Amitriptyline Prescribed to 3 year old for insomnia. Has anyone ever heard of this?

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Our son slept normal his entire life until he hit 2 years old and began night waking. Nothing major, never unhappy, just up and awake for hours bouncing around ! He was in a crib then and so I always just let him soothe himself back down and never bothered him. He had a bink and a light up music giraffe in there with him and he bounced in there and eventually would go back to sleep but he’s a very active guy and quickly found out how to climb out of the crib and had to be moved to a regular bed for safety which which was a lot more freedom so started the constant getting out of bed when put in bed thing and so on. He didn’t night wake every night but once he got to that big boy bed it became an every night thing and I always did the right thing as far as trying to break the cycle and not let him come in bed with us or us with him and so on. Nothing worked. I’ve tried every natural route you can think of ! We are a very active family and he gets plenty of exercise ! However after turning 3 and having him asleep at 10pm and back awake by 12am and up til 6am every single night we were dying and he was too he had huge bags under his eyes and miserable . We tried cutting naps but he needed them was miserable without them & slept even worse (doesn’t seem possible but it was apparently) when he became over tired so he wasn’t one of these marathon kids who could run on nothing and make up for it later.

he is delayed in speech & I just felt like he wasn’t able to learn as well as before bc he was not getting enough rest! This baby ALWAYS slept good and through the night even when we gave up the binkie at 1 1/2 it never phased him! 

I broke down to our doc & begged for him to help us . Melatonin never worked for him he slept even less & We tried clonidine & it did an opposite effect and also made him very moody and still no relief .

Our doc prescribed him 5mg dose of  Amitriptyline 1 hr before bedtime. I was a bit concerned since this is a 3 year old - 35lb boy and this is an adult medication. My brother who is almost 40 takes a 25 mg for nerve damage in his feet due to diabetes and my MIL who is over 40 takes a 20mg for migraines . The bottle says if the 5mg dose doesn’t work he can take a 10mg dose !!! It’s been about a month on a 5 mg dose and our sons focus as improved actually and he’s been making some progress with speech as well. I was happy but now that it’s been a little over a month he’s having major constipation and we were told to take miralax every day sad (so many meds for a 3 year old boy) then we have noticed that at first for sleep it really worked he slept 9 hours the first 3 nights then he started night waking once but going right back to sleep as soon as I put him back in bed and he did a few times then it started being night waking twice but went back to sleep again... but now he’s night waking and only sometimes going back to sleep . It seems to be more often that he’s awake and unable to go back to sleep  i do not allow him to get up and run free I always make him go back to bed to instill that this is bed time still. I’m actually writing this at 4am though because he’s still awake and has been since 1am and had gone to sleep at 10:15pm.. it’s been like this every day for 4-5 days and usually is 4-5 days now a week lately .. assuming he could be thirsty due to the medicine I make sure he has a drink but he doesn’t seem to want that and that doesn’t seem to be the issue..he eventually passes out 5-6 hrs later and sleeps 4 hours or so but he is in preschool and this sleep schedule is not going to work for us after school starts back up after the holidays 

I’m debating letting him bump to 10mg . Seems like such a HIGH dose for a little boy. I’m concerned because I have read every piece of information out there about this drug, however there doesn’t seem to be a lot of info available for children under 10 or for children taking it for insomnia . And I’m afraid bumping it isn’t going to work and he will have to be weened off completely anyways ! 

Ugh we are tired and concerned and frankly, as mom, I’m getting run down and tired and depressed myself . If anyone has known anyone who has had their child under the age of 10 take this drug for sleep issues could you please tell me it’s helping them? Or not helping? Do I just need a new pediatric doctor at this point ? I’m lost. 

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  • Posted

    Hi Casey

     

                   What a nightmare.  You must be a mess both worried about your son and exhausted from lack of sleep yourself.  I'm sorry I can't help you much as I have never heard of Ami being prescribed for any children let alone one so young.  I understand your desperation but there must be a better way.  I'm not sure if you have sought one already but a second opinion would be good.  Or maybe a natural therapist of some sort.  There are complications both taking Ami and coming off it and I'd hate for your son to end up with more problems.

    I hope there is someone on the forum who can help you a bit more but in my very own opinion I would take him to a witch doctor before I'd start him on the medication spiral.  I've been weaning off Ami for 2 years now after taking 50mg for over 20 years.  Down to 2.5mg a day now and very happy to be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel not to mention losing weight easily for the first time in 20 years.  My 35yo daughter was recently prescribed Ami for anxiety and insomnia and I talked her out of taking it.  There is no way I want to see my girl on medication like this.

    But I do understand that you are desperate and if 10mg helps your son (and the whole family) then it might be an answer but I really don't know what 10mg would do to someone so little.  I'm sorry I haven't been much help at all and have probably confused the issue even more but I just wanted you to know that someone was listening.

    I wish you lots of luck and hope you get some answers soon.

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    • Posted

      Thank you, Sheena ! I’m very pro- herbal and natural rememdies . My mother is a holistic advisor for her work and we have tried many things to try to help him naturally and following some food suggestions to as far as what we should give or not give and watch his diet well too. Sadly none of this has helped him. 

      Thanks for listening ! It means more than you know!

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  • Posted

    Gosh Casey i feel for you and your family. I too like Sheena have been coming off Amitriptyline and found this site which, helped me greatly. I was on Amitriptyline for almost 2 years, i took it for nerve pain but, had to keep increasing as worked for a while then stopped. I got to 30 mg and thought no i,m too groggy, gaining weight and not me any more so reduced slowly down to 10 mg and it has taken 10 months to finally get off the 10 mg due to the awful anticholinergic effects it had on my body. I know children do get prescribed this drug usually for bed wetting and i know many adults who get it prescribed for sleep, but i don,t know re kids sleep. GP s are a bit quick to dish this drug out and i worry for your son being on this type of med  which, he will come to depend on for sleep. I would seek a second opinion and start writing to other professionals other than your GP who are great but you need someone who is much much more knowledgeable in sleep problems. I would demand a referral to hospital maybe a neurologist, I am sorry i cannot offer anymore advice and maybe someone on here can. Amitriptyline is good at helping people sleep but, you may end up  increasing it again and again i fear. I have a friend who's son does not sleep well and he has had various studies at hospital. i will message her and post back on here when i hear from her xx 

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  • Posted

    Hi again Casey, i have spoken to a work colleague and her son is 8. he too was put on melatonin but made him unable to communicate. He has been put on Amitriptyline for his sleep 10 mg but it only worked for a short time and she did not increase it like they wanted. He is still on it as he has leg pains and helps with this. She has had to fight, and demand and fight some more to have her son seen by specialists. She states your son  needs a neurological referral like i thought, my friend lives in sheffield and the neurologist there has been amazing. Sleep is still an issue and he is having further investigations. xx   
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    • Posted

      Amanda, thank you! My husband and I are very uneasy about the increasing to 10mg in the case that it just won’t even work and then what? We must bring him back down. It hardly seems worth it! So thank you I think we still stick to what we have him on until I can speak to our doctor more about this . I was very much against putting him on the medicine but in an effort to help him I felt like we had to try. But it doesn’t seem to have worked.

      Thankfully I do have a pending referral to a Children’s hospital in our area (however with a huge wait list 😞wink but still a referral! On the paperwork that we must send back i mentioned various times that I am deeply concerned mostly about his sleep or lack there of! I don’t know if this means they will add a neurologist to this team that we are going to see since I don’t believe it’s for the neurology department though more so On a developmental level as obviously with delayed speech & some sensory seeking behaviors (like being a busy body) there is a possible mild ASD diagnosis in our future . I know a lot of autism moms or moms with children on the spectrum but their children have all reacted well to melatonin - we did not and Our son always slept great until 2 years old. He’s a very happy and otherwise healthy guy! Very sweet and easy going ! No behavioral issues at all or nightmares/terrors either . 

      My husband takes solace in the face that we cannot be the only ones suffering with this type is issue that there must be other children out there and therefore answers somewhere so actually made us feel a lot better ! I do hope they can figure out what’s going on with your friends son as well and I feel for her ! I don’t believe we have any chronic pain issues. The only major issue our son had medically was a pyloric stenosis surgery at 3 weeks old he does not seem to be in pain or have RLS . 

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    • Posted

      Hi Casey, my friends son has a form of Autism and other issues too and did not react well to the melatonin. She said it has been a struggle getting Drs and specialists to help they kept on fobbing her off so she has had to stand her ground and demand things even with schooling. I believe my friends sons issues are different from your sons, as her son was not even one when she knew something was not right as he was not  developing.  Like i said he was put on Amityriptyline for sleep but did not help after a few weeks but helped with his leg pains as he gets tired and cannot walk far. Her son also had issues with bed wetting so the amitriptyline helped with that. xx
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    • Posted

      Oh I am so sorry to hear your friend is struggling with so much ! We haven’t had to fight with much yet except our insurance does not cover speech unless he has a head injury so I had to go through a community program who assessed him and because they found he did have a delay in speech - they offered speech services for free and in home.

      It’s so hard to get people to listen sometimes ! But yes, Our son has developed normal and hit all milestones normally until speech. We just assumed he would start talking as soon as speech began but it’s been a year now he hasn’t said many words we understand yet just lots of jargon still. He also doesn’t seem to have some of the more ‘classic’ markers for autism. But he does seem to have a sensory disorder. I believe he could still have autism though which is why we are seeing the team at children’s in hopes of sorting this all out. We have been trying to potty train however, but with a child who never wants to sit and who doesn’t tell you much, it’s been a challenge so I’m glad you mentioned this about the bed wetting . Perhaps that can help us in that department anyway. 

      Thank you again! 

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    • Posted

      Have you tried raw goats milk from a reputable local farmer?

      When my son was a baby he would not sleep, or stay asleep, and cried alot. It was a nightmare. I became very sleep deprived , was breastfeeding, pumping and saving milk, and trying to holding down a f.t. job, and up and down all hours of the night trying to sooth my son to sleep.

      Anyway, the goat milk worked from the first night. He slept 10 hrs straight....It was great. And it continued to work. But then his pediatrician gave us the Oh no that might not be as good for him as formula or easy for him to digest speech and scared us into stopping. I've since learned it's much easier on digestion than cows milk, and full of beneficial probiotics, which is another thing you might try. Kefir is full of it.

      Five formulas later, no success, back to sleep issues.

      My husband was not working at the time but would not get up in the night to help or give me a break even though i had some breastmilk stored up. I was trying to do both bc i did not wabt to let go of breastfeeding, but with the sleep deprivatiom, i was not producing much.

      I was prescribed something to calm my nerves bc of the ongoing, severe sleep deprivation, which had an opposite effect on me in that I had panic attack symptoms, which was a side effect I later learned. Long story short, my hubby, who would not get a job , and after being given the speech to shape up and help with his son, or ship out, realizing that he'd have to get a job, get up at night, and be responsible, he falsely accused me of being crazy, and sued for custody. After that I endured a several year battle trying to untangle all the lies he told and endured many helllish circumstances. He still lies about me and tries to deceive and manipulate our son.

      My son has had stomach pain on and off for several years, which I intuitively attribute to all the issues perpetuated during the divorce and what he is being told. He is now 9. I feel powerless to change the situation as i cannot control his father and cannot prove anything, and dont want to set foot into a courtroom again and endure that uncertain hell. So the pediatric gastro doctor suggested low dose amitriptyline for his tummy, but I'm reluctant to try it as well, bc of his age. And given the effect the med I tried had on me, it sealed my lack of faith in them.

      I wonder if none of it would have happened if we'd just stuck with the goats milk.

      The goats milk is worth a try. Along with your son, you have to consider the toll the sleep deprivation can have on you, too, and possibly your marriage.

      I realize that was alot to share, but it is all tied inexplicably tigether, has deeply impacted me and my sweet son, and still does to this day. All due to the sleeping issue.

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  • Posted

    Hi Casey

    I take 10mg and it helps me sleep however I'm trying to get off the drug and having a hard time with the withdrawals. Not everyone has a problem but some of us do. I would seek out a second opinion with another pediatrician before uping the dose. Just to be on the safe side 😊

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    • Posted

      You were prescribed it for sleep, Tiffany? I have barely even heard of it prescribed for that either, much less for a toddler . 

      Our Ped insists it’s safe to take 10mg but my mommy feels just don’t feel right about this . I am going to seek out another professional opinion, thank you! I am sorry you are struggling with withdrawals I heard they can be very hard . 

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    • Posted

      The information is was given when I picked up my prescription said it is not for anyone under 12 yrs. I am not a medical professional so I am sure every situation is different but he is so little. I would definitely seek out a second opinion. Maybe they just need to run some tests and see what is going on. I hope you get some answers and the little guy gets some sleep ❤
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    • Posted

      Yes i had trouble when they took me off another med cold turkey! Then back on it and then they tapered me off. Because my withdrawals were so bad coming off of the last one my doctor gave me 10mg to help me sleep.
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    • Posted

      Everything I read says not for children ! Ugh but I do trust our doctor he’s very well regarded 10 mg just has seemed too high for me to give him. I have not upped the dose . I just take the no sleep and hope for he best when goes to sleep the next night lol I know my friend from work had her son on it at around age 8 I think he took 10 it was for migraines though. He’s recently off of it because he had to be put on something else due to another more pressing medical condition. She never said if he struggled coming off or switching  but still 8 years old is a lot older than 3 years old . 

      I hope you get some sleep smile thanks for the reply !! 

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