Do antidepressants work for ibs?: Hi I have just... - IBS Network

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Do antidepressants work for ibs?


Hi I have just read an article in a newspaper about treating ibs with amitriptyline.Has anyone tried this and if so did it bring any relief?I have tried just about everything and I am so tired of suffering with pain etc.Considering asking my gp to give this a go but having never took this type of medicine I’m a little wary.

23 Replies

Hi julieB5200 i have recently been given amitriptyline by my doctor because I was waking during the night with bowel pain and having to rush to the loo. I've been given the lowest dose and have to take it an hour before bedtime and I have to say it's worked brilliantly for me.

I have IBS D and it's helped across the board. No more pain at night, better during the day and I'm sleeping better.

Only downside i have found are the side effects - feel thick in the morning and have a dry mouth. Small price to pay for the benefits i have gained.

This works for me.

Hope this helps. Take care.

Hello Purpletara,

I hope you’re well. Just to ask, what time do you take amitriptyline before you go to bed? I was on it once for nerve pain and I had the same symptom as you, a thick head in a morning. I spoke to my neurologist and he said to take it 2-3 hours before I went to bed. I have to say this worked for me. For a dry mouth, make sure you’re drinking at least 6-8 glasses of water per day, more if you can. I hope this helps 🙂

PixieP x

Hi Pixie, my doctor said to take it an hour before bed so that's what I've been doing but feel as if in a fog in the morning! Will try your suggestion.Know I don't drink enough water going to put that in practice as well.

Thanks very much for your kind reply,

Take care x

I read the article too and while diet is working amazingly well for me I did think it was very interesting.

My initial thought was whatever works but then I thought why are pills always the answer? I don't want to live on pills for the rest of my life, I'd like the science boffins to find a cure so I can go to a restaurant with my family (when we are allowed obviously) and eat whatever I want of the menu or travel to another country (when we're allowed) and not worry about how to find a public toilet.

I think they are meant to help with IBS pain, but it might be dependent on what type of IBS you have. I think they can make constipation worse, so if you have type C it might not work for you. Maybe talk it through with your doctor and see what they say.

Thank you. I have ibs c so perhaps unsuitable but I will mention to my consultant and see what he says.All he has prescribed is lactulose which has made me have diarrhoea and more wind pain!

Yeah I don't know why they keep prescribing lactulose, it does make things worse for a lot of people. I'm type C too, and the possibility of it making it worse is what has stopped me asking for it. Having said that, I am on other pills that could potentially make IBS C worse and I haven't noticed a difference so far, so there is a possibility it will be OK. guess you don't know until you try

Hi Julie, I have been on amitriptyline for about 15 years now for IBS, so it’s nothing new, I would say it’s moderately helpful as every time I have tried to stop taking it symptoms seem to get worse.

I was told amitriptyline isn’t addictive, but am now trying for umpteenth time to get off it as I believe in my case it caused tinnitus and if I take full dose it affects my heart ( you don’t need to take much as it works in small amounts and increases don’t work any better).

It definitely helped my quality of life when sleeping with pain every night was difficult , and no other medication helped,but it does not cure or take away all symptoms.

I would only recommend this if you don’t get relief from other things e. g diet modifications, colpermin (undervalued in my opinion) stress management.

Julie x

JulieB5200 in reply to Zantecat

Thank you for your advice. I am concerned about addiction and more unpleasant side effects!Why can’t medication make you well without causing another ailment 😫x

Hi Julie, i did try this but probably not long enough. I was so fuzzy when waking up and it took hours to feel normal. It didn't seem to make a difference with all the daytime pain etc. good luck if you try it. Everyone is different.

Sorry for second part of response here. I just do not feel that IBS is stress related. When in bathroom with nightmare pain it is not in my head! Stress is a part of life and hearing how many start as teens I am just so disgusted. Doctors world wide cannot figure this out. I honestly believe it is pesticides and medication being fed to our vegetables and animals. I wish I could afford a farm and never shop local again. Just my thoughts since in week 3 now of the most horrible bout of this supposed IBS D.

JulieB5200 in reply to golf99

Mmm ok thank you for your response. I am still unsure wether to try it 🤔.I have ibs c and it sounds like it’s more prescribed for diarrhoea ibs.

golf99 in reply to JulieB5200

Best to check with your doctor. Hope you start to feel better also.

JulieB5200 in reply to golf99

Ps sorry to hear how unwell you are feeling. I have been pretty bad most days for weeks now and I’m so tired of it. I have been having severe trapped wind pain first thing in the morning.Then awful pain passing motions,usually on n off toilet around 3 times within 20 minutes.Cannot eat anything till it all settles down.All the pain is tiresome so I understand how you feel.x

Batteria in reply to golf99

You have my sympathy. I know how it feels to be so so Poorly. My former husband was told by a specialist that I was an attention seeker. And I heard him say it! He thought I was out of earshot. I was furious. I have been an extrovert from day one and never needed to seek centre stage as I always got it naturally. What that man was saying was “I cannot figure out what is wrong with this woman therefore she has a personality disorder. You stick to your guns. Stress doesn’t cause everything. And get better. Con amore Bx

Amytripaline is used sometimes for neuropathic pain and as an antidepressant. I was prescribed it for a neuropathic condition and it flared up my IBS and caused constant cramps and diarrhoea.

I was prescribed Amiltryptyline a year ago and it was a disaster and I had to stop after 4 days. Earlier this year I was given Nortryptyline, again, after 3 days I was close to crying my eyes out, no sleep, terrible twitching, restless legs etc. I am now on Mebeverine and things have improved, not completely, but better than previous prescriptions. I hope this helps.

Hi Julie I take citilopram for ibs c been on it for 3 months it’s an ssri antidepressant which is supposed to help with ibs c , the pain has lessened and best of all I sleep well at night now x

Fencinggirl in reply to Pansy2

Hi Pansy, what dosage are you on if you don't mind me asking? I also take citalopram but it doesn't make much of a difference to me.

Pansy2 in reply to Fencinggirl

Hi I take 10mg makes me fuzzy headed went out , locked door and posted my keys through letterbox and locked myself out !!!! 😂x

Fencinggirl in reply to Pansy2

Oh dear 😀. I'm on 10mg already so I suppose it's safe to say it doesn't do anything for my symptoms.

Pansy2 in reply to Fencinggirl

I sleep better that’s about it lol x

I was on Amytrip for about six years for pudendal neuropathy but it made no difference to the IBS. The only thing I remember is that my dreams were really good. Bx

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