Amitriptyline antidepressant for IBS - IBS Network

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Amitriptyline antidepressant for IBS

I am finally being referred to a dietician after my visit to the Doctor yesterday. I am happy with this as the chronic constipation and awful bloating is really getting me down. However he also prescribed me with Amitriptyline for IBS and depression. Looking up the side effects I'm not sure I want to try them. They're 10mg which is low I believe but if constipation is a side effect then what's the use in that. Anyone else take Amitriptyline?

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It's a very low dose and not everyone will have constipation as a side effect. They are used to reduce the anxiety associated with IBS. It worked for me been on them 7 months now and only had a few flares of IBS. Hope this helps

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Amitriptyline didn't agree with me, but I am now on Nortriptyline, with no side effects. Unfortunately, I have to take these and other pain killers as the Crohn's has affected my joints and I have osteoporosis in my knee and leg.

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Were you looking at side effects for 10mg? Because that's a super low dose.

I used to work psych. We rarely used the older generation antidepressants, but if memory serves, a typical dose for depression is 75-150mg.

I took 10mg for 5 days, but I need to preface that my body doesn't process ANY antidepressants in any Normal or typical fashion. I stopped because it made me very depressed. I've never had suicidal thoughts in my life, neither passive or aggressive suicidal thoughts. The amitriptyline 10mg caused passive suicidal ideas in me.

(passive is general thoughts of death, bring ok with the notion of not being here, but no thoughts or plans of facilitating not being here)

But again, don't go by me because my response to ADs has historically been abnormal. If I were you I would not be afraid of 10mg. The risk/reward probabilities are in your favor. The people that have had success with it say it's a miracle drug for them, and very few have side effects. Just take it about an hour before bed time, as it might make you drowsy.

And, if it doesn't work at 10mg ask to be bumped up. My research before I tried it showed 10mg helps a large number of people, but 50mg was the dose that most people had their success with.

And realize, you can stop any time you want.

Now I have an unrelated question. Is this mostly a British forum? I joined without reading much about it. I've noticed a few things that lead me to believe that most of the respondents are British.

I wish you success in your endeavors here. And if you take this drug I'd appreciate it if you could tag me and let me know how it goes.

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Hi, thanks for your help. You've given me confidence in trying my first pill later tonight. Also I am British and seems most people are English speaking here.

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Cool!

Take it consistently. And if you have problems with it, talk to someone asap. If you have really bad problems, stop right away and then talk to someone asap.

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Like Spencermm, I also don’t process antidepressants well! However, I have been taking Amitriptyline for about 8 years now and had no side effect! 10mg is indeed a very low dosage. I take it for chronic daily headache and I was so afraid it would make my IBS worse. But it didn’t. I started on 10mg but now I need 30mg for the pain. I remember being very dopey in the mornings for about the first week, but that went away. It’s best to take it maybe an hour before you go to bed, then you won’t feel so dopey in the morning. I hope you’re ok and I totally understand your worries. I hate taking new meds. I health anxiety too and I’m banned from reading the leaflet that comes with meds now! Xx

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Hi Earthflower

I have been prescribed Amitriptyline in the past for my IBS/SIBO, and the associated hypoglycaemia I was suffering (I am not a diabetic...I produce too much insulin at times!). And it was very unpleasant, and ineffective.

Amitriptyline as you say is an antidepressant. It therefore comes with the body's reaction, addiction to, and withdrawal from, symptoms. It is a Tricyclic compound which is old hat these days but they still mess with your serotonin transport.

From my prospective the wide use of medication prescription has been proven to be as a method of preventing symptoms and not causation. In the case of Amitriptyline for IBS it is an 'Off Label' practise (Some evidence exists of it ethical use but no in depth research available).

There is some evidence that the assertion by the medical profession that the body and brain are unconnected is just plain hogwash (so called Dualism devised by Rene Descarte in 16th Century and still practised by the NHS today!). Now depression is being linked with inflammation in the body, a likely side effect of IBS. So the efficacy of its use in your case is not unsound.

The question is...treat a symptom with a powerful drug or look for treatment that centres on causation...I know I would chose the latter, and have done to great effect now!!

Good luck

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10mg is the dose that’s approved in the NICE guideline for treating IBS. Yes it does work in terms of reducing pain associated with IBS. But I found it far too sedating to take. If you are going to take it, then take the dose before bed. I did try 1/2 tablet but I found that too sedating even still. It will probably make you feel less down and less in pain, but I found i couldn’t function on it. I think the dietician might be more helpful, and you might find it makes you sleep better and feel a bit better short term. I don’t know if it causes constipation as I only took it very short term.

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I took it 10mg for many years I am not a Dr but if given the choice would not have ever used it

The long term effects are for some reason ignored by medical profession

Try to find alternative

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I took this for 3-4 months but I'm none the wiser as to whether it definitely worked or not - I'd be really interested to find out your experience if you do decide to take it. I didn't have constipation as a side effect but I didn't feel that great when I started taking it. That was just before my daughter was born, however, and so it was quite difficult period anyway with sleepless night etc being the norm. When she was 3 months old I stopped work and we moved to Poland for 6 months. At around this point my IBS symptoms got a lot better but I don't know whether that's because I stopped working and moved abroad or whether it was me having taken the Amitriptyline for 4 months.. once I got better, I stopped taking it but now I'm back at square one so I think it's definitely not just the drugs that are need to get things going the right direction. Thanks, Richard

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Hi,

I was prescribed 10mg to relieve my abdo pain while awaiting my scopes. I had been really unwell and had lost a lot of weight in a short time. I felt sedated for the first few weeks taking 10mg and couldn't get out of bed, string 2 words coherently together or drive. I was a mess and to be honest I couldn't tell if it was helping me or not.

I know everyone is different and has different tolerances to drugs, but this is truly how it affected me.

I could feel my body getting used to it after about 3-4 weeks but then I had to increase to 20mg as my pain increased, or my tolerance to the drug increased. I was like a zombie.

This drug has a half life of about 20 hours I think. I was taking it at tea time so that the effects would wear off as much as possible overnight. It was really rough.

Things took a nosedive, I had a PR bleed and was admitted to hospital to rush through my scopes. I was so unwell. After my scopes in July I was told to increase to 30mg.

I refuse to take it now. I have 2 young kids and although my pain is debilitating at times, at least I have a clear head and not existing like the walking dead.

Another side effect I had was dreadful nightmares and insomnia, which is hilarious because it's supposed to help you sleep. I've never had sleep problems before or since taking amitriptyline.

And my scopes were clear. I could cry sitting here thinking about how ill I've been and still no answers or decent therapy to help me.

You won't know until you try it, but just be aware, if you have a small body frame like me, then 10mg will affect you more than a bigger person. Good luck x

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I am tiny and underweight and have just been prescribed this anti-depressent 10mg. I know people say its a tiny dose, but as u say with small people i am scared of the effect. Have not tried one yet, maybe half? Also been given high energy protein drinks to put weight on - not nice. Has anyone tried them?

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You know, I was going to take it last night but didn't as read of it being prescribed for IBS D which is my opposite and I can't risk my constipation getting worst. Also I am a care worker and I work long days. I'm already very tired. I can't allow myself to feel more dopey when looking after the sick and elderly. Thank you all for your advice.

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I think you have made absolutely the right decision. I tried Amytriptyline years ago for IBS-C as I was told it would 'relax' me and help with the constipation. It didn't but just made me feel woozy, tired, sea sick and very down. I stopped after 3 days and felt much better. I suggest you try other things to help with the IBS-C and I do feel for you with the bloating and discomfort - it's so miserable. Wish I had a magic solution to offer you but I don't though deep breathing can help.

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It has worked for me for almost 2 years now for IBS and post-chemo and radiation for cancer treatment. My IBS seems to be under control to a large extent now.

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Hello, I have reference from the UNC Center for Functional GI and Motility disorders, regarding "The Use of Antidepressants in the Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Other Functuional GI Disorders" , available online, who state that amitriptyline and other TCA's are to be used for IBS-D, and that SSRI's like Prozac are for IBS-C. I think you should get a copy of this and take it to your doctor.

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Thank you. I feel pretty relieved I didn't take it. Shame I paid for it.

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I would see your Doctor, if they agree it was wrong, I would complain and get them to cover the correct prescription free for you, as you deserve.

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What about if you have alternating constipation and diarrhoea?

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Well, in my case it's just straightforward Constipation, so a bit annoyed I wasted money on something obviously not right for my condition.

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Hi I have been taking amitrypline for over 10 years for migraine I had no idea that it's meant to help IBS and my doctor has never mentioned that it's meant to help it either. I had tests a few months ago and was told my symptoms are due to IBS after ruling everything else out. Like you I am waiting to see a dietician as my symptoms have been dreadful for cominig up to a year now. Before that, I would have occasional flare ups but it's more or less constant now. It's only recently that I seem to be affected with really bad diareah straight after eating, so I am now keeping a food diary to try to find a link. I get very rare bouts of constipation but I don't think this is because of the amitrypline. I'm on 20mg each night, which is still a low dose but certainly helps with migraine. I wish you the best of luck going forward, hopefully you will get some answers from the dietician.

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I take 50mg of Amitripline for IBS-D & it significantly improves my quality of life. I suffer from nausea, pain, cramp, gas, belching/flatulence, bloating, dizziness, diarrhea, loose stools, urgent bowel movements & fatigue. Amitripline improves all of my symptoms, apart from the diarrhea which I have to take Imodium for.

10mg did absolutely nothing for me, but 25mg made a real difference.

I always thought Amitripline was giving to people with D though, not C.

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