amitriptyline & weight gain

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Hello,

Ive been taking amitriptyline for about a year for chronic tension headaches and i'm convinced they have made me gain weight. I've always kept an eye on my weight and i know how it can vary from day to day, but i always remained 2lb's either side of my ideal weight.

Since taking amitriptyline i've gained over half a stone, I even gained weight while trying to loose it! I've been eating around 1200 calories a day and still nothing!

I have asked several times at the doctors about this, and they all say that amitriptyline is not known for weight gain, but when looking on the internet it says that it is a well known fact, so i am quite confused.

Any help or advice would be great.

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  • Posted

    It is a recognised adverse effect but probably not a very common one, compared to effects such as feeling more drowsy, constipated or suffering with dry mouth. I think these tend to be more troublesome when amitriptyline is first taken and hence more patients will complain of these effects early on in treatment. I think any weight gain may be a more subtle or gradual process which might explain why GP's/doctors are less aware of the link.

    It may be worth discussing the dose you take with your GP. Do you think there is scope for this to reduce without affecting the control of your headaches ?

    Tarun (hospital pharmacist)

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    • Posted

      I have been taking 10 and sometimes 20 mg of this tablet at night due to severe neck and head pains.  I have only been on it for a month but my stomache has unexplainably grown bigger and my middle wider.  I am not eating more than I did before so why is it affecting my weight.  Is something in the drug which causes the inflammation of body parts?! 
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    • Posted

      Hi

      I too understood that Amitriptyline could cause weight gain. I have been on it for several years for chronic headaches/migraines and have found it great for that. I only take 5mgs per night (and one GP said he was surprised such a low dose had ANY effect!) but have noticed that I simply cannot lose weight despite doing loads of exercise and eating very healthily. Could that be the reason? Also, I have now decided to try and come off it all together and haven't taken any for a week. However, my sleep patterns are erratic (some nights I can't get to sleep and others, I can't get enough!). I am tired all the time and lack energy. I really do want to come off it altogether but wonder how long it will take for these symptoms to pass. Any idea/advice please? many thanks.

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    • Posted

      I have been taking this for about year and half maybe longer, i started on 10mg but now i am on 40mg per night so i take 4 10mg tablets as i suffer bad migranes where i have thrown up 40+ times during the day with it on top of that i am bad travelling and they said this would help with that too...it does not lol

      ​it does help with my migranes though BUT since starting these or there abouts lets say closer to 2 year i have put on 2 stone! which i am not happy about, the docs say it could be my age as im 33 and ive always been slim and im 6ft 3 and always eaten what i want and not put weight on and even when i eat good for ages i dont lose the weight at all so im convinced its these tablets

      ​the docs say these do not make you have weight gain but i beg to differ, its all on my belly too and abit on lower face but mainly on belly, people say oh your tall so can get away with it but i can't and tbh it gets me down because i can not shift it at all

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    • Posted

      Hi Ruby.

      You will find that the majority of anti-depressants make you gain weight that is hard to lose, even after stopping the meds in some cases.

      Some doctors say they don't, others say they "can", but none will ever tell you they do.

      Anti-depressants are good in some areas, and help many people, but they are also a terrible drug that cause more depression than being off them...hence weight gain.

      Good luck and all the best.

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  • Posted

    Hi Tarun, thanks for your reply. Yes possibly. I started on 10mg, then 25 and then to 50 as i was still getting headaches. I have been on 50mg for a quite while now and it has helped a lot, but when i asked about how long i would be taking them for the doctor said as long as they're needed.

    As the headaches have reduced for a while now would it be an option to go to a lower dose? I saw the most dramatic change in weight when I went up to 50mg, so it may be interesting to see if this changes if I go back to 25.

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    • Posted

      Amitrptaline are addictive that is why the Docors say stay on them as long as they are needed because they are so terribly hard to come off & the withdrawal symtoms are terrible & so hard to handle that you wish to give up before you even start.

      There are better Tablets out there for headaches, the DOCTORS ARE JUST TO LAZY TO LOOK THEM UP , PLUS THEY HAVE THE NEXT PATIENT AFTER YOU SO, WISH TO GET RID OF YOU QUICKLY. sorry about higher case (not shouting just making mistakes Jackie

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  • Posted

    I think you'll need to balance the risk of ongoing weight gain with the risk of worsening your headaches and it may be that smaller decreases initially would be the way to go, e.g reducing in steps of 10mg perhaps. Best thing is to speak with the GP to figure out a way of reducing the dose carefully to reduce the risk of your headaches returning or worsening.
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  • Posted

    Ok, thank you for your help! You wouldn't happen to know if there would be any alternatives to amitriptyline?

    When i have previously asked at the doctors before she basically said i have to weigh up the benefits of gaining weight and not having headaches. She also said i look fine and not over weight, but I made the appointment because i had seen the nurse a few days before and she had commented on my weight.

    And although they do help my headaches, i'm just feeling unhappy at the moment. I'm 22 and would rather be feeling confident and going out, rather than always being tired and feeling obese.

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  • Posted

    There may be other treatments which the GP could try which work differently to amitriptyline. Have you ever seen a neurologist for the chronic headaches ? I wonder whether you've thought about non-drug treatments such as acupuncture ? I may be a pharmacist but medication might not always be the answer !
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  • Posted

    I havent actually. How does one go about seeing a neurologist? I will look into acupuncture (although i have a thing about needles going through skin- urgh! as long as i don't see it neutral )

    I would definitely consider alternative methods as i never bargained for taking tablets forever more when i went to the doctors.

    My lifestyle has also changed recently as i have finished university etc. which may make a difference, although i think it is just as stressful being back home and trying to find a job.

    Many Thanks!

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    • Posted

      Hi clowny

      I've been using Amitriptyline for a few years now for similar problems with neck pain and headaches. My Dr referred me for some physio and they used to give me acupuncture in the sessions as well. I really can't recommend it enough it works amazingly for me. It doesnt work for everyone though my physio told me there's 3 types of people, those it works well for, those it has no effect on and the odd few that it can make things worse. It's important to make sure your having physio acupuncture as well not the Chinese one as they aren't quite the same. Your Dr should be able to refer you for 6 sessions through the nhs and also to a neurologist as well. Don't worry about the needles either, they are about a hairs width and you hardly feel them, just more aware that they are there. Good luck, I'd love to know how you get on 😋

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  • Posted

    Thanks for your reply. I'll definitely check those websites.

    I've heard the increased appetite issue before, this is when i made sure i carefully kept track of what i was eating (I usually eat pretty healthily anyway). So what i don't understand is the weight gain or lack of weight loss when i know i have been eating well.

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