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Letherebhope: Weaning Elavil / amitriptyline


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Hi. I am desperate for help. I have nerve pain and was started on elavil 5 mg and then increased it to 10 mg after one month. Was on 10 mg for 3 weeks and then decreased it back to 5 mg ( 10 days ago). I did not like what was going on mentally with me and was having panic attacks daily. So altogether I have been on it for 2 months. I am currently on 4 mg and wish to taper it off. Should I stay on 4 mg for a while and hen slowly wean or just stop it. My heart rate is already resting at 100 bpm since I decreased to 5 mg( from 10). I hate this Med but am scared of withdrawal and increasing back pain. Any help is appreciated . I am so scared.

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Hi I want to stop taking elavil. I was placed on it for nerve pain but it is really messing w my head. I was only on it for 2 months ;( first month 5 mg, second month 10, recently went back to 5 mg) Anyways I know you should only reduce 10% every month but is that true even with that small of a dose. Also if I do reduce it that I will be on for another 5 months and I'm afraid I'll be more addicted to it. But the horror stories scare me, most HR is already elevated, and I am having panic attacks daily. I am on no ther meds.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Letherebehope -- Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants (SA)

I hope you'll find the information in the SA forums helpful for your situation. I'm sorry that you are in the position that you need the information, but am glad that you found us.


Your brief exposure, 2 months, is an advantage for you in terms of long term effects. How long a person takes a psych med seems to have an effect on length of recovery: shorter duration ==> shorter recovery. However, it's not a hard and fast rule to use for comparing with others.

You won't become addicted to amitriptyline in the classic medical definition of addiction and chemical dependency. What does happen is that the CNS (central nervous system) starts to change itself within a few weeks of starting to take a psycho-neuro-active medication such as amitriptyline. You have to sneak the drug away slowly enough that the CNS doesn't have to do major catch-up changes back to match the new dose.


It's possible that you are experiencing adverse effects (aka "side" effects) from the amitriptyline.  What is your symptom pattern? 

  • Please keep notes on paper of your symptoms and the times of your dose(s). This post has a useful format for a daily log:  Take notes of doses and symptoms.
  • Please post your notes here in your introduction topic as a new reply post. You can post them daily or 3-4 days' notes at once.

Once we have some data about your symptoms, we should be able to suggest a next step for you to consider.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.
1997-1999 Effexor; 2002-2005 Effexor XR 37.5 mg linear taper, dropping same #beads/week with bad results

Cymbalta 60 mg 2012 - 2015; 2016: 20 mg to 7 mg exact doses and dates in this post; 2017: 6.3 mg to  0.0 mg  Aug. 12; details here

scallywag's Introduction
Online spreadsheet for dose taper calculations and nz11's THE WORKS spreadsheet

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Letherebhope- recently I did a short trial with nortriptyline for nerve pain. It is an active metabolite of amitriptyline and works similarly but usually with less sedation. After a couple days of taking nortriptyline I started feeling anxious and also had a higher heart rate. Sometimes I would feel a heavy pulse for hours at a time. It ruined my sleep rather than helping me sleep. The symptoms you're experiencing might be side effects of the amitriptyline.

2017- I was diagnosed with crps/rsd.

Pregabalin(doses up to 450mg) and eventually Duloxetine(30mg) used for severe nerve pain

2019-began duloxetine taper. Finished taper early 2021. 
2021- began Pregabalin taper 


Currently taking 12.5mg Pregabalin only 

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