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Timmy Nortriptyline taper from 50mg for 1 year


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I've been on 50mg Nortiptyline as a treatment for migraines for about 1 year. It may have helped in the beginning but not since Jan as I suffered a migraine about ever other day since then. However, I believe I may have found a true cure for my migraines--that doesn't involve antidepressants; however, that's another story. The short is through proper eating.


My primary care physician said to taper from 50 to 25 and stay at 25 for 3 days then stop cold. That sounded a bit too aggressive to me.


I went from 50 to 25 and was not able to sleep more than 1.5 hours over a 2 day period. However, I slept 5.5 hours last night, thanks for 1 mg of Lunesta. I called him back and he recommend simply stopping Nortiptyline all together and using Lunesta for a few days to get my sleep while the insomnia remains.


Keep in mind I do not suffer from nausea, dizziness and many of the other symptoms that can happen. Mostly just insomnia and anxiety that I'm taking too little Nortriptyline or too much Lunesta.


What do people recommend for someone who is only suffering from sleep issues at the moment? I really don't want sleep issues to drag out over a few months--if I can avoid it. Said differently, I'd rather deal with sleep problems for a week and be done than spread mild sleep issues out over months and months.


Please share your thoughts!

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  • Moderator Emeritus

I'm afraid your doctor is quite typically clueless about psychiatric drugs and withdrawing from them. Nortriptyline is a tricyclic antidepressant which should not be stopped abruptly, as your doctor has indicated you should do. The sleeping difficulties you're experiencing are from antidepressant withdrawal and taking Lunesta to help is playing with fire from what I read on Drugs.com:




It looks to me like Lunesta is even more addictive and dangerous than benzos (Valium, Klonopin, et cetera).


Assuming that you've reduced your dose of Nortriptyline for only a few days, I'd advise going back up to 50 mg., and stabilizing there until you're able to sleep without taking another drug. After that, taper off the Nortriptyline very slowly and gradually:


Tips for Tapering Off Nortriptyline


Please note that getting the drug out of your system as fast as possible is not the goal. Antidepressants make changes in the structure of the brain which remain long after the drugs are gone from your body. Discontinuing the drug too fast is like yanking a crutch away from someone with a broken leg. Boom! Down he goes!


In the meantime, try not to take the Lunesta at all, if possible, and definitely not several nights in a row.


Just in case you can't get Nortriptyline in a liquid form, here are instructions for making your own:


How To Make a Liquid from Tablets or Capsules


Welcome to the forum, Timmy. I'm glad you found us before it was too late to back up and get off the antidepressant with the least amount of pain and disability. There is a lot of good, solid information on this site, so I hope you'll take the time to browse through the discussions, especially the one on Tapering.


I moved your post to Introductions and updates, which is where we all have kept an online journal of our progress through antidepressant and benzo withdrawals. When you post again, please add onto this thread by clicking on the "Add Reply" button.

Psychotropic drug history: Pristiq 50 mg. (mid-September 2010 through February 2011), Remeron (mid-September 2010 through January 2011), Lexapro 10 mg. (mid-February 2011 through mid-December 2011), Lorazepam (Ativan) 1 mg. as needed mid-September 2010 through early March 2012

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -Hanlon's Razor

Introduction: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1588-introducing-jemima/


Success Story: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6263-success-jemima-survives-lexapro-and-dr-dickhead-too/

Please note that I am not a medical professional and my advice is based on personal experience, reading, and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers.


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GREAT advice overall.


Let me give you an update on my status. I've stayed at 25mg and am now on day 5. Lunesta on night 3 at 25mg let me get 5+ hours of sleep. I took a 2 hour nap on day 4 and was able to sleep 8+ hours without Lunesta that night. WOW. Next night I slept for almost 9 hours--again, no Lunesta. So I'm adjusting more quickly than I thought I would. I know we are all different, so I'm just happy where I'm at.


It is more difficult to fall asleep than before, but because of solid techniques and cognitive therapy, I'm able to get there. In short I have a process that involves relaxation techniques, mediation, herbal tea and reading. If that process fails after 1 hour, I'll stop trying and do something else. Once I hit about midnight I'll go the Lunesta route, but I've only needed that once.


In the end, I've decided to stay on 25mg for a few more days (possibly 7) and then will take another, much smaller drop. I'm thinking about modifying the 10% program to 5mg drop for 1 week and see how I do. If I manage well and sleep, I'll keep that up till I hit zero in 5 weeks. I'll let the forum know how that goes. Lunesta will be used ONLY if I'm not able to fall asleep after following my sleeping process for 1 hour.

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  • Administrator

That's excellent, Timmy. Try to use Lunesta as little as possible. It can cause a lot of problems.

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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