Long Term Use of Amitriptyline and Quitting

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I am a 37 yrs olf male, I was prescribed 10mg amitriptyline , which i have started taking on March 2014. I was first precscibed Zolof, which i said no to. I have taken 10 mg for about 6 months then increased to 20 then to 30mg. The doctor wanted me to take 10mg for a week or 2 then increase it up to 40mg. I am so anti-medecine. I refused to reach 40mg.

To backup, I was having anxiety, headache and terrible insomnia. It has been over a year now that i have been taking it (first time i have taken a med this long) and everytime i decide to stop taking them, the first week will become hell (2-3 hrs sleep, migrane etc...affecting my work and school). I only last a week of not taking it , then i am back to taking it again. 

I don't have much side effects. it seems however my left arm get numbed/cramped when i wake. I hope it won't get worse.

I am really afraid that i have become dependant on a medicine. Is it safe to continue taking the med long term? I am forcing myself to limit it max at 30mg. Right now i have restarted at 20mg/nightly.

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16 Replies

  • Posted

    Why was you prescribed it at the first place? It looks like you are already dependent on it. I took it for only 2 months and my 4 months after quiting it was hell. Sleep like 1-2 hrs per night. Sweating, cramping, numbing. I'm now having only about 6 hours sleep every night while before taking it I can sleep to noon. I took it for some nerve pain and it did not help so I went off.
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  • Posted

    I think it depends why you are taking it. If for anxiety or depression then perhaps you need it although think there may be better drugs these days. Have you tried alternative therapies? Some are fantastic and worth doing, even a life coach might help. I was on it for 10 years for my osteoporosis. I took 10/20mgs depending on my pain. It was difficult stopping but you need to do it very very slowly. Have been off for 6 months now and do still have insomnia but there are herbal things and teas etc. Talk to yr doctor and see if alternatives but worrying about taking it isn't good. Thousands take it and are happy doing so. Also do some research and find out what is said about it. I onlyry stopped it because I put on so much weight with it! Good luck.
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    • Posted

      Hello Faith, I was put on it for neuropathic pain caused by severe osteoporsis and crumbling lower vertebra, which also caused lumbago. I could not take it for any more than 3 weeks having adverse effects - the Hospital made me stop dead. My GP then tried me on Gabapenten but again side effects stopped me taking them but I was allowed to come off them slowly. Finally I was given Pregabalin which I have settled on, sleep very well and my trapped sciatic nerve no longer bothers me. Doesn't help the lumbago though but I am grateful to be able to walk again albeit in fits and starts. I am beginning to question why GP's always seem to start any treatment with Amitriptyline at all. You are quite right when you say there are now better and more updated treatments available. I have not put any weight on with Pregabalin and just have some muscle and joint pain with it which I can manage being so used to severe pain. I would say to anyone to talk again with GP to find alternatives even if a person does not like taking any drugs. Sometimes Life gives us curve balls and we have to decide whether it is best to continue to suffer or try other meds which may help. I wish you all the best. To Jacobson I hope your situation improves but if it doesn't there are better meds available for anxiety etc than Amitriptyline. My parents had a saying "Don't cut your nose off to spite your own face" - If you are in 'need' of help, accept it and when you have been able to sleep well for a while and feel stronger in yourself then tackle coming off the meds slowly and carefully until your Life is back on track. Best wishes
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    • Posted

      Pregabalin and gabapentin are evil drugs. The withdrawal from them is like coming off heroin so don't be on it too long and come off very, very slowly. A really good chiropractor could fix a trapped sciatic nerve without any drugs and fairly quickly (got that tee shirt)!!!
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    • Posted

      Unfortunately Faith, I was forbidden to go to a Chiroprator because of the poor state of my bones. The nerve that was trapped was deep in my left buttock and for 7 months I was unable to even put my foot to the floor because of the excrutiating pain which meant I was trapped between bed and sitting. I could not sleep either because the pain never left me. Reluctantly I tried the 3 above mentioned drugs and Pregabalin slowly but surely eased the pain enough for me to get mobile again. Am seeing my GP soon and plan to talk about coming off them but I will take your advice on board about coming off them very slowly indeed. Have ben on them for 2 months now and although they ensure that I sleep, it is not what I call 'good' sleep. I don't even move around normally during sleep - just crash out and wake stiff as a board.Will let you know how it goes. Just hope the nerve pain doesn't come back when I stop. I am also on codeine for inflammatory arthritis so all in all I need referring to Pain Management Clinic.
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    • Posted

      Elizabeth you sound exactly like I am at the moment. It's so miserable. I am banned from any other chiropractor but the one I use was the one who diagnosed my osteoporosis and has looked after me for 12 years. He doesn't "crunch" me or anything like that as I would most definitely break! I have about 14 fractures plus of course fractured my hip a few years ago. I know I am really lucky to have Mike. I do use him in conjunction with Bowen therapy. Not too sure about the Bowen, some swear by it but it is non invasive and can't do any harm. I haven't tried all these strong meds (apart from morphine) as really don't fancy the side effects or becoming addicted so put up with it. All very difficult. Pain clinic sounds good though. Have you thought of patches? They are brilliant for chronic pain. Hope you get sorted very soon. Best wishes
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    • Posted

      Thank you for your reply Faith. I have some small fractures but mainly 3 vertabra have crumbled in lower back (lost 2" in height) which was discovered when I had my DEXA scan in January. Am on Alendric Acid for this which causes uncomfortable tummy and acid reflux etc. I also have lymphoedema in feet and legs and Glaucoma. Terrified of having a fall because as you know our bones break like twigs. I have sensory nerve pain ( probably from the lower spine problem) and the trapped sciatic nerve. Yes it can be miserable yet I was born with a wonderful sense of humour which I use to my advantage and also manage to make others laugh with me. The neuropathic pain I went through nearly floored me and I had to turn to drug treatment as I had run out of alternatives. No-one offered me patches though. Whenever I have to have Xrays or scans the pain I go through while they force my bones to align for their machines is almost unbearable and I have been known to faint. Perhaps my bones are out of sinc and that is the reason the sciatic nerve was so terribly trapped. Whatever the future holds I will try to meet it with dignity and a smile. I am hoping to move back to my home City where I have some family and friends - here in Yorkshire I am alone in a first floor flat with just a kind neighbour who helps where she can. At least I will have some social life and a lovely caring brother to brighten my days. Here's looking to a brighter future!
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  • Posted

    Hi Jacobson, please look at my reply to Faith as I have included your situation in there. Please stop starting, stopping, restarting this drug as you will never know whether it could work or not long term. Same advice with any meds - give them a proper chance before discarding them. There are other things you can try - Amitriptyline is usually the starting drug but now there are some better alternatives available. Do hope you will feel well soon
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  • Posted

    Each time you stopped it you were having withdrawel symptoms because your body was used to the 30mgs it was getting a day and you abruptly stopped it you got those symptoms if you want to stop taking it talk to your dr and do it gradually. I was on a 50mg dose for 18 years and have recently been reduced down to 10mg (not through my own choice) I had a few days of slight nausea and finding it harder to get to sleep but that has now settled.
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  • Posted

    I read this drug is not addictive and you can stay on it. I start my first dose tonight and i am like you, don't like medications but i am tired of being nauseous chronically. Need sleep.
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  • Posted

    I was on a 100mg of amitriptyline for a long time
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    • Posted

      At the time I was having a lot of pain in my legs.  I thought the medication was very good only side effect it made me sedated.  I couldn't use it if I was on an early at work the next day.  Will probably ask to go on it again.   One of the better drugs

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    • Posted

      Thanks for reply!

      For how long you were talking them? how long you are off? have you experienced any withdrawal symptoms?

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    • Posted

      On for about 2 years off 4 months no withdrawal symptoms.  Will ask GP if I can go on it again.  Hope this helps
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