored by your GP - and obviously we are happy to help you develop a treatment programme for this. We have a factsheet here which may help, it mentions naproxen which is recommended for many patients to help coming off the drugs but obviously you need to speak to you GP. Send me an email at rebecca.sterry@nationalmigrainecentre.org.uk and I can forward you more detailed info in the form of a factsheet on Medication Overuse. Good luck, it is not easy, but well worth it!

  • Rebecca - Thank you for your advice. I can now report that I went cold turkey and I'm completely weened off amitriptyline. It wasn't as hard as when I weened off taking painkillers everyday - which I was expecting. I only had to take two days off work - bonus! Its been three weeks and only a few migraines.

    Thanks again Clare x

  • When I came off nortryptilline I bought a pill cutter. I spend a fortnight on 7.5, then 5, then 2.5 before stopping. But it also means you can take 7.5 if you like.

  • Thank you - that's what my GP suggested x

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