Weening off amitriptyline

I have successfully weened myself off amitriptyline. Its has been three weeks now (doesn't that sound like I'm in AA?). The damage was minimal. I took two days off as I had a severe migraine and then a normal headache the next day which is very different to a lot of time off when I weened myself off painkillers!

Yes, I'm still getting headaches and migraines - I generally know why I get them. On Saturday, although I didn't sleep in (oh remember those days when I was allowed!) I missed breakfast and had a bad one that evening.

I'm just so feb up of medications, I'd rather just get on with it. There are people suffering worse than me.

25 Replies

  • Have just read your blog with interest as I am myself weaning off Amitriptyline I was only on 30mgs but it hasn't helped the migraines at all and I cannot take a higher dose due to the drowiness and I do a have a history of Epilepsy which is controlled but recently I have noticed the migraines getting closer together so with my GP's advice I am weaning off them over 4 weeks the only side effect I have noticed is my bowels seem to be a bit upset not sure if this is because I do suffer with IBS and one thing I did notice is the Amitriptyline did help IBS symptoms so I can accept this side effect at the moment hopefully once the drug is out of my system this will settle down it was just a shame it didn't help my migraines. I think like you I fed up with taking medications and will just live the migraines I do take a Triptan when I have an attack and generally it does help.

  • Thanks for showing an interest. I just hope what I write about will help people.

    Sounds like you're having a heard time. I just find that a well-maintained lifestyle helps and try to take the least amount of medication possible. This is difficult as my in-laws are all medical and believe medication is the answer to everything!!

    Good luck. Glad you didn't have my symptoms. A nurse at work is having the same symptoms as me at the moment, the only difference is she has morning sickness lol.

  • I've also been part of the coming off amitryptaline club! I'm down to 25mg now (from 100mg) - been dropping 25mg every 5 days. I expected the side effects to be a lot worse than they have been actually. Mainly mood swings - but that's not too bad. One of the positive things I found about amitryp was stabilising my moods - but just had so many horrible side effects from amitryp that I decided to come off them. Had a few migraines so far but that's to be expected (and exactly the same as normal!)

    I'm in a tricky position. After suffering MOH earlier on this year I upped my amitryp to try and get the migraines under control. They helped to some extent - but nowhere near as much as any of the beta blockers (I've tried several types - including proprananol and atenenol). The problem with beta blockers is the side effects for me - I seem to be so sensitive to them (apparently quite a typical trait in migraine sufferers according to the NMC!) - I'm talking hallucinations and constant pins and needles in the whole of my arm!

    Anyway - after discussing with my doctor - I've decided to try and come off preventatives and see how I go. It might be that the amitryp is actually making them worse (I had this with Prozac) - and only way to find out is to come off them! Medication is such a tough one - it's so trial and error and and can take such a long time to find the right one for you. I'm hopeful that I can manage my migraines without preventatives though. Balance, lifestyle, avoiding triggers, and a migraine strategy for if one comes on (mine is first phase - 3 aspirin in coke, second phase - 100mg sumatriptan, naproxen and domperidone).

    Good luck to you both coming off the drugs. Keep us updated!

  • Well done on coming off the Amitriptyline and good luck to those of you who are trying to at the moment. I came off it completely about 3 months ago after being on it for 3 years. I found I was getting the odd migraine whilst on it but only once every 3 or 4 months, compared to my 2 to 3 times a week before starting Amitriptyline. I weaned myself of it because I was fed up feeling sleepy all the time, I suppose it was because of feeling sleepy that they had reduced, I was more or less tension free! Now I am off it the migraines are increasing again, they are coming once a week now :( So I am really not sure what to do. I hate being medicated and not really feeling myself but now I am dreading the next migraine! Why is life to difficult, lol.

  • Hello Mazzy, well done on weening yourself off, I think it would now be good to see a specialist and consider other preventatives, or see if there are any patterns with your headaches so that you can make lifestyle adjustments to stop them being so regular. See your GP or come to NMC as you shouldnt have to put up with one migraine a week. All the best.

  • Hello Rebecca, thanks for your reply. Unfortunately my GP is only interested in giving me pain killers which do not prevent the migraines from ocurring. I didn't realise that you can go to NMC without a referal! Will do that asap. I just want my life back again! Thanks so much for taking the time to reply.

  • I did and I cant recommend it enough x

  • Hello Rebecca, Thank you for your post. I too have suffered from migraines for the last 7 years and was having 2 to 3 migraines a week. A neurologist put me on Deprovox. This is an anti-seizure medication. I had no side effects. My migraines literally went from 2 to 3 a week to once or twice a month. It really is an amazing preventative. I too don't feel comfortable taking pain medication that only puts a band-aid on it. Best Wishes...

  • Gad to hear you had such a resounding success - long may it continue. It just shows that everyone is different and it's just a case of finding something that's right for you.

    All the best.


  • Hello - just wanted to find out how people are doing going off the amitryp? I was doing ok - until 0mg and since then it's been pretty tough. My mood is very flat - bordering on depression but I'm just trying to ride it out. It's really tough though - viewing the world through this haze of withdrawal - feeling awful and like everything is awful but constantly trying to remind myself it's just the meds. The night times are the worst - I just want to go to bed as soon as possible - not because I'm tired - but because I'm just so fed up - but then I find it so hard to get to sleep. I have really bad restless legs - and then nightmares.

    For the last 2 days I've been feeling constantly sick - I'm not sure if this is connected or if it's a stomach bug or something. Anyone had anything like this?

    On the plus - the migraines have been less than usual - so thats definitely something. It's been about a week on 0mg now - so fingers crossed this won't last for too much longer

  • I feel for anyone trying to come off these drugs....

    I am coming off 20mg Nortriptyline (which is very close to Amitriptyline) after having been on it for 4 months and feeling dreadful - really depressed and constant headaches much much worse than before I went on them. Actually worse than when i came off Topiramate. It's only been 2 days since i stopped completely (and head pretty bad on 10mg too). How soon can i know if this is my 'normal' headache rather than a withdrawal headache? Really no idea where to go next -(

  • I was on Amitrip since May of 2013. I recently stopped taking (Last sunday) because I ran out and can't afford to get anymore. Well 3 days ago I noticed anxiety type symptoms. Would this be because I didn't wean myself off the Amitrip or should I go see a doctor?

  • Hello all-

    I have been on 75 mg of amit for the past 11 years. my doctor said there is no harm in staying on it except im completely addicted and im without i go through serious withdrawal. well now it seems that my withdrawal symptoms are coming more and more and i am still taking the drug. completely bewildered but something has got to change, after 11 years on the med can weaning off be done? please help!

  • yes weaning off can be done - you just need to come off very slowly. I have been on 60 mgs for the past 2 1/2 years and I have just started weaning myself off. You need to listen to your body and if withdrawal symptoms get worse, go slower.

  • Hi, i have been on Amitriptyline for 18 monthns for a spine condition, i had Cervical Spinal Stenosis, i have since had an op on my spine and decided i would try to come off the many pills i was on, i have stopped Amitriptyline but since stopping i have had numbness and pins and needle in my right arm, before my operation all my syptoms were in my left arm, would this be caused from the with drawel of the drug? i was on 50mg once a night.


  • Can you please tell me how you gradually weened yourself off of it? How many days at how many mg, did you skip any days completely, etc? I have been trying to cut my dose smaller and smaller for 3 months, and every time I get down to about a quarter of a pill (about 8 mg), I get withdrawal symptoms (anxiety, insomnia, depression, muscle spasms.) I went from 50 mg to 15 with no problem, but below 15, I feel bad.

  • Hey All! I've finally have the courage to try and seek out people that on in the same boat as I am... I am on 25mg of amitriptyline. and I am slowly weaning off of it. Let me tell you of how hard it is for me. I've suffered from migraines all my life when I first started amitriptyline things went great for me, the migraines stopped. BUT within the year of being on amitri I have gained 45lbs!!!!!! I decided that is it. I dredged the way my body has changed how awful amitriptyline made me feel now that I've put on the weight. Has anyone else gained weight while on amitriptyline? It's sooo hard weaning off of it once again I'm feeling nauseated and depressed, emotional and fatigued. I started amitriptyline because of the constant migraine and nausea I had every single day and it made me go insane. Now that I'm coming off of it I'm feeling exactly how I felt a year a go... I don't want to depend on medications anymore. I'm sick of it. I've gained so much weight!@! has anyone lost weight after weaning off od amitriptyline? Please anyone help me? any remedies to help with the nausea and migraines???

  • I'm in the same situation. Went on Elavil 3 years ago to prevent migraines. I've had migraines for over 20 years and have been put on everything imaginable. Elavil helped the headaches at first but I put on 25 lbs. in the first 6 months - it snuck up on me. My diet has changed and I work out almost daily but have not been able to lose one pound!!! My headaches are worse again and I'm tired all the time. I would love to go off the Elavil but I'm not ready for the side effects. I had severe depression going on the medicine. Let me know if you've made any progress.

  • Hello,

    I can tell you by far its one of the hardest thing I've ever done. I've withdrawing since June & I can finally say the tunnel isnt so dark anymore. I was so scared and sick I thought I was going to lose it. But I reminded myself I will get through this soon..whenever soon will be. Thank god im holding on I feel much better than I have 3 months ago..

    Elavil isnt a strong drug it can ruin your life..im just happy I realized sooner & I came off of it. Still struggling to lose the weight though..:(

    If you need anything im here to support you off of it. But speak to your doctor first.


  • I've been on amitriptyline for almost two years and have gained at least 20 lbs. I'm either hungry or tired most of the time and am so relieved to see that I am not alone. I'm so frustrated by the weight gain and the impact it's had on my relationships and self confidence.

    I'm not on a very high dose and while I was able to sleep better after being on the drug for a few months, I didn't really see an impact on my migraines. I've just suffered through a horrible summer month and am ready to see what other options I could try. I've read a great deal on the impact of increasing your magnesium intake, as it helps control nerve function and is known to be deficient in people who suffer with migraines. I'm seeing my doctor soon and going to ask for directions to get off of the medication.

    Thank you to everyone who has provided their stories.

  • Thanks for sharing. This is my current situation, I'm on 25 mg every night for migraines. I've gained 15 pounds in 2 months! I also said that was it, then stopped taking it. Within 24 hours, my migraine pain went back to how it was before I started taking it. I really dislike being on medication so I've been researching how to treat the side effects including weight gain because the pain is debilitating. No solutions yet. Praying for us all.

  • I came on here looking for advice on getting off the last 10mg of amitriptyline (I was on 50mg a day for chronic migraines, for 3 years). I have attempted to come off before but suffered crippling migraines after two weeks of cutting the dose by half. I have since worked on my fitness and decided to try coming off again. This time is have weaned myself of slowly, 5mg less each time for 2 weeks at a time. After about 6 months I am nearly off and have only suffered from slight headaches a couple of days after each drop, which I have managed with Ibuprofen. So I guess I will continue with my original plan to finish 2 weeks on 10mg and then go down to 5mg for a couple of weeks then 5mg every two days for another couple of weeks. That should take me to Christmas and my first glass of wine for 3 years!!! Cheers.

  • Hi, thanks to all those for sharing their stories here. I cam here looking for advice from others weaning themselve off of Elavil (Amitriptyline) and found the info very useful. I've been on 20mg of Elavil for treatment of fibromyalgia (almost 4 yrs now). The month of April has proved to be one of the worst months in recent memory (many out of commission days with pain & fatigue), that the usual dosage was not alleviating, nor was increasing the dosage 'as needed, when needed'. Which brought me to the conclusion, if something's no longer working - get rid of it. Especially in light of how I knew it was messing with my brain serotonin levels and neurotransmitters - that can't be good longterm. So, I've been actively weaning myself off and will continue over next 4 - 6 wks (slowly). I can't find it now, but one of you asked if 'anyone' had any suggestions for anything new to try. In making the decision to come off amitrip myself I had to also look for alternatives, I'm going to paste 2 links to sites where I found info on more 'natural' remedies which I plan on trying for myself in treating my fibro symptoms (to hopefully keep them under control and treat the flareups more naturally). Some of it involves supplements I already take, Omega 3 Fish Oil capsules, Zinc and Vit D. The new thing I'll add is the Evening Primrose Oil caps along with Vit E which is recommended to get the most out of the oils throughout the day. Also Niacinamide (500 - 1,500 mg RDA) is inexpensive they say and helpful in treating pain. I'm excited to get off the amitrip and start this new natural regime which I know 'realistically' will take anywhere from 2 - 3 mths to see any real results. Other 'supposed' benefits on the Primrose Oil is helps with weight loss, for those who've gained weight from the amitrip (which I have also, mainly on my core) also, is said to help reduce pain of arthritis symptoms and as I also have issues with my knees nowadays (as I age) I'm anxious to see if these areas are also helped with the one natural remedy. Wish me luck - I'll ck back in a few mths to give an update on how it's all going for those interested.

    Here's those 2 links:



  • Need some advice been on 50mg for over a year taken one less last night n really bad headache dizzzy lightheaded tried before for over week n could not cope With withdrawal what helped people Dr wants me to stop amatrip n go onto fluroxtine

  • Hi Fibrom how are you doing on withdrawal from amitriptyline. i am currently on 2.5 mg and struggling with dizziness, brain fog. x

You may also like...