Amitriptyline.. again!

Hello :) I made a post a few months ago about my neurologist/gp trying to get me to take amitriptyline.

I finally got an appointment with my neurologist 3 months later, I printed a lot from the rls-org website and flowcharts of treatment plans. All of which advise amitriptyline as a last resort.. went through all this and explained why I rather not take it, and that I'm at a stage in life where I can deal with my rls but I think it could get worse.

I told him that I need a medication that I can take occasionally, especially when I start my 8-8 shifts! I told him that cocodamol/codeine works really well with no side effects but he said he won't prescribe anything or advise me to keep taking it because it's addictive.

I still refuse to take amitriptyline daily, he said I could take it on the odd nights like I'm doing with codeine. Is it okay to do this? Does it take several doses to work or will it work straight away?

Thanks :) x

17 Replies

  • Hi, amberr, i have never taken amitriptyline but from what i have read ,you will know from taking the first dose if it will make your RLS worse.

  • Amitriptyline in small doses is used on an ad-hoc basis to help with sleep problems as well as an anti-depressant at higher doses so yeah you can use it intermittently.

    DR's are reluctant to prescribe opiates/opiods due in part to the misuse of drugs act in the UK and as they have targets to meet in reducing amounts prescribed. Unfortunately that is f**k all good to those of us who would benefit from opioids; instead they give us more dangerous substances to take!!

  • There are ongoing initiatives to curb the 'misuse' of opioids. I know from talking to various Drs that they will always avoid the opioids if they can.

    In my practice they would have had no problem prescribing strong pain killers in the past - now, without the say so of a pain clinic its bloody hard to get any decent one.

  • No, but in the north of Ireland prescription drug abuse is quite high.

  • Ah thank you I couldn't find much about intermittent use online :)

    Ahh.. :( cocodamol works really well, I don't get any of the side effects he mentioned such as constipation and tiredness the day after. And I'm not going to lie, if amitriptyline doesn't work on those off night I probably will still take it.

  • If it were me I would prefer to use the co-codamol rather than the anti-depressant.

    The opiates aren't as bad as the Dr's think - if you are genuinely medicating physical pain, (as opposed to emotional pain, boredom or intrusive thoughts) then the chances of developing an addiction are low, (there are other factors that should be considered mind!).

    I would work away at them just keeping an eye that I don't start to use more than prescribed, (always be honest with GP), and stop if you find yourself taking extra to get that nice feeling!!!

  • just remember if you use co codemol to long your body gets addictive and coming off them is hell and they also give you rls..just warning you :)

  • Hi Amberr,oh dear your consultation didnt go well at all did it! You already know that the Ami makes RLS worse for most of us as we went all through that last time you posted.There are exceptions and so really the only way to find out gor definite how it effects you is to try it for yourself.Choose a night where it doesn't matter so much if you dont sleep ,as Elisse has said you will know from the first dose how it effects you ,maybe you are one of the exceptions!How are yoiu getting hold of the Codeine if doctors eont prescrbe it for you?

  • Not really, no :( I've just moved out for uni so I don't know when I'll be collecting my prescription from my home pharmacy, ill let you guys know how it goes when I do:) you can get cocodamol over the counter in low doses, I think it's up to 30mg. I don't really want higher doses, I just wanted to know if I'm doing myself any long-term harm taking it on odd nights

  • As far as I am aware co-codamol over the 500/8mg strength is prescription only in Ireland and the UK, can't speak for the US.

  • As soon as I stopped the amitriptyline so did the worse rls and went back again to mild. I imagine it would be the same with 'occasionally' taking it. The only two things that ever helped besides that is a hydrocodone or a klonopin. Period.

    And they stopped my narcs.

    Thanks Docs!

  • Hi Amberr,

    I take cocodamol from the pharmacy occasionally and find it helps a lot, although if I take it too late at night I feel quite sleepy the next morning. I've been doing this for years with no harmful effects. I think occasionally is the key word.

  • Doctor in general would let us suffer the RLS because they have never felt it and see a whole person who looks healthy and so your legs move a little, well Mr. G.P. when and if it hits you and you reach the point of sleep deprivation where you are suicidal, then you'll take the codine or some other opiate just to get a few hours rest. We become dependent on lots of drugs and are not addicts, so why not use opiates to quiet down the urge to move.

  • He did say to me that I've already had rls since I was young so I might as well just live with it, he tried to word it nicely but he was basically saying you use this drug and there's nothing more he can do.

  • Amber,

    There are many different drugs that have an effect on RLS. Our bodies have as many different chemistries as there are people in the world. The cells in your body are made of DNA with the possibility of 5 billion different structures and you produce peptides that are as different from mine that we may as well be a different species of animal, so don't let this guy be the end of your quest. Try the Dopamine agonists, such as Maripex, Ropinoril , and a dozen others that were developed for Parkinson's patients but can be given to RLS patients as ''Off Label'' drugs.

    See a neurologist who specializes in involuntary movement disorders and the are dozens of different ones.

    unless you live in Iceland, you are different from your neighbors and must be treated differently.

  • I take amytriptyline 50mg at night for Migraine relief, I am now dependent on these tablets, I have tried to stop them reducing the dosage slightly every night the result was insomnia and depression. I am sure this drug gives me restless leg syndrome it also causes a dry mouth, my last migraine was 4 years ago and the cure was nothing to do with amytriptyline as I have been taking them for at least 12years. The migraine was probably caused by co-codamol tablets, I was taking an average of 6 a day in order to prevent the migraine which was affecting my ability to work, when I was prescribed sumatriptan nasal spray I started to recover from Migraine. I would avoid amytriptyline, I dont think it will help your RLS and may give you more problems.

  • any medicine taken regularly can be addictive. You take what ever gives relief.

    Amitriptyline was not for me. I was having hallucinations, I had to stop.

    Ropinirole works well for me with co codamol for bed.

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