MissEm

MissEm: New Member and Severe Amitriptyline Withdrawal

21 posts in this topic

Hello Everyone!

 

By the grace of God, I found this site. Let me introduce myself. My name is MissEm, and I need your help and support. Quick bio here: I was diagnosed in my mid twenties with Reactive Arthritis and Fibromyalgia. I'm currently 47. I'm extremely sensitive to most, if not all meds, making treatment for my Fibromyalgia extremely difficult. A little over a year ago, my physician prescribed Amitriptyline 10 mg for my worsening Fibromyalgia symptoms. The goal was to eventually reach 50 mg a night for pain relief and better sleep. The maximum of 30 mg was all I could tolerate and not without the usual side effects associated with this drug! I've recently noticed over this past few months a gradual decline in my overall feeling of wellness. Historically, this usually marks the onset of a drug loss of efficacy in my system...in layman's terms...the drug don't work no more!

 

Two weeks ago, I awoke very early one morning with all the signs and symptoms of a full blown panic attack i.e. perceived shortness of breath, tightness in chest, feeling of being strangled, severe anxiety, feeling that I'm going to die, etc. I landed in the hospital. All test results were normal. I have never been diagnosed with a Panic Disorder, nor am I an anxious person. I attributed this episode to the Ami failure in my system, and quit the med "cold turkey". Bad idea. My life has been a living hell for the past two weeks. While some of my immediate symptoms were alleviated, a whole host of others cropped up. I am now suffering with intermittent, undulating bouts of:

 

shortness of breath, dizziness, lightheaded, chest pressure, heart palpitations, intermittent cough, scalp tingles, insomnia, anxiety, feelings of dread, nausea, insanely itchy skin, the feeling of being strangled followed by an intense pressure in my head, headaches, irritability, abdominal discomfort, extreme temperature changes in my body, muscle pain, paranoia, fatigue, want to jump out of my skin, and feel like I'm going to go crazy.

 

I feel worse than awful as the symptoms come and go with intensity. Some days were better than others. This past couple of days has been horrible. I want to die. I have considered reintroduction but am terrified because my nervous system is already over-sensitized. Any thoughts, comments, suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Right now, I just want to cry...

Share this post


Link to post

Since you've only been off the drug two weeks, your best  bet is probably to reinstate it, although starting at a lower dose.  I'm not sure what forms Amitriptyline comes in, but you might want to try 10 or 15 mg. instead of the full dose.  Give it at least four full days before changing the dose, unless you have a severe adverse reaction.  Here's our topic on Amitriptyline, which includes directions on how to make the tablets into a liquid:

 

Tips on Tapering Amitriptyline

 

If you're quitting the drug because it's no longer working, a partial reinstatement may help the withdrawal symptoms.  Once you're stabilized you can then taper off at a conservative rate of no more than 10% of the current dosage.  If you're having an adverse reaction to the drug, then cold turkey is likely the only way to go, unfortunately.  But if I were you, I'd try the reinstatement first.  There's no sense in suffering through withdrawal symptoms if you don't have to.

 

Welcome to the forum, MissEm.  You'll find lots of useful information and friendly support here.

Share this post


Link to post

Thank you Jemima!

 

I so appreciate your reply back! I'm almost positive that I was having an adverse reaction to the drug. My system is super sensitive to medication because of the Fibromyalgia. I don't tolerate most medicines well, if at all. I decided to suffer it out because I don't want to possibly have an even worse withdrawal to deal with if I reinstate and it doesn't work. I phoned my physician today and she prescribed a very limited scrip of Ativan to calm the anxiety if it gets too out of control. In the meantime, I purchased some Magnesium Citrate and will use it daily to calm my nervous system, rather than use the Ativan as the first line of defense. I'm so grateful for your forum and will keep you posted as I move along. Thankfully, my symptoms started to decrease by dinner this evening. Thank God! It's been 48 hours of pure hell! I felt so good I was almost euphoric! However, that was short lived as the shortness of breath, anxiety, and itchiness returned in a milder form this evening. I hope and pray that this past couple of days was the peak and I will be on the mend from here! Here's to faith!!!...

Share this post


Link to post

I'm sorry you're having a rough time. Panic attacks are horrible to say the least. It's so hard to explain the feeling to someone who has never experienced one, too. I hope you feel better soon and read all the info on these forums and you will know you are not alone!

Share this post


Link to post

Hello Everyone!

 

Thank you Jemima and WhoAmI for your support and encouragement. I'm feeling a bit better today. The anxiety has decreased somewhat. It gets worse at night just before bed. I'm still afraid to go to sleep for fear I won't wake up. Irrational, I know. I just keep holding onto the knowledge that the dread and anxiety is the drug, not me. I feel like I have a bad chest cold today. My chest is tight and I'm coughing a lot. I'm super tired today. The intermittent skin itch I get is decreasing as well. I've been taking some magnesium citrate and Vitamin D. And I'm patiently waiting this out. I've decided that I don't want reintroduction. The reason I quit the Elavil was because of the snowballing adverse effects I was experiencing. I decided to tough it out because I'm almost 3 weeks into this and am fearful of another adverse reaction and an even worse withdrawal.  I'm so thankful for this site and the kindness and compassion from those who understand. I'm not crazy. That's really good to know...:)

Share this post


Link to post

Hello missEm

 

I quit nortriptyline (10 ml) 5 months ago cold turkey and suffered withdrawal symptoms similar

To those you described . The nausea is the worst one to deal with . I am wondering how you are doing ?

And if you found something that provided some relief . I attempted to reinstate after a month .. Did it or five days and had some bad reactions ... Headaches dizziness etc .. I was so frightened I decided to stop and tough it out .. However I am still suffering .. I have had occasional breaks but still not well.

Look forward to your response

 

A fellow Canadian ...

Share this post


Link to post

Hi Spencer,

 

I'm on the mend. Unfortunately, at about the same time I quit the Elavil, I was brewing a bad case of whooping cough so it was double trouble. The dizziness and nausea have passed. The body ache from the Elavil was almost instantly gone a day after quitting it. My mood has improved but I'm still not sleeping well at night. That's likely the Fibromyalgia as well as short term Prednisone for the Whooping Cough. In retrospect, I had no choice but to quit the Elavil cold turkey. I was having an adverse reaction to it. Treating my Fibromyalgia is a nightmare because I'm wicked sensitive to most medications, allergic to morphine, can't take NSAIDs, etc... It's hard to differentiate now which was the withdrawal and which was the Pertussis. I can say that both at the same time was pure hell. I don't recommend quitting any antidepressant cold turkey but sometimes you just have to. I was terrified of reinstatement for fear the withdrawal would be even worse. This past few months has been wicked evil. Spencer, I can tell you that I've only felt like a human being in the last couple of days. Patience and faith, my friend. I remember sitting in front of my computer about day number two of a bout of Doxycycline for the Pertussis and thinking, "Oh God, I can't do this anymore! I'm so sick and I'm so sick of being sick. Just take me now!" Thank God I'm back! Spencer, all I can tell you is it gets better, I promise. Drink plenty of water. Hydration is super important to eliminate the stored drugs from your body. Eat well. Sleep as best you can. Even if it's naps for a while. Laugh lots!!! I'm serious! It elevates the Seretonin levels in the brain and just makes you feel better all over. Go for walks. Spend time with good family and friends. That is really, truly the best medicine. Don't give up. There is hope. Every day is another small step towards well again. Let me know how the battle goes. You're in my thought and prayers, Spencer!

Share this post


Link to post

Oh yes!!! Spencer, please read as much as you can on here from the other members. They are a godsend and will guide you through the roller coaster of ups and downs of withdrawal. Just remember, it's the Nortriptyline, not you. Eventually, the symptoms do lessen, and the well times get longer than the rough moments. The folks on here are awesome. Jemima and WhoAmI were such a blessing to me. Slide up and read their responses to me. Great folks! Take full advantage of all the support you can get from this forum. We'll be here when you need us!

Share this post


Link to post

Dear MissEm

 

Thanks for your reply and so glad to hear you are on the mend. It's been five months since my cold turkey withdrawal and the nausea still persists .. I have had very few " windows" where the symptoms quiet down but when they do I am uphoric .

It's hard to except at times and harder to believe I am going to heal . Thanks for your tips I will drink more water and try to laugh. I have had a hard five days for whatever reason .. Doing the best I can

How long did your nausea last ?

Thank you again for your reply . And encouragement I can use it today

 

Sincerely

Spencer

Share this post


Link to post

Hi Spencer,

 

I'm not certain, but I know that the nausea did last for a while. Everyone is so different. Might I suggest some over the counter anti-emetics, like Gravol. The Gravol will eliminate the nausea and also make you sleepy, so at least you'll rest easier. The lows will come and go. Pretty soon, the time between lows will get longer, I assure you. Hang in there, Spencer. Sometimes, all you can do is one minute at a time, then one breath, then one hour. It's a horrible thing when the medicine is worse than the illness. I've been in health care for 30 years, and I can tell you that I'm not convinced that the system really has intention to cure anyone. The truth lies somewhere between. If we got people healthy, then many of us wouldn't have our professions. I've also come to the realization that being your own advocate is super important. Don't let anyone tell you how you feel. Only you know that for sure. I might also suggest the services of wholistic healers....acupunture, Reiki, massage, herbalists, etc. Whatever eases your symptoms, run with it. Sometimes, the psychological addiction to the medicine has worse withdrawal than the physical addiction itself. Remember, we weren't feeling well when we started taking the medicine, so we sure aren't going to feel cured when we're off of it. Again, a process. Maybe consider going the naturopath way and see how your symptoms do. Let me know your progress.

Share this post


Link to post

Dear MissEm

 

Just thought I would drop by to see how you are doing ? .. I am believe it or not still struggling with chronic nausea .. Recently diagnosed with acid reflux .. Which I never had . My diet is already sooo clean and restricted hard to believe I have this.

Wondering again how you were and if any words of wisdom or encouragement I will welcome

 

Take care

Spencer

Share this post


Link to post

Hi Spencer!

 

I'm sorry to hear that your nausea is still persisting! Maybe it is the acid reflux. I know that H.Pylorii will also cause those same symptoms. Have you been tested for that, as well? I'm moving along. My biggest issue is dealing with anxiety and panic attacks, something that started last July and I'm struggling with it. I don't think quitting the Amitriptyline cold turkey was a good idea. I was already suffering with adverse reactions to the drugs a few months before that, and I think quitting the meds so abruptly only exacerbated the anxiety and panic. I see a counselor on Wednesday morning. I hope this is the beginning of the end to this. Other than that, the majority of my other symptoms have pretty much resolved and are gone. Just hang in there, Spencer. There is a really good possibility that your nausea is either curable and/or manageable. And the rest of your symptoms? Are they or have they pretty much resolved? I hope so! Thinking good thoughts and sending wellness vibes your way......

Share this post


Link to post

Hi Miss Em, glad you are feeling better, that is great to see.

I hope the counsellor is good for you and helps with the anxiety, it will be brilliant to

get that under control. New beginnings  :)

Share this post


Link to post

Dear Miss Em

 

Thank you for your kind reply

I was tested for H.Pylorri and it was not found . I have never had acid reflux and or experienced heartburn but the thought is I have silent reflux .. Due to the irritation on my esophagus ? I refuse to take nexium but rather will try through diet to reduce acid in ( although my diet is currently quite restricted)

Its all so bizarre and hard to accept what is going on. . The chronic nausea is really so overwhelming and no one has an explanation and or will accept it could be the withdrawal . For now , i continue to do what I can to heal . As for other symptoms .. I suffer from chills and some anxiety intermittent insomnia . I am glad you are doing a bit better and keep the fight going .. We have no choice

I hope a pray daily this well end soon .. And that the medical community recognizes this as a serious and valid issue .. Shame on them .

Please keep in touch .. Wish you well Miss Em

 

Sincerely

Spencer

Share this post


Link to post

Hello MammaP and Spencer!

 

First of all I'd like to start off by thanking you both and everyone else on here for the wonderful words of support and encouragement. This whole experience has been trying, to say the least. I have some good news! I started to see a Panic Disorder counselor. That has been a very helpful to me. If nothing else, it's given me the resources and the encouragement from a whole network of support geared solely towards panic, anxiety, and panic disorder. About six weeks ago, I decided to go and see a doctor of natural medicine about my anxiety and panic attacks. She assessed me and determined that I required an alkaline based diet, as an overgrowth of yeast was contributing to my general feeling of unwell. She sent me home with a number of herbs. After two days on the alkaline diet, I could feel my anxiety had dropped markedly. She reassessed me again after two weeks, and determined that I required supplements for my endocrine system, namely my Thyroid and Adrenal glands. For any of you non-medical people out there, your Thyroid and Adrenal gland play a huge factor in producing hormones which regulate metabolism and adrenalin. Adrenalin is the hormone involved with the "fight or flight" response in the body. If your Adrenal glands are fatigued, one of the many symptoms that arises from this is anxiety and panic attacks. My doctor of natural medicine prescribed some more herbal supplements for my Thyroid and Adrenal glands and sent me on my way. I'm happy to tell you that after four weeks of being on the herbs, my anxiety has dropped from a 7 or 8 down to a 1 and I've had no major panic attacks to speak of. I am elated. Spencer, I encourage you to seek help from the Naturopathic community. After such a hard struggle to get weaned off of your medication, your body may be lacking in some vital hormones that may contribute to the symptoms that you are still experiencing. At the very least, Naturopathic medicine will supplement your healing process. I haven't felt this good in months and continue to heal every day. I hope your battle subsides soon. MammaP, I encourage you as well to seek out Naturopathic medicine. Again, it may just be that your body is over-sensitized from the effects of drug withdrawal and requires some herbal therapy. I wish you both Godspeed in your recovery and hope that you both find what you need to make this journey more bearable. I'll keep you both close to my heart and in my prayers and I'll be awaiting to hear some good news soon!

 

With Love,

 

MissEm

Share this post


Link to post

Good to hear you're doing better, MissEm.

 

Can you explain the gist of an alkaline diet and how it differs from your diet before?

 

How are your withdrawal symptoms?

Share this post


Link to post

Hi Altostrata!

 

Thank you for your words of encouragement. Essentially, an alkaline diet is also known as a Candida diet. The point of an alkaline diet is to eliminate foods that Candida, otherwise known as yeast, live on. There has been tons of literature out there stating that an overgrowth of yeast in the body creates disease and illness. I'm no medical doctor, but I can tell you what I know from my own experience. Switching over to a Candida diet made a huge difference in my overall wellness. Within days of starting the dietary change, I noticed that my anxiety was markedly reduced. I had much less abdominal pain, and a lot less brain fogginess. Of course, the diet is also supplemented with herbs specifically tailored to your health issues. All in all, I can't say enough good about the whole experience. However, beware to any who feel that this is a quick fix for anything. Herbs and supplements are natural and take longer than your typical Westernized medical approaches to work and to heal the body. Currently, I feel much better. I believe that much of my withdrawal symptoms have gone and I'm on the mend. I still have good and bad days, but no real marked withdrawal symptoms. Another thing I'd like to mention is the Candida diet is a stark change from a regular diet and is a process rather than an instant transition. For the first six weeks, all foods that are "acid" based foods are eliminated from the diet...dairy, flour products, yeast and yeast containing foods, sugar, fruit, alcohol, caffeine, processed meats, tomatoes, potatoes, pasta, vinegar, pickles, and honey. There is more but this should be sufficient to scare most people...LOL. Acceptable foods to eat are all vegetables except mushrooms, chicken, fish, turkey, lean red meat, grains, brown rice, oats, lentils, chick peas, flax, rice cakes, beans, salads, and some seeds. It's somewhat bland and can get boring quite quickly, but the long term benefits are amazing if one can be patient. After the first 6 weeks, one starts to reintegrate specific foods back into the diet. This program is recommended to be followed for at least 3-9 months or until your naturopath states otherwise. I hope this helps, Altostrata! Godspeed to you and your recovery process!

 

With Love,

 

MissEm

Share this post


Link to post

That's very interesting, MissEm. Your alkaline diet pretty much focuses on foods that are low in allergy or inflammation potential. The paleo, GAPS, etc. diets do the same thing.

 

My guess is you eliminated something you were reacting to. Good for you, you're taking care of yourself very well.

Share this post


Link to post

Hi MissEm. I just came across your posts about your withdrawal symptoms and can't believe how similar your symptoms are to mine! I went cold turkey on nortryptiline almost 3 weeks ago and have been having a hell of a time dealing with withdrawal. I'm still struggling a lot, but your positivity has given me new hope that things will be better. Take care.

Share this post


Link to post

Glad to see a tricyclic thread, although it sounds like these people's withdrawal is milder than mine. Don't get me wrong, they are definitely suffering, but I have what they have, plus more.

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now