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Amitriptyline - migraines-headaches & side affects?

(33 Posts)
Emma0191T Wed 07-Sep-16 17:12:57

I have been suffering chronic migraines/head pain for over 6 months now,
Doctors tried everything to pain killers, beta blockers, and so on...

Had a referal to see a neaurolgist, which was then cancelled for further clarification needed,

Doctor who iv been seeing throughout my head pain said there was no more pain killers she could give me with having small children, but new doctor has put me on this?
Knocks me out before bed but all day I feel like a zombie,not to mention, I still have a dull aching pains in my head, no get up and go, drowsy, feel like I could sleep all day (no chance with a 2 year old)

Has anyone had any similar experiences? Any other medication that helps without the awful side affects? Or if I should even continue taking these?!

Thanks in advance smile

MadisonMontgomery Wed 07-Sep-16 17:21:24

I take amytriptyline for my migraines - the first time I took it I was a bit drowsy & my balance was off, but I've been fine apart from that. It doesn't make me sleepy - I am a very light sleeper who struggles to fall asleep and it helps me drop off and if I wake up in the night I find it easier to get back to sleep, but that's it. It's really helped my migraines, I still get them but not as frequently or as badly. When do you take it?

Eva50 Wed 07-Sep-16 20:20:57

I take it for neurological pain due to fibromyalgia. My first few days on it were as you describe. I felt more exhausted than usual, I couldn't concentrate at all and it didn't seem to help. I googled a bit about it and was told to "give it a week". Right enough after a few days the symptoms passed. I had the same problems when I increased the dose but it only lasted a couple of days. It's taken me the best part of a month to see any improvement in my pain but I think it does help.

I was told to take them half an hour before bed but have discovered I have to take them by 9pm if I want to be up to take ds3 to school and even then it's a struggle.

Stiddleficks Wed 07-Sep-16 20:29:29

I take these, as sleeping tablets did nothing for me and these mean I can actually get some sleep. I've been on them a little over a year now and am mostly ok but they did take some getting used too and if I take them later in the night they make mornings a struggle. I've still been able to get up and deal with a newborn no problem, just find I fall back asleep quickly. Id try and persevere if they help your problems as it does get better.

Realitea Wed 07-Sep-16 20:30:14

I take it too, it cured my anxiety! What dose are you on? 10mg is the strongest I can manage without feeling awful.
It is normal to feel like that for a few days and it can take as much as six weeks to start working.
Stick with it for a couple of months if you can as it does help a lot of people.

Realitea Wed 07-Sep-16 20:31:16

Oh and take them 12 hours before you need to wake up.

AwayAwayAway Wed 07-Sep-16 20:32:48

I was prescribed these for migraines too, I experienced all the side effects you described and a few more. I had to stop taking them, tried a few other things but eventually I went cold on the medication. I take nothing now but haven't had many episodes. Stress and lack of sleep are huge triggers that I try and avoid

wineandsunshine Wed 07-Sep-16 20:36:58

I took them for long term cluster migraines too, they did make me feel a bit groggy for the first few days but after that all was fine. I took around 8pm and slept really heavily - always pop the alarm on! They worked wonders and I don't need them now.

WuTangFlan Wed 07-Sep-16 20:37:26

I didn't get on with it, similarly to you I was just so drowsy all the time. Have they tried you on any triptans, e.g. sumatriptan?

jobrum Wed 07-Sep-16 21:36:54

I had to take them between around 22 and 28 weeks pregnant for migraines. I hated them but they did halt the migraines. For the first few days I was a zombie as well as having arm shaking and feeling a bit sick. After about a week things did improve but only slightly. I had to take them early in the evening or I couldn't wake up, they knocked me out (although I am very susceptible to anything that could make me drowsy) and I never quite lost the groggy feeling. I'd definitely give them a couple of weeks to see how they settle for you.

It's interesting to read that some peoples migraines didn't return after stopping them.

Have you considered acupuncture? I was very skeptical but tried it when my migraines were frequent and very bad and it really helped. I have no idea how! But I didn't change anything else, it had to be down to the acupuncture. I had fewer of them and when I did get one it wasn't nearly as bad.

lougle Wed 07-Sep-16 21:55:10

I didn't get on massively well with amitryptiline, so I take nortriptyline. It's better for me.

Emma0191T Thu 08-Sep-16 08:59:39

I take them on a nighttime, an hour or two before bed, I am totally knocked out, but my symptoms are day time which is no good.

Emma0191T Thu 08-Sep-16 09:03:37

I take 10mg at the moment but the doctor has told me to "double up" if I still have head pain, which I do, but I'm quite sceptical into taking 20mg since 10mg is making me a zombie...

Emma0191T Thu 08-Sep-16 09:06:45

Iv had tripans yes, sumatriptan worked for a few days but sure enough they came back,
Same affect with the beta blockers,

I think what worries me most is no one actually knows, including myself what this head pin actually is, I don't even know the difference between a headache an a migraine anymore but just the acute throbbing pain that happens at least 5 days out of the 7.

Doctor has said if it was a brain tumour or anything more serious, I would of known about it by now. Reassuring. Lol.

Emma0191T Thu 08-Sep-16 09:08:35

Iv tried the cold turkey on medication, and to be honest for the first few days I felt fine, but after that the pains came back, I'm at a total loss, feel like iv had almost everything now with no result only side affects. angry

Lucienandjean Thu 08-Sep-16 09:13:08

I take this for neuropathic pain. I'm on 30mg.

At first they really made me drowsy. I'd struggle to get up in the morning and feel sleepy all day. This was on 10mg. After about 10 days that went away. Every time I increased the dose, I had a couple of days of sleepiness afterwards.

But, they worked well on the pain, once the dose was high enough, and now, 5 years on, they don't seem to make me sleepy at all.

To start with I used to take them about 7pm, but now I just take them at bedtime. I'd encourage you to give them a bit longer - it took a while for the pain to go, and the side effects to go, but it was worth it in the end.

Emma0191T Thu 08-Sep-16 09:28:30

I'm just quite hesitant to up the dose.
Doctor had recommended it if I still had head pain, which I do, but I'm still a little worried of the after affects.

if I went back to the doctor and explained it's not for me, is there any other tablet or cure for the same sort of thing? Iv been told they are "running out of options" is there any other pain killers out there?

NCISfan Thu 08-Sep-16 09:43:43

How long have you been on the amitriptyline? It took about 2-3 weeks for the side effects to ease for me. Hard to cope with when you have a little one. Have you tried a combination of treatments? My neurologist recommended staying on the beta blockers (which I've been on for a number of years) and taking amitriptyline as well. It seems to have worked as the daily headaches/migraines have stopped. I also see a chiropractor every couple of months. He manipulates my neck and spine and this also helps. I hope you find something that helps. flowers

Emma0191T Thu 08-Sep-16 10:06:02

Thanks ncisfansmile

Been on them almost a week, but I still have a dull aching pain in my head throughout the day. Combined with the zombie affects isn't good, would o higher dose solve this?

I was on beta blockers but didn't get them again when prescribed ami,

Never considered a chiropractor, didn't think that could help! shock

The most annoying part is I don't have a neurologist, only a doctor who won't refer me. angry

NCISfan Thu 08-Sep-16 10:16:10

I don't know if a higher dose would help but I'd wait another couple of weeks before trying that. I'm also on the lowest dose. It might be worth asking the GP if combining the 2 medications is worth a try. I'm not medically trained btw.
I actually started seeing a chiropractor as I have problems with my neck and back (too many accidents and an SN son). I found going regularly eased the headaches until the last bout which started in June. That's why I'm now on the amitriptyline.
You have my sympathy Emma0191T.

WuTangFlan Thu 08-Sep-16 11:19:56

Ask to be referred to a migraine clinic? List here Ask to see another GP if your current one isn't helpful.

butterfly990 Thu 08-Sep-16 15:12:04

My DD 12 has been prescribed it as she has constant headaches and sickness for over a year.

The dosage is only low and she reported that it was reducing the pain associated with her headaches by 10% (her wording).

She has had a MRI scan and all is clear.

I have now taken her to see an osteopath and they saw immediately that her upper back and shoulders were all tensed up. Since she has been having weekly treatments, her headaches have dropped to approximately once a week.

It has taken a year to get to this point and I wished that we had considered this option sooner.

Miiaaoow Thu 08-Sep-16 20:05:34

I haven't taken it for migraines but took it for sleep and hated it. The grogginess/zombieness never went away for me. The withdrawal was not fun either despite being on a very low dose and doing it very slowly.

I don't have migraines but a friends consultant neuro recommend magnesium and vitamin b2 and she's found them semi helpful.

The reviews for this one say similar

Worth trying?

ellanutella8 Thu 08-Sep-16 20:11:59

I took 10mg a night for migraines for about a year. No side effects that I can remember. Never been a good sleeper and I don't recall it changing that. My migraines eased and after reviewing it with the gp I came off it and only have the occasional manageable migraine now. So it can work.

jaxxyj Thu 08-Sep-16 20:21:06

I had side effects as you described it couldn't bear feeling like a zombie. I went back to gp and was prescribed noritryptilene which is the same except for some people it isn't so sedative. It has worked much better for me.

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