Back to antidepressants for IBS?

Hi there, I haven't posted for a while as seemed to be 'getting by' and somehow plodding along with IBS symptoms not taking over completely. Up to a month ago I was taking amitryptiline (10 then 5mg) and escitalopram 5mg.

As my doses were so low and I was putting up with side effects I decided to see how my IBS would be without them. I did the very gradual tapering as advised and not both at the same time. The first couple of weeks I had worsened diarrhea and nausea which I expected and then a quiet week and now full blown horrible flare up. I've had constant abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea and headaches for over a week now and feeling fed up...

Back to doctor today for first time in a long time. I think they'll suggest I go back to what I was on but I don't want to be on anti-ds forever. Also I don't know if it's my body just readjusting. If anyone has had any similar experience would welcome your advice. Thank you!

5 Replies

  • Hi, it depends how long you were on anti-depressants for. If your body was on them for awhile you can expect a few months of irregularities, increased pain, etc

    , which is basic withdrawal symptoms, and that's completely normal. It's a way for your body to be clamoring for the drug you've stopped giving it. What are the symptoms of your flare-ups right now? Try some natural/stress-relieving remedies while your brain re-adjusts and if after a month or 2 of being off anti-depressants you feel that you really can't handle it, think about accepting the reality of being on them long-term. Because being off anti-depressants definitely leaves you more sensitive to flare-ups, since part of the reason why we have ibs is our extreme,emotional/physical sensitivety. I hope this post helps, I'm exactly where you are at after being ofd anti-depressants for just 1 year after being on them for 4. It's a hard decision to make, as nothing beats being yourself fully but the increased ibs pain makes it hard to maintain.

  • I agree with IBSBae. But know that there are other ways to feel better without antidepressants. I got rid of my IBS without meds. You may find this post helps you in the right direction:


  • And heres me being told my Bipolar meds might be the culprit for IBS-D???? If a doc doesn't know, I think they make it up?? 'Alledgedlly'!!!! I am on 60mg Fluoxetine and 600mg Lithium (to be reduced in March, due to lack of enthusiasm etc!!!! Looking round, I think, no 2 patients are the same!!!!

  • Hi it was the amitriptyline that was helping you; the 10 mgs are the best bet.

    Amityptyline 10 mg is not for depression its for pain and anxiety and IBS etc.

    very best wishes

  • Thanks for all of your replies. What you said IBSBae makes complete sense. I was on them for 2 years and off a month so doctor said they should be out of my system. I agree with you though and think that it may be my body trying to readjust.

    I'm thinking I will go back to the amitryptiline or try nortryptiline as doctor mentioned side effects could be less. Flare ups like this are just not do-able (I had forgotten!) so if the antidepressants were helping in any way I think I need to stick with them for now...

    I hope you are all finding things that help. Definitely the case that no 2 patients the same but I really appreciate your replies.

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