Can taking a higher dosage of Amitriptyline cause side effects?

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Hello,

I have been prescribed Amitriptyline for around four weeks, starting at 10mg each day for a week, and then upping the dose by 10mg each week. So 20mg for the second week, 30mg for the third week etc.

I'm taking this type of medication as I suffer with chronic tension headaches and migraines.

I had a check-up with my doctor and explained that the drugs were working very well, since I had not suffered with any type of headache for the duration that I had been taking the drug. He prescribed me a 50mg single tablet and said to go forth and take this tablet, and use 10mg's to up the dosage if I felt I needed to.

Since taking the 50mg tablet, I've been feeling very tired. Heavy eyelids and slower reactions. I have never suffered with side-effects from any drug, only an allergic reaction to Triptan drugs, so I have no idea what I am experiencing.

This has continued for two days I thought I would take the tablet for a second day as I could have just been tired, but during the second day I managed to sleep for 6 hours through the day, and a full 8 hours during the night and can not control this well whilst taking the tablet.

Today I did not take the tablet and I felt great again, although suffering with a tension headache that I've had since starting the 50mg. I have taken today's tablet around 20 minutes ago and feel tired yet again.

Is this common?.. should I be experiencing effects when using a higher dosage but no effects when on a lower dosage? This does not make sense to me.

Thank you for reading.

Sarah

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  • Posted

    G'day from down under Australia .  I have been prescribed 25 mg of amitriptyline , and 40 mg of propranolol to assist with my migraines . Amitriptyline does have the side effects that u have mentioned. I found that I had involuntary body jerking, dizziness , and a symptom I refer to as brain fog - not feeling quite with it. You will find that as your body gets used to the amitriptyline the symptoms will gradually disappear. As you mentioned the dose has increased a great deal , really guickly. So it is normal that u would be feeling this way. 

    You  did mention that on one ocasion you didn't take the amitriptyline . In reference to what I said earlier , your body needs time to adjust to the meds. When you miss a day , you are starting the process all over again.

    I am glad to help , so if you have any more questions , please ask. Always happy to help. Let me know how you are going. Best of luck.. God bless.

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    • Posted

      Thank you for your reply Tracey, it was most helpful. 

      What you have explained to me, makes a lot of sense. It's difficult to get a lot of information from my GP as they are on a strict time schedule, so I don't always have time to ask questions. 

      Do you take your tablets in the morning or before you go to bed?, and would you reccomend me dosing back down and working my way back up to 50mg?

      I am experiencing the body jerking in my legs and I have experienced ''brain fog'' as you put it, as well as the tiredness. Hopefully this will wear off as you've explained, as i'm contemplating stopping the medication as these symptoms will have a negative effect to my work and studies. 

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    • Posted

      Hey there , I think that 50 mg is too much to start off with all over again. Taking into consideration work and studies , u do need the medication so don't give up yet. Ok so start again at 10mg u were good with upping by 10mg as u feel comfortable.  I take 40 mg of propanonol as an addition to the 25 mg of amitriptyline . Perhaps that may be something to talk to your dr about. So that way u may not need so many mg of amitriptyline . The dr may have an additional helper med similar to mine to help. 

      Keep in mind that the side effects do gradually ease .  I hope that I have given you a positive outlook . Please let me know how you go ok. God bless.

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    • Posted

      I take my tablets about an hour before bed. I was just thinking , it helps to walk , when you have the jerking , it does help to settle it a bit . 
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  • Posted

    Hi,  I recently have stopped taking Amitriptyline 75 mg daily for 13 years. I started on 10mg and over time my dose increased. I put on 36lbs  in that time i also had suffered excessive sweating around my head and neck. both side effects from this drug.I felt tired a lot of the time, but i put this down to poor health I craved sweets and felt sluggish. I started to really research this drug and the side effects and decided that i had to come off it as nothing gets easier as you get older.  I came off very slowly cutting my dose down bit by bit,i went to my Dr and she supported my decision and prescribed me a lower dose tablet so once i got down to 25mg (after 2 months) I would take 2x 10mg and then i cut tablets in half and stay on that dose for a week and then cut down again. I have been free of Amitryptyline for a month now. I sleep better and i never thought i would sleep without the tablets, i feel more more alert, and can relax.  and the sweet craving  and the sweating has ceased, the weight is coming off all be it slowly Half a pound a week. I do take 1 herbal sleep tablet at night but i think that it is more of a mental cushion for me to take tablets before i go to bed, as herbal night tablets have never worked in the past for me. In my opinion this drug worked well for me, and did help my tension, but over time the side effects mount and before you know it your in having to take these drugs all the time, I don't know why Drs are so blasie about this drug if you can find another way or even another drug without all the side effects in the long term. This is not a drug that you can just stop taking so please do research it. I hope this gives you an insight to what this drug is like and believe me before you know it one month turns into thirteen years. 
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    • Posted

      I was interested to read your reply. I have been on amitriptyline for 2 yrs with the dose increasing from 10mg to 70mg at which point I felt like a zombie. Initially, once I got used to it it really helped me and I was able to return to a more normal life but the past 9months I have felt quite awful at times and wasn't sure if it was less effective or if the build up was getting to me. I couldn't get out of bed and took till late morning to feel half human. I put on weight and have had a lot of trouble getting rid of it( still trying) I'm currently coming off of it and took my last tablet on Sunday. Today I feel horrendoussad but I am assuming it is all part of the process of withdrawal. Can you tell me if you experienced this when you stopped taking them?
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    • Posted

      Hi, I was on amitriptyline 30mg for almost 4 years before I decided to reduce the medication and then stop.  It was originally prescribed because my trigeminal nerve in my face/head was playing up and the pain was excruciating. The medication did help at the time. I managed to cut down and stop, something I was really pleased that I was able but to do.  However, a few weeks ago, I awoke in excruciating pain again, this time affecting my right upper back area, my right arm and elbow.  Painkillers didn’t work and I have now been put back on Amitriptyline, something I am disappointed about. I don’t like taking medication and especially as a long term solution. I think it is my bodies way of dealing with stress to upset one of my nerves! 

      After a week of being on 10mg, I am going to have to increase the dosage ??

      I really hope you manage to stay off it. Good luck. 

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  • Posted

    I am in my teens, and I have mirgraines often. I take 40mg of amitriptyline nightly. My neurologist has also perscribed me promethazine for when I get a bad headache/migraine

    I know that amitriptyline makes some people tired easily, and it also is a depressant drug I believe. There are times when I don't take the amitriptyline, like when I'm traveling I'll forget or if I'm sleeping over at a friends house. I have migraines more often when I forget to take it. I have no idea if this helped though haha

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  • Posted

    Hi, I know this is a bit old but I just wanted to say going up by 10mg each week is quite fast, especially the higher you go. I react to medication fairly easily so the way I did it was go up by 5mg each month! and some months if I didn't feel comfortable going up another 5mg I'd stay where I was until it'd feel like my body was getting used to it.

    I'm now on 60mg and I'm going to stop at 70mg but I'm in no rush to get that high as it makes me very tired. I would suggest that you go back down by 10mg it'd be better than skipping a day because it just makes it seem worse I think. I also use them for chronic migraines and they have helped a lot with the frequency. Hope you have a migraine-free week! x

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  • Posted

    Hi

    Just to let you know my experience of this drug to really back up what others have said and empathise.

    i have been on Amitriptyline for last 7 months or so for Nerve Pain...tried Pregablin and been on Gabapentin 18 months but as not helping enough put on Amitriptyline and looads of side effects including what you found..weight gain...put on 2 stone in 2 months, sleep all the time, sometimes days in the wheelchair without moving and dead head all the time. 

    Cognitive skills and memory, focus etc alreay affected by not sure how much down to Amitryptylin exactly. Gabapentin also made me sleep, but suddenly then solidly..another reason I wanted to find alternative, but the sleep with Amitriptyline was definitely different..even sat at the desk, constantly nodding and waking and nodding and waking for hours on end, and on waking in the morning, sleep, wake, sleep, wake..even if soiled self (due overful catheter cos knocked out too long) could not function to clean etc. 

    There were looads of other side effects which took me from being a personprogressing to being active and self sufficient to paramedics attending constantly and defenerated physically and now dependent and struggling to get back to where I was. Complained and complained but docs insisted to stick with it ....til last week.

    So immediately noticed improvements in the sleep, although now awake alot in the night..guessing system needs time to sort self out after all this time, but more alert too :-), plus some other physical improvements...although memory still incredibly bad..hoping this will improve as these meds run out of system and that not left in this state. I am on lots of meds for other things too but cognitive skills and memory were only affected when started with pregablin and sleep and cognitive with gabapentin then worse sleep with amitriptylin. Oh, nausea now stopped amitriptylin too but hoping this will go. Not to,point of being sick but feeling like travel sick icky.

    Down side is now I am in excrutiating pain 24/7 and talking about trying Nortiptyline (I need to look it up) or a canula in spine and bag of liquid meds and pump inserting near stomach. Such invasive surgery, not keen :-(

    As for the weight. I did continue to put more on while on the drug but not at same rate as originally. No idea how to shift it as paralysed lower chest/waist down and in wheelchair. Not huge room for reduction in what is mostly a healthy diet, although I did crave sweet things too eventually..so that was interesting to read others experienced that.I just thought it was psychological as I was hung up on this weight increase but makes sense for it to be part of the meds. No craving now stopped. Incidentally the big weight gain was before the sweets. 

    Anyway sorry for rambling on.

    Good luck to all, hope find the answer.

    Any comments on Nortriptyline welcomed. Is it. Same family as Amitrypt....?

     

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    • Posted

      P.s

      in response to original question exactly..my side effects to Amitriptyline started when dosage increased to 75mg but then did continue through trials at lower doses after

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  • Posted

    I've gained a lot on these pills ,swell, server memory lost, when in conversation I go blank out of nowhere, when I wake up in morning I don't remember anything from nite b4 .my mind plays tricks on me, but my pain is OK and I don't have to use cane but the side affect are crazy . I do take a lot of other meds but my primary wants to leave me on pills for chornic pain but I don't want 2 and I went from 124 to 176 in only few months and I hardly eat.and just turning 36 tomorrow
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  • Posted

    Hi,

    I recently was prescribed the same medicine gor migraines . I also take 50mg . I notice after taking I was very lathagic and could barely hold my eyes open. That was very frightening especially since I had taken the medication before leaving work. The pharmacy liable never flag this as a medication that should not be taken while operating any type of machinery. Today I'm experiencing an onset /migraine . I'm afraid to take the medicine since I have to drive home. I will follow up with my Dr. To lower rhe dosage.

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    • Posted

      My wife has been taking Amitrip.  for couple of years now....yes, she had migraines.....she only takes one 50 mg a couple of hours before going to bed...it helps her sleep and has diminished or eliminated her migraiines.  I don't think it is a good idea to take during the day......you have to listen to your body about the sleepiness.....it is worth a try...good luck

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