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Nortrriptyline for chronic headache (or other pain).

(19 Posts)
jasperc163 Mon 15-Jul-13 18:32:05

About to start on this (having not got on with amitriptyline). Any experiences good or bad?


Brummiegirl15 Mon 15-Jul-13 22:16:35

Hi Jasper
I was given nortriptyline for chronic pain in head. Mine were so bad I used to lie on bed crying and almost screaming in pain. Was given amitriptyline and whilst it worked, I couldn't function anymore as made me so groggy.

So complained a lot to GP and was given Nortriptyline - difference was incredible and it really worked and I could remain clear headed next day. So I can't recommend it enough. Main reason you don't get it first is due to cost. Amitriptyline costs approx £1.50 for 100 tablets - and Nortriptyline is about £12 for 100 tablets.

However with any tricyclic antidepressants they don't interact well with some medications so you must make sure you read info leaflet with any medicine incl OTC medicines.

Hope it helps! Good luck

jasperc163 Mon 15-Jul-13 22:29:04

thanks Brummiegirl, gives me hope though I don't know if the fact that the ami. didn't work is a bad sign. Absolutely desperate as bad head for 4 months and this eve not respond ing to triptans :-(.

how long til out made a difference?

Brummiegirl15 Mon 15-Jul-13 22:49:36

I'd say a week or so until I started to feel The effects. But oh my god I tried everything. Tramadol, codeine, paracetamol, nurofen. But because it was nerve pain, nothing was working. I even got admitted to A&E and tested for meningitis because I was in that much pain. So I really sympathise with you.

Has the doc said what it is? In the end I was sent to a specialist and it wasn't actually a headache, it was chronic neuropathic facial pain - hence the tablets. I couldn't see an end to the misery and thought I'd be on them forever. However now I don't need them anymore. Every now and again it flares up and I take the nortriptyline for a couple of nights and it calms down.

Try the nortriptyline and hopefully it will work, but you really do have my sympathy. I know the misery you are going though :-(

jasperc163 Tue 16-Jul-13 10:14:13

Here's hoping it helps as well for me then. I have chronic headache but no clear cause (still working on that as I have some borderline thyroid results). Just need pain relief now as can't take it anymore.
Off to gp in a moment to get prescription. What dose did you start on (if you can remember)?

thanks :-)

jasperc163 Tue 16-Jul-13 13:10:40

also did you put on weight? And how long did you stay on them?

jasperc163 Wed 17-Jul-13 13:25:32

Anyone else with any experience? I took my first dose last night and pretty zombiefied this morning :-(

MyLittleFinger Wed 17-Jul-13 14:45:39

I take Nortriptyline for Trigeminal Neuralgia, 2 tablets before bedtime if it's bad, if not sometimes a hot water bottle held to my ear will dampen the pain. Nortriptyline does leave me slightly groggy next morning but feel better if I take them with food the night before. Not ideal but it works for me.

NigellaEllaElla Wed 17-Jul-13 14:50:26

I've been taking 75mg of Nortriptyline for about a year for Migraine Associated Vertigo.

I started off on 25mg and gradually increased and every time I increased I had constipation for about a week or two but otherwise I have experienced no side effects and these tablets have changed my life. They have banished all symptoms altogether.

In two months time my consultant is going to try to start bringing me off them in the hope that the MAV, which was stress related, will have healed itself. I am nervous about coming off them though.

jasperc163 Wed 17-Jul-13 16:01:06

Thank you both and glad to hear it is helping. I only took 10mg last night but i seem to be susceptible to the groggy problem (as I was a disaster on Amitriptyline and it didn't help anyway). How long til you saw a difference?

MyLittleFinger Wed 17-Jul-13 16:31:38

The groggy problem may ease the more you get used to them. The 2 10mg tablets worked from the first time I took them. I try not to have them too often because the dose may need to be increased.

jasperc163 Wed 17-Jul-13 17:08:30

That's interesting Mylittlefinger as I thought they were generally prescribed as a preventative and had to be taken continuously to have effect?

MyLittleFinger Wed 17-Jul-13 17:13:02

Depends what dosage of mg you have and what the leaflet says I suppose. Mine are "when needed" between 1 and 5 x 10mg tablets before bed. What does your leaflet say?

NigellaEllaElla Wed 17-Jul-13 17:48:06

My grogginess stopped fairly quickly, can't remember exactly. I was always wary when I was increasing the dose of making sure my husband was around the next day to deal with the children, or in the middle of the night but it never really had much effect. Mind you I have 3 under 6 so am permanently tired! smile

jasperc163 Thu 18-Jul-13 09:52:37

I am on 10mg. I took it earlier last night (around 7pm) but then woke up in the middle of the night and had trouble getting back to sleep but still feel groggy this morning. Also have heart palpitations which I am prone to but its not pleasant and I am wondering if that will wear off or not :-(

jasperc163 Sun 21-Jul-13 14:55:39

Still can't sleep and not sure it is helping as much as it was a few days ago :-( Anyone else had insomnia?

jasperc163 Mon 29-Jul-13 08:16:29

upping this in case any of you nortriptyline bods are still around. I am now on 20mg and insomnia problem went away as soon as I uppe the dose. Bit worried though as head seems much better as soon as I up the dose but then benefit seems to tail off. As a result think going to have to go up to 30 mg in next few days but worried this is going to keep happening.
Did any of you find this, but that you then reached a point where it worked and stayed working?

specialsubject Mon 29-Jul-13 11:59:15

just to say I'm watching this because my partner is going to start on this stuff. And sympathies to you, ongoing chronic pain is a life-wrecker.

hope you find a dose that works.

jasperc163 Wed 31-Jul-13 13:52:45

Hi SpecialSubject - I hope your partner gets on well with it. I no longer have any side effects (30mg) but it doesn't seem to be working as well as it did at the beginning (and its only been 2 weeks) so feeling pretty despondent :-(

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