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Flower11 Stopping amitriptyline (low dose short term)


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Hi everyone!


I am very glad to have found this forum and am hoping to get some insight or words of advice from the awesome people here.


TL;DR at the bottom.


I will try to keep this as brief as possible though that probably won't happen lol!


I have been diagnosed with dysautonomia a few years back during a very bad episode. Dysautonomia is a catch-all term for any dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system. The most common condition is POTS which is not quite what I have but I won't go into too much detail here.

I was fine for a few years when another episode started about a month ago after a viral illness (not Covid, was tested). Some of the symptoms of this condition are anxiety, digestive issues, tachycardia, headache and many others. Eventually my condition deteriorated to the point I couldn't fall asleep due to the anxiety and could hardly eat due to stomach issues.

I went to the GP and she suggested Amitriptyline which I refused because I've always been wary of long-term psychiatric drugs and we settled for seven days of Ativan to just give my body a chance to calm down.

The Ativan (0.5mg) made me fall asleep but did not improve quality of sleep. I still woke up often and on the last couple of days on it started having bad nightmares.

After six days on Ativan I decided I would try to fall asleep on my own but it didn't happen and I was feeling worse than ever so I ended up taking my 0.5mg dose and the next day gave in to starting on the amitriptyline because I had no idea what else to do, was desperate and the GP made it sound really mild and safe.

The first time I took the Ami (5mg by cutting a 10mg pill in half as the GP directed) about five mins later I felt hot and dizzy and my breathing got quite shallow and I felt quite bad but also high and loopy and ended up talking for 2hrs before finally falling asleep.

The next day I felt like I had a brick in my head like I couldn't think but at the same time quite anxious which I was reassured was normal and temporary.

The next night I took it, I wasn't loopy and I did fall asleep but then the nightmares started again and even more intense than before and the weirdest thing happened. Whenever I would try to think visually (I'm a visual thinker in general) or think in words of anything even the slightest bit complex I'd get feelings of terror similar to my nightmares (not panic or anxiety but brief flashes of terror). I basically have not been able to think without feeling like this since been on Ami and I still feel like the usual, calm part of my brain is 'stuck' while the emotional is in overdrive which I was told would clear up within a week.

I upped to 10mg like GP advised but I just knew/felt it is doing negative things to me. Maybe I'm just overreacting but I also know I can't keep going like this with such an increase in anxiety.

I have had feelings of terror before, the last time I had a dysautonomia episode but they were kind of random, one off deals that would strike suddenly and disappear. On Ami it's like all my dysautonomia symptoms (except appetite) are worse plus other things I've never felt before and I want off asap.

My timeline:

Aug 26 - Sep 1: 0.5 mg Ativan once in the evening.

Sep 2 - Sep 9: 5mg Amitriptyline once in the evening.

Sep 10-11: 10mg Amitriptyline once in the evening.

Sep 12: 5mg Amitriptyline once in the evening.


So I've been on Amitriptyline for a total of 11 days as of today. 

I went online yesterday and especially Reddit to try to find out the best way to stop or taper and it just freaked me out because some people on there were saying basically if you've taken it for 3+ days you're screwed and need months and months of long tapers.

My GP of course said it's fine to just come off cold turkey since it's such a small dose but I'm not trusting that. I feel the truth is somewhere in between and wanted to know your thoughts?

My plan is to take 5mg for three more nights, then cut to 2.5mg and take that for 5-7 days before stopping. That would put me at a total of 19-21 days on the drug. My question is: would I be at risk for severe withdrawl from this dosage/length of time taking it? How should I take it to minimise withdrawl effects?


Thank you so much for reading!


P.S. I have contacted a psychiatrist but they have not yet gotten back to me. I'm contacting them to discuss all my issues starting with the dysautonomia but still want to be off this stuff asap. I have not seen a psychiatrist before.



Been on 5mg amitriptyline for 11 days as of today (two of those days were 10mg). Developed impaired cognition, increased anxiety and more intense nightmares. Best way to stop at this point to avoid extreme withdrawl? Cold turkey or taper to 2.5mg for a short while and then stop?


Thank you!




Aug 26 - Sep 1: 0.5 mg Ativan once in the evening.

Sep 2 - Sep 9: 5mg Amitriptyline once in the evening.

Sep 10-11: 10mg Amitriptyline once in the evening.

Sep 12: 5mg Amitriptyline once in the evening.

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  • Altostrata changed the title to Flower11 Stopping amitriptyline (low dose short term)
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Welcome, @Flower11


After only 11 days of amitriptyline at 5mg-10mg, you could simply stop. It will take more than a week to completely leave your body.


Your sleeplessness after stopping Ativan taken for 5 days sounds like rebound insomnia, which is common with benzos. This likely would have corrected itself over a few days.


It sounds like you reacted badly to amitriptyline as it ramped up over several days to full effect. If amitriptyline helped you sleep that one time, that indicates a dose lower than 5mg, perhaps 1mg-2.5mg might help you sleep. But that's between you and your doctor.


Please let us know if you'd like help tapering off a psychiatric drug.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

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Hi Flower11, I'm in virtually the same situation with the same quandry. Following you

#2 acetaminophen with codeine 2003 - present

Daily clonazepam 2005 - 2010

9 month taper, very rough

90% recovery 2012 to present

2nd Pfizer vaccine 5/1/21 - Triggered withdrawal symptoms

Nortriptilyne 25mg 9/3/2021 - 9/14/2021 for nerve pain, skipped 4 days


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