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Amitriptyline Withdrawal and Addiction
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Amitriptyline Withdrawal and Addiction

I have been on Amitriptyline for almost 10 years (since I was 13) for migraine prevention. I take a dose of 50 mgs at bedtime. Although it has completely eliminated my migraines, I have  tremendous cravings for sweets and have a very hard time losing weight. I also have been perpetually tired since beginning the medication.  I am tired of taking the drug and dealing with the side effects. When I forget a dose, I can bound out of bed in the morning, and feel much more alert.  

I have tried several times to wean myself off the drug (with a physicians supervision) by getting 10mg pills and decreasing the amount by one pill every two weeks.  I can successfully wean myself down to 1 pill per day, but after completely stopping the medication, I have severe migraines for days.  They are completely debilitating, and so so painful.  The symptoms resolve only when I continue with my 50mg dose, no less.  I can't handle the withdrawal symptoms.

I would also like to get pregnant in the next couple years, and I don't want to be on the medication when I do so.  I really need to find a solution. Does anyone have any similar experiences, or have any advice? Are there any medications to help with the withdrawal symptoms that I could discontinue after I have been off the drug for awhile?  Any help would be greatly appreciated!!
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4 Comments Post a Comment
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177003_tn?1266273955
I have been taking amiltriptyline (elavil) for over 20 yrs for depression. It's an antidepressant, but it's used for other things. It's a very old drug but none of the new ones work on me. I take 300mg at bed time. It was raised recently from 200mg. That sounds like a large dose and it would be for someone who just started taking it. I started on a much lower dose, but over the years it had to be raised to stay at a therapeutic level. There is a sedative in it, which is what's making you feel tired and drugged. I don't remember my dreams hardly ever. I have said this before in other posts but...when I take my night time elavil I better be close to bed or I will be asleep in about 40 minutes no matter where I'm at.
Could you mention to your dr. how it's making you feel?? Maybe you only need 25mg. Let me know how you're doing. There aren't that many people on it here. I'm also tapering off fentanyl pain patches.
Take Care......LS
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177036_tn?1192290235
Elavil has a high amout of antihystemine in it and when I was taking it, it was lights out at night.  Have you tried others?  (antidepressants?)
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177003_tn?1266273955
Hello,
Over the years I have been put on the newer SSNRI's and they work in a different way which doesn't work for me at all. My family dr. sends me to a psychiatrist once a yr to get my meds evaluated. Elavil has been good to me so I guess I won't complain (although I have in the past. lol)
I hope your day was good and your night is even better.
Take Care.....LS
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Avatar_m_tn
i have also been taking amitriptyline for about 10 yrs for migraines.  i still get migraines on 40mgs, but on top of it, i feel a general sense of looking at life through a glass pane.  like you, if i skip a dosage, i wake up with energy and a sense of possibility.   i have attempted to deal with the sluggishness via caffine (lots of expresso), but i want to quit it all.  just searching about on google, i came across www.labelmesane.com  the organization's purpose is to help people withdraw from prescription meds.  the website includes a video from geraldo on fox news interviewing one the the founders.  interesting . . .   good luck!
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Avatar_m_tn
Hello, I have been taking Elavil for 27 years and I really dont care if I ever stop taking it because it has helped me with so many things.  I have never gained weight with it, I sleep very well, It has helped with headaches in the past and really I do not think it interfers with my life.  I am 55 and will probably always take it.  But that is not answering your question and sorry about that, if you feel you do want to go off it.  Then do it ever so slowly and it should go well.  I did go off it a few years ago but in a short time and had an awful time so just do it very slowly and your body will not react the same as faster.  I hope this helps.
Tudey
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Avatar_n_tn
I'm in chronic pain and was given 25 mg amitriptaline. If I get side effects I will quit and am far from the clinic so will have to withdrawal and wondered how hard it is. I was hoping to hear how to come off of it...I see this website listed here so will try. If I can't come off of it I don't want to take it. Benzos are that way. Also fentenyl. But I am in severe pain and since I can't get adequate pain medication thanks to addicts actions or so they tell me...I may try this drug to see if it helps. I wish they'd just make safe drugs. That would be the answer. For the person who posted who wanted to have a baby...I'd bite the bullet and get off this and all meds. Having a disabled child certainly isn't a good thing and meds have side effects some affecting fetus so I hope you get off of it ok.    
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Avatar_n_tn
I have a history of migraines and chronic tension headaches. I was addicted to Firocet (Acetaminophen, Butalbital, and Caffeine) for 10 years and Elavil (aka Amitriptyline) was the only thing that worked on my severe chronic tension headaches to allow me to stop taking the Firocet (which I was at the point of taking one to two pills every two or three hours around the clock to get any relief). Along with some other treatment options for the migraines (botox injections and imitrex taken as needed), I started taking 50mg of Amitriptyline every night and then weaned off the Firocet over a week period. It worked great and after a few weeks of being off the Firocet and taking the Elavil, I was having much fewer headaches. I did, however, start to gain lots of weight. Within 90 days, I gained 30lbs despite continuing my normal exercise routine (nothing extreme, but I work out 2-3 times a week). Five days ago I quit taking the Amitriptyline cold turkey. It has not been plesant - I have had two severe migraines and have generally been nauseous since I quit taking it. My doctor gave me Zanaflex to take at night, so I have not had trouble sleeping and I do wake up with more energy. I am starting to have the constant tension headaches that I had before - the ones that lead me to taking the Firocet and then the Amitriptyline- but I am hoping to get everything out of my system and then try something with less side effects. My doctor said it could take up to 2 weeks to get through the withdrawals. For me, the drug is not worth the weigh gain and so I am just trying to make it through. Thought it might help to share my experience.

Good luck.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi, I was on 50mg amitriptyline for tension headaches due to a cyst on my frontal lobe. I hate the drug and have tried weaning down several times through my gp. The headaches and nausea on withdrawal convinced me to resume. Two weeks ago I found out I was pregnant and panicked and went cold turkey. I lost my baby because it was ectopic and I can't help but feel that the amitriptyline was the cause. I have been off it for exactly two weeks now and I am having massive migraines and nausea, but for me there is no going back, I can tough out the nausea and co-codamol is dulling the headaches. Now I know I can get pregnant after 4years of trying the risk of something going wrong is greater on amitriptyline. I have read loads on the net and a foetus with missing limbs, webbed fingers/feet and possible brain development problems is enough to convince me that I'm better off without amitriptyline. From this point in my life, things can only get better right
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Avatar_f_tn
My son was placed on Amitriptyline about 2 years ago at 12 years old to relieve his concussion related headaches and nausea. When he has tried to quit it cold turkey, they both returned with a vengeance, too. His mood is much more sedate now, (as if he's "looking through a pane"). We will try weaning him slowly.
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Avatar_m_tn
what a tuff time of it you have all been through. Must be very worrying, but please do try to wean your son off amitriptolene very slowly it is a very addictive medication, although the doctors dont seem to realise this. I was put on amitriptolene thirteen yrs ago and I really notice if I so much as miss one dose, it is very sedating and not beneficial in the long run. The very best of luck to you and your son, I am sure that at such ayoung age he is very resillient and will bounce back to the best of health quickly.
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Avatar_f_tn
Well, good news! My son has been off the med for over a month, with no real side effects, praise God! We lowered his dose from 50 to 25 for a week, then halved the 25's for a week, and then 0 mg!!! Hope it helps.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you for your kind words, racatac. He's still doing great, thank The Lord!
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Avatar_m_tn
I was on Amitriptyline for 4.5 years at 100mg a night for severe hand pain that resulted from 3 surgeries.  I did enjoy the nighttime benefit but I too felt like I was glassed over in the morning.  I also felt like I had no feelings- good or bad- just so-so emotions all the time.  I felt like I lost my old self so I quit by reducing by 1/2 (down to 50 mg) for 2 weeks and then 1/2 again (down to 25 mg) for 2 weeks and then stopped.  I did have mid-range headaches for 2 weeks but I still have very vivid, dreams and nightmares.  Sometimes really scary.  I was having these every night and my husband said I was talking and screaming in my sleep (and I remember doing that) but now its down to about 2X per week so I suspect it will go away eventually.  My hand pain is worse but I'm dealing with it for now because my next step is to get off the Vicodin (5/325 4-5 X per day) I've been on for the same reason for 4.5 years.  I'm not so concerned about the dependence/addiction of Vicodin because I know I have not abused it.  I have only taken it to be able to function with the pain and have not increased the dosage or #'s per day like people tend to do when abusing it. I just want to get back to me again and see how my pain level is without anything.  I'll see the Doc next week about a withdrawal schedule for that. I don't think I'll get much support from my Husband because he firmly believes I need to continue the V for ever but I have stopped working (unable to concentrate) and have increased my dependence on him for the past 4.5 years.  I just want to get back to me!
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