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Dannid: Amitriptyline withdrawal


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I have been on 25 mg Amitriptyline for 15 years for chronic insomnia, which has stopped being as effective in the past two. I am considering quitting - but afraid of returning to the scary dark days of before being introduced to the medication. Alternatively up the dosage and hopefully get some sort of life back. Reading through the forums it seems it is not an easy process! The articles certainly have raised some questions regarding the source of the initial insomnia, as what is described here as ‘withdrawal symptoms’ is exactly what I experienced prior to starting the medication. Insomnia started after I had a drink drugged at a party and now I am wondering if what I experienced is a withdrawal reaction from that drug, obviously clueless to what it may have been! And scary that it lasted many years.. may sound crazy, but no doctor has ever managed to explain the sudden source of initial brain fog/insomnia/loss of emotion/wired brain.  Cannot sleep more than about an hour without Amitriptyline... 


thanks for this wonderful site!

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  • Moderator

Welcome to SA, Dannid.


It's impossible to speculate whether the drugged drink caused the insomnia since we don't know what the drug was.


Regarding the Amitriptyline, it sounds as if it has "pooped out" (stopped working), which happens with all these drugs after a certain point.  When this happens, you can updose but that's going to poop out too after a while.  When a drug starts to poop out, the only choice is to start tapering off the drug.  This link explains the situation:


Tachyphylaxis or As It’s Lovingly Known “Poopout”


We recommend tapering by no more than 10% of current dose every four weeks.  The link explains why:


Why taper by 10% of my dosage?


An alternate taper that we also recommend is four weekly drops instead of one month drop.  It  is slight slower but gentler.


The Brassmonkey Slide Method of Micro-tapering


This link is specifically about tapering Amitriptyline, including how to get the nonstandard doses you'll need for your taper.


Tips for tapering off amitriptyline


We don't recommend a lot of supplements on SA, as many members report being sensitive to them due to our over-reactive nervous systems, but two supplements that we do recommend are magnesium (glycinate is a good form) and omega 3 (fish oil). Many people find these to be calming to the nervous system. 


Magnesium, nature's calcium channel blocker 


Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) 


Add in one at a time and at a low dose in case you do experience problems.


Here are some non-drug tips for sleep.


Tips to help sleep - so many of us have that awful withdrawal insomnia


Relaxation exercises, guided meditations, calming videos, sleep hypnosis


Tricks and tips to fall asleep faster




This link contains helpful information, including insomnia and also non-drug coping skills.  


 Important topics about symptoms, including sleep problems


Some members have found Melatonin helpful with insomnia.   


Melatonin for sleep   


It's best to start at a very low dosage, such as .25mg, and gradually increase if needed to the lowest effective dose.


This is your Introduction topic, where you can ask questions and connect with other members.  We're glad you found your way here. 







Gridley Introduction


Lexapro 20 mg since 2004.  Begin Brassmonkey Slide Taper Jan. 2017.   

End 2017 year 1 of taper at 9.25mg 

End 2018 year 2 of taper at 4.1mg

End 2019 year 3 of taper at 1.0mg  

Oct. 30, 2020  Jump to zero from 0.025mg.  Current dose: 0.000mg

3 year, 10 month taper is 100% complete.


Ativan 1 mg to 1.875mg 1986-2020, two CT's and reinstatements

Nov. 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover to 18.75mg Valium

Feb. 2021, begin 10%/4 week taper of 18.75mg Valium  

End 2021  year 1 of taper at 6mg

End 2022 year 2 of taper at 2.75mg 

Current dose as of Feb. 25, 2023 2mg

Taper is 89% complete.


Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan-Sept 2016 tapered to 14.4mg  

March 22, 2022: Begin 10%/4 week taper

Aug. 5, 2022: hold at 9.5mg and shift to Valium taper

Taper is 87% complete.  


Supplements: omega-3, vitamins C, E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, zinc, melatonin .3mg

I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to Dannid: Amitriptyline withdrawal

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