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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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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. 







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