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[Treatment] Amitriptyline
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Sleepster Offline
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Post: #1
Amitriptyline
Amitriptyline is the gold standard of antidepressants, or so I was told by a psychiatrist. Others exist because the side effects of amitriptyline (brand name Elavil) are either bothersome or downright crippling.

About 13 years ago they put me on 50 mg daily for chronic headaches, then 4 years ago raised it to 100 mg for anger management. About two years ago they took me off it because I could no longer tolerate the sexual side effects (delayed climax). When that happened they gave me other drugs to help me sleep, but nothing helped. I would wake up about 2-3 hours after falling asleep, have trouble getting back to sleep, and would then wake up again every hour or two. They call this fragmented sleep. That's what eventually led me to being diagnosed with sleep apnea. I later learned that it's likely the amitriptyline was masking these symptoms of sleep apnea during all those years.

This was about two years ago. I wasn't getting along well with the new CPAP machine and still had the same fragmented sleep symptoms. My PCP suggested I go back to taking 50 mg of amitriptyline. I talked him down to 25 mg.

Now that I'm better adapted to CPAP therapy and the fragmented sleep symptoms have improved quite a bit, I wanted to stop taking it again. I'm still experiencing some mild sexual side effects even at that low dose, as well as occasional blurred vision and a light-headed feeling. I also don't feel like I'm getting enough sleep, even on days where I get 9 or 10 hours.

The other day I found one of my 25 mg pills on the bathroom floor. I must have dropped it the other night when I went to take my evening pills. I'm thinking that it was probably that recent restless night. So I figured if I could go one night without it I'll have a go at giving it up altogether. That was three days ago. The first night I got 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep, but was unable to fall back asleep after that. Same for the next night, although that followed the super stressful day with my car repair. Last night I got 7 straight hours, but again was unable to fall back asleep after that.

I feel tired of course because I'm not getting enough sleep, but not in the former foggy-headed way. Now that the ordeal of my car repair situation is getting less stressful I'm hoping for a better night's sleep tonight.

I'm hoping I'll eventually get there, but right now I just have to get over this rebound effect. Wish me luck.

Sleepster
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01-04-2014 05:37 PM
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DocWils Offline

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Post: #2
RE: Amitriptyline
Elavil should not be stopped cold but tapered off. Other than that, if you don't need it, then great that you can get off of it. It will improve your sleep patterns to be off of it, and some "other" things will improve too.
01-04-2014 05:40 PM
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zonk Offline

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Post: #3
RE: Amitriptyline
(01-04-2014 05:37 PM)Sleepster Wrote:  Wish me luck.
Best of luck to you
Sleep-well
01-04-2014 05:41 PM
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DeepBreathing Offline
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Post: #4
RE: Amitriptyline
Sleepster, good luck in getting off this drug.

I take 37.5mg nightly to help manage fibromyalgia (along with zolpidem). I have tried weaning myself off both but the fibro gets worse and I get no sleep (as in none). So I think I'm stuck with them both for the foreseeable future.

My first wife took large doses of amitriptyline for severe depression. Sadly she ended up taking the whole packet (plus a bunch of other stuff) and couldn't be revived.

I think amitriptyline is a good drug to be rid of, if you can. I'm not sure it's still the gold standard for depression - I believe there are new and safer alternatives, but I don't know for sure.

DeepBreathing
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01-04-2014 05:47 PM
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Tez62 Offline

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Post: #5
RE: Amitriptyline
Sleepster, good luck with getting off it, you should really be tapering down slowly especially since you have been on it so long, hopefully you don't get the rebound effect. I was on a high dosage of antidepressant for two years and I took 6 months to get off it fully by dropping mine slowly a week or two at a time. Most have a 'half life' so will stay in your body for quite a while. Keep at it but be careful. No one knows what these meds do to our brains long term so I hope you can stay off them Smile
(This post was last modified: 01-04-2014 05:52 PM by Tez62.)
01-04-2014 05:51 PM
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trish6hundred Offline

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Post: #6
RE: Amitriptyline
Hi Sleepster,
I wish you good luck geting off amitriptyline.

trish6hundred
01-04-2014 06:07 PM
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southernlady Offline

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Post: #7
RE: Amitriptyline
I've used both Amytriptyline and Nortriptyline...for pain management. My sleep was fragmented on the nortriptyline...but the amytriptyline didn't have that effect.

READ all prescription med inserts carefully...and even if you've had it before and you are experiencing something weird you can't explain (fragmented sleep is one), then ask your pharmacist for a copy of the side effects of all your prescriptions...look at it carefully. Just because a medication is COMMONLY used for something does not mean it will work that way for 100% of the population. Many of us are Zebras! (Physicians are taught, when you hear hoofbeats think horses not zebras)

Liz
01-04-2014 06:29 PM
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me50 Offline

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Post: #8
RE: Amitriptyline
(01-04-2014 05:47 PM)DeepBreathing Wrote:  My first wife took large doses of amitriptyline for severe depression. Sadly she ended up taking the whole packet (plus a bunch of other stuff) and couldn't be revived.

man, that sure puts things in perspective and once more, I see that there are others that have been through what we have and some have been through much worse.
01-04-2014 06:45 PM
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Gabby Offline

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Post: #9
RE: Amitriptyline
(01-04-2014 05:37 PM)Sleepster Wrote:  Amitriptyline is the gold standard of antidepressants, or so I was told by a psychiatrist. Others exist because the side effects of amitriptyline (brand name Elavil) are either bothersome or downright crippling.

About 13 years ago they put me on 50 mg daily for chronic headaches, then 4 years ago raised it to 100 mg for anger management. About two years ago they took me off it because I could no longer tolerate the sexual side effects (delayed climax). When that happened they gave me other drugs to help me sleep, but nothing helped. I would wake up about 2-3 hours after falling asleep, have trouble getting back to sleep, and would then wake up again every hour or two. They call this fragmented sleep. That's what eventually led me to being diagnosed with sleep apnea. I later learned that it's likely the amitriptyline was masking these symptoms of sleep apnea during all those times

This was about two years ago. I wasn't getting along well with the new CPAP machine and still had the same fragmented sleep symptoms. My PCP suggested I go back to taking 50 mg of amitriptyline. I talked him down to 25 mg.

Now that I'm better adapted to CPAP therapy and the fragmented sleep symptoms have improved quite a bit, I wanted to stop taking it again. I'm still experiencing some mild sexual side effects even at that low dose, as well as occasional blurred vision and a light-headed feeling. I also don't feel like I'm getting enough sleep, even on days where I get 9 or 10 hours.

The other day I found one of my 25 mg pills on the bathroom floor. I must have dropped it the other night when I went to take my evening pills. I'm thinking that it was probably that recent restless night. So I figured if I could go one night without it I'll have a go at giving it up altogether. That was two days ago. The first night I got 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep, but was unable to fall back asleep after that. Last night I got 7 straight hours, but again was unable to fall back asleep after that.

I feel tired of course because I'm not getting enough sleep, but not in the former foggy-headed way. Now that the ordeal of my car repair situation is getting less stressful I'm hoping for a better night's sleep tonight.

I'm hoping I'll eventually get there, but right now I just have to get over this rebound effect. Wish me luck.
I was on Amitryptilyne for about three years and put on twenty plus kilos. I was prescribed for my chronic daily headaches. They never did help my headaches but maybe my depression some. This was twenty or so years ago.
I have not been on since. My husband was on them for depression for ten years or more and also put on at least twenty kilos in weight. In the end all they did for him was prove to be a sedative. It was hell for him to get off them. I say to taper off them very slowly. Try and get a smaller dose to cut down.
They are well know to pile the weight on and increase your appetite. I don't know if you have that problem.
I would never go near them again.

Good luck Sleepster. I hope you are able to come off Amitriptyline as smoothly as possible. Not far to go now.

Sleep Tight...
Gabby
(This post was last modified: 01-04-2014 07:52 PM by Gabby.)
01-04-2014 07:44 PM
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Gabby Offline

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Post: #10
RE: Amitriptyline
(01-04-2014 05:47 PM)DeepBreathing Wrote:  Sleepster, good luck in getting off this drug.

I take 37.5mg nightly to help manage fibromyalgia (along with zolpidem). I have tried weaning myself off both but the fibro gets worse and I get no sleep (as in none). So I think I'm stuck with them both for the foreseeable future.

My first wife took large doses of amitriptyline for severe depression. Sadly she ended up taking the whole packet (plus a bunch of other stuff) and couldn't be revived.

I think amitriptyline is a good drug to be rid of, if you can. I'm not sure it's still the gold standard for depression - I believe there are new and safer alternatives, but I don't know for sure.

Paul I am very sorry to hear about your wife, please accept my sympathy.

I agree what you say about there being newer and safer alternatives out there. Amitriptyline is one of the oldest, not saying it doesn't hold it's place but there are some newer drugs with far less side effects that I have found far more beneficial to my needs.

Sleep Tight...
Gabby
01-04-2014 07:58 PM
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