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Anxious about starting Amitriptyline

(34 Posts)
PackItInNow Fri 23-Nov-12 22:04:14

Saw GP this morning about my low mood that I've had for over 3 months now. I asked him if there was any natural/herbal stuff I could take to help it. He told me that I could take St John's Wort but would have to come off the pill, but other than that I would have to be prescribed an AD.

I buggered off to the chemist to have the script processed, but I'm feeling that I should have ripped the prescription up and binned it instead of getting it processed. I now have an 8wk course of 25mg of Amitrityline and TBH I am very anxious about taking any at all.

In fact, I am actually petrified of takeing them. How did other posters get round/over this feeling and take their AD's. Could someone advise me on this.

PackItInNow Fri 23-Nov-12 22:05:53

Meant to add that I'm also too scared of getting pregnant to come off the pill. Apart from that, am appreciative of any replies.

NanaNina Fri 23-Nov-12 22:32:35

Why are you so scared of taking them PIIN - I think I probably said before that there are so many myths about ADs. They are very safe drugs and the one you have been prescribed has been used for the past 50 plus years. You have been prescribed a very low dose 25mg and they may be enough to lift your mood. I struggle to understand why so many people are scared of ADs when there is not this fear about drugs for physical illness. They do have side effects sometimes (as all drugs do including SJW) but they are usually short lived.

However it's your choice. Sorry but is it not possible for you to take the SJW that you seem to be happier with, and abstain for a while.

Hope you improve whichever route you choose to take. Incidentally I don't think you have a very good GP because she/he shouldn't really have written you up for 8 weeks. The normal practice is for the GP to give you 2 weeks supply and then to give you a follow up appointment to see how you are doing.

stuffitunderthebed Fri 23-Nov-12 22:37:37

I was prescribed amitriptyline when I was 20. Much higher dosage than yours though. Was to stop me being so agitated. It certainly stopped that - I was like a zombie! As I say though, it was a high dosage. Try it for a week. See how you get on. St John's wort will only ever help to keep you calm in general, you maybe need the 'kickstart' of ADs first. Just have a go and then go back to docs again regularly to review. Good luck OP. Hope you're ok.

LadyKinbote Fri 23-Nov-12 22:40:22

I took it for migraines and it was fine (didn't cure my migraines though!)

NanaNina Fri 23-Nov-12 22:51:19

I don't think it's very good advice SIUB to advise OP to take ADs for just one week. ADs don't kick in for 2/3 weeks, though some people are lucky and the drugs kick in a little earlier, but equally it can take up to 4 weeks. Also sometimes there are side effects though usually shortlived and these can be experienced before the benefit.

stuffitunderthebed Sat 24-Nov-12 01:51:49

I meant take for a week and then go back to doctor. Sorry if I wasn't clear.

PackItInNow Sat 24-Nov-12 10:22:08

May thanks for the replies, they are very much appreciated.

I don't know why I'm scared, but I think it has something to do with not wanting to take any more tablets.

I have been on 10mg Amitriptyline about a year ago, to help relax my back muscles, but the side effects were horrible. I felt extremely sleepy and groggy the next morning and I hate that feeling and can't cope with that type of feeling. I took all but 2 tablets as prescribed (there were 28 of them) and then stopped them as I didn't like the groggy feeling. I felt so much better after that and was able to get up and go without feeling like I had to drag myself everywhere. The side effects lasted until I stopped the Amitriptyline then the effects went after the 1st day off them.

I haven't heard any myths about AD's so I know it's not that. I am dubious about taking them as I'm currently on the Access course and I find it hard to concentrate if I am as groggy as I was previously.

PackItInNow Sat 24-Nov-12 10:25:33

Especially if the dose is 2.5 times higher than the previous lot.

Millie2013 Sat 24-Nov-12 10:35:13

If you are worried about the side effects, maybe pop back to the GP and see if he/she would prescribe an SSRI instead? (I actually personally prefer a low dose of amitrpityline, but then I quite like the sedating effect smile )

The SSRIs are pharmacologically "cleaner" and although they may come with their own unwanted effects (eg GI effects), they might make you feel less groggy

Did the GP mention any counselling? In my experience (as a counsellor and a patient) AD are most effective for many when they are prescribed alongside talking therapies

Good luck smile

MorrisZapp Sat 24-Nov-12 10:39:44

I'm on sertraline, no grogginess here. There are loads of options. Maybe see another GP?

SminkoPinko Sat 24-Nov-12 10:48:14

25mg is a very low dose, so low that it's not always a therapeutic dose for depression, in fact. But if you've found it unpleasant in the past I'm not sure why your GP has chosen it again and giving an 8 week supply rather than reviewing in 1 or 2 weeks is quite unusual, as NanaNina says. Have you tried an SSRI in the past, btw?

PackItInNow Sat 24-Nov-12 11:01:56

The counselling I had I was very nervous about. I was so nervous about the counselling that I couldn't talk about what was affecting me so I talked about my mum being a pain in the arse instead.

It took me ages to muster up the courage to go the the GP about my low moodsand TBH, I hated every minute of it and couldn't wait to get out. It'll be a long time before I go to my GP again as I can't face going there and getting yet another prescription.

The GP's in the surgery are good as they work with you to get you the help you need, be that pills or whatever.

PackItInNow Sat 24-Nov-12 11:11:16

I know that sounds daft that I praise the GP's about working with their patients, but the problem is myself. I hate going there and feel I'm wasting their time. I was there once to see the GP and walked out because I couldn't bring myself to talk about what was bothering me.

I'm a very private person and rarely talk to people about my life. I just don't like it.

PackItInNow Sat 24-Nov-12 11:43:32

I haven't tried and SSRI before. I think the main reason why the GP gave an 8wk course initially is because it may take up to 6 weeks for the AD to kick in, so seeing the GP after 4 weeks, to see how it's working, makes sense to me.

PackItInNow Sat 24-Nov-12 13:16:40

I really don't want to take the AD's as I don't feel I should. While I was with the GP, I honestly thought that I'd give them another go as things could be different, but as soon as I got home, my instincts told me not to take them. I haven't had any yet, but I feel it's not right to take them for some reason.

PackItInNow Sat 24-Nov-12 16:52:56

Anyone there!!!!!

MorrisZapp Sat 24-Nov-12 17:37:25

Nobody can force you to take medication that you don't feel comfortable with.

Do you have any reasons for not wanting to take a drug that could make you feel better? Did you say to the GP that you aren't comfortable taking ad's?

SminkoPinko Sat 24-Nov-12 17:40:07

Anti-depressants are not always a magic bullet. For mild - moderate depression cbt or doing nothing may be just as effective. Whereas they are almost always necessary as a treatment for more severe depression.

Did the GP indicate how severe your depression is? Do you have a view? Is your family worried? Were you referred to a CMHT?

And did he say why amitryptiline? Are you having problems sleeping? It's more usual (and recommended in the NICE guidelines) to start with an SSRI.

I think you should perhaps not force yourself to take the amitryptiline at the moment but you should force yourself to go back to the GP next week to discuss this further. Tell him/her that you are concerned re potential sedation/ grogginess and would prefer a different medication if he is sure medication is required at this stage.

weegiemum Sat 24-Nov-12 17:42:23

I'm on amitryptaline, though not for depression, but for nerve pain. It's been a wonder thing for me.

Kind of wondering why you're being offered a tricyclics instead of a sari, which is more common these days.

But it's a ggod drug, I do sometimes wonder if I'm not depressed with the disability that is causing my nerve pain it might be because I take 100mg ami every night!

Drink plenty - it dries out your throat and eyes (watch if you wear contacts).

Good luck.

PackItInNow Sat 24-Nov-12 17:58:12

It's not so much Amitriptyline, it's any tablets I hate taking. I detest having to take my pain relief, but if I didn't, then I would have to give up the Access course I'm doing as I would be bedridden.

SminkoPinko Sat 24-Nov-12 18:22:52

Talk to the doctor. You have been put on a baby dose of amitryptiline - the very lowest dose that has any chance whatsoever of being anything other than a painkiller or placebo. That may be because they are intending to titrate it up later but if you've been given 8 weeks worth probably not. It may be because the GP picked up on your reluctance to take anything. Or it may be because you've been assessed as having mild- moderate depression, for which anti depressant therapy is not the recommended main treatment of choice but many GPs think it's worth trying a low dose AD in case it helps. Whatever you decide I'm afraid that mood disorders, even if they are quite mild and yours may not be, are tough and if waiting it out hasn't worked for you (it does sometimes!), in order to get better you are going to need to commit to working with your GP and possibly others to identify what medication/therapy combo works for you. Have you got a partner/parent/friend you could talk to about this who could maybe give some perspective on whether they think things have reached a point where you really need to try the ADs?

orangeandlemons Sat 24-Nov-12 18:47:31

I was on 100mg for years. It isn't like an Sri, so doesn't have all the horrible emotional start up side effects.

It made me sleep really well too.

PackItInNow Sat 24-Nov-12 18:53:11

I'm a very private person and close up completely when I have to talk about how I'm feeling. If I do eventually talk, I make it simple and mundane as I cannot bring myself to talk to the GP or DH or anyone else.

PackItInNow Sat 24-Nov-12 19:01:14

Last time I had counselling for the low moods, I talked about the run of the mill stuff like my mum doing my head in and being a PITA. I just couldn't bring myself to talk about what was really bothering me.

I hate going to the GP anyway and will make any and every excuse not to go.

PackItInNow Sat 24-Nov-12 19:02:11

I also can't bear the thought of going to the GP again.

SminkoPinko Sat 24-Nov-12 19:13:40

Perhaps you should go to the library/bookshop/amazon and get some "bilbliotherapy" then. See here for a couple of cbt based suggestions. Or you could try Mood Gym.

Has anyone expressed concern about your mental health? Dh? Other family members? Is it affecting your parenting (if you are a parent)?

PackItInNow Sat 24-Nov-12 19:24:24

They haven't said anything as I've put on my usual front and been quite cheery, but it hasn't affected my marriage or parenting because I haven't let it, so that's a bonus I suppose.

MorrisZapp Sat 24-Nov-12 19:43:56

How do you feel about taking your contraception pill?

Is the issue with doctors and medicine tied in with the deeper problem you keep private? And are the deeper problems private from your DH?

Is your DH loving and supportive?

SminkoPinko Sat 24-Nov-12 20:57:14

I think (very tentatively) that the fact that you are able to successfully put on a front may point to this being an episode at the milder end of the spectrum- more severe depressive episodes are very hard to hide successfully for most (though not all) people. However, I get an impression from your posts here that your low mood may be quite strongly linked to your particular personality traits- you sound very reserved, inhibited and shy, none of which are bad things to be per se but can really stymie people who want/need to seek help from others. Does anyone know how you are feeling? Do you have any confidantes who know the "real" you?

MorrisZapp Sat 24-Nov-12 21:10:21

Yes, really good points pinko.

PackItInNow Sun 25-Nov-12 16:32:16

I really don't want to stop taking the pill as I am in a lot of pain with my back and taking the pill helps (endometriosis has been ruled out) for some reason.

My DH is very supportive in everything, but he has not long lost his beloved mum even though he hadn't got over the death of his dad, so I don't want to burden him more with my problems.

I don't have anyone I could confide in TBH as I can't bear to talk to anyone about how I'm feeling. Every time I try and talk to someone, something tells me not to say anything.

PackItInNow Sun 25-Nov-12 17:10:16

I have taken my 1st dose of the Amitriptyline a few minutes ago, but it feels like I've betrayed myself and am feeling really guilty. The reason I took them early was because I felt like crap for about half the morning on the last lot, so I figured that if I took it early, the effects would wear off earlier, if that makes sense.

PackItInNow Sun 25-Nov-12 17:50:48

Many thanks for the replies ladies (and gents, if there are any on the thread), your posts are much appreciated.

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