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Amitriptyline & Weight Gain: The Reason 50% Discontinue Treatment

Amitriptyline (Elavil) is the most popular TCA (tricyclic antidepressant) medication on the market. It is primarily utilized for the treatment of depression, and in other cases, migraine headaches and anxiety disorders. The drug functions primarily by inhibiting the reuptake of the serotonin transporter, which increases extracellular levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Although serotonin is primarily responsible for producing its antidepressant effect, the drug also affects other neurotransmitters like norepinephrine to a minor extent.

Although TCAs are seldom prescribed as a first-line treatment for depression, some individuals actually find that they work better than SSRIs and other new antidepressants. If a person fails to respond to several newer drugs, a psychiatrist will likely prescribe a TCA – and due to the fact that Amitriptyline is the most popular, it’s what most people end up taking. Like all antidepressants, this drug tends to yield side effects, one of which may be unwanted weight gain.

Amitriptyline and Weight Gain

Some studies have estimated that 50% of all patients who discontinue treatment with a tricyclic antidepressant (TCA), do so because they’ve experienced excessive weight gain. For this reason, some people may find that Amitriptyline works extremely well for their depression and balancing their mood, but they may not be able to put up with the increase in weight. Let’s face it, gaining weight can (in some cases) override the antidepressant effects of the drug and actually contribute to depression as a result of poor body image.

How Amitriptyline Causes Weight Gain

There is an array of research that has been conducted with Amitriptyline to investigate how the drug may cause weight gain. Researchers have long claimed that this medication can alter your hormone levels, cause you to crave sweets/carbohydrates, and increase your appetite. If you gain weight while taking this particular medication, below are some reasons that may help you understand why.

  • Appetite increase: Some studies have determined that Amitriptyline can be administered to individuals suffering from eating disorders like anorexia and effectively boost their appetite. If you have been taking the drug and notice that you’re a lot hungrier than usual, it could be that the drug is making you feel hungrier than normal (for a variety of reasons).
  • Craving carbohydrates: There are multiple studies that have found that those who take Amitriptyline tend to experience an increase in cravings for “sweets” and carbohydrates. It is known that carbohydrates will cause weight gain if they are not properly used and/or eaten in excess. The cravings may stem indirectly from this drug’s effect of raising serotonin levels – a neurotransmitter directly tied to carbohydrates.
  • Depression reduction: Some people who are depressed tend to under-eat, leading to a weight loss. Assuming this drug is working to effectively treat the depression, the person may realize that they should resume normal eating habits. This may lead the person to re-gain the weight that was lost during a depressive episode.
  • Fat storage: The body tends to store fat differently when we are taking certain antidepressant medications compared to during homeostatic functioning. This is due to the fact that medications tend to alter metabolic functions as well as various hormones. When hormone levels are altered, some people have a tendency to pack on extra fat with relative ease.
  • Hormone levels: Perhaps another important clue to weight gain that people experience on Amitriptyline is the change in the level of various hormones, particularly that of “leptin.” This hormone is involved in appetite regulation and hunger. When levels of leptin increase (as caused by the drug), we feel hungrier more often, and are more likely to eat.
  • Motivation reduction: The fact that this medication is known to decrease energy levels in those that take it, this often leads to reduced motivation. When your motivation plummets, you are going to have a much tougher time getting your butt up to exercise as well as plan healthy meals; this leads to weight gain.
  • Sedation: A very common side effect that people experience from Amitriptyline is that of sedation. This is considered one of the most sedating TCA medications, leading people to feel fatigued, sleepy, and tired while taking it. If you feel more tired than usual, you may end up exercising less and sleep more – leading to less calories burned and a slower metabolism.
  • Slow metabolism: It is thought that you may experience a slowed metabolism as a result of many of the other factors on this list. Assuming the drug alters your hormones and makes you feel sedated, those to effects alone may contribute to a slow metabolism. Others speculate that the drug-induced physiological changes result in a slowing of the metabolism – leading to weight gain. If you have maintained the same diet and exercise habits throughout your treatment as you did pre-drug, and gain weight, it could be due to metabolic slowing.
  • Social eating: If the drug is working well to treat your depression and/or anxiety, there’s a chance that you may start to socialize more frequently. Frequent socialization often leads to social eating, or eating out with friends. If you end up eating out more than usual, you’re probably going to end up gaining weight.
  • Taste perception: When depressed, some people claim to have a blunted perception of taste or that food just doesn’t seem to have the same pizzazz. If this medication works well to improve your mood, you may find that your taste also improves, leading you to eat more often (and possibly larger portions), both of which can lead to weight gain.

Note: It is important to understand that although many of the factors listed above can cause weight gain, they degree to which they affect you is highly individualized. One person may start eating out with friends more often on the drug, while another may simply become tired, lethargic, and unmotivated. Keep in mind that the path to gaining weight on any medication is often subject to individual variation.

  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6754192
  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16232156
  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/4588039

Factors that influence weight gain on Amitriptyline

There are other influential factors that can determine how much weight gain you experience on Amitriptyline. These include things like: the dosage you take, how long you’ve been medicated, your lifestyle, whether you take other drugs, as well as your genetics.

1. Dosage

Studies have shown that even if you are taking low-moderate doses of Amitriptyline, you may still gain weight. That said, if you are concerned about weight, it is always recommended to take the minimal effective dose to treat your depression. The higher the dose you take, the more likely you are to gain weight as well as amplify any existing weight gain you’ve experienced.

When taking high doses, the drug tends to have more influence over your physiological functioning. With increased influence, its effects on neurotransmitters like serotonin become amplified, but so do its unwanted side effects like weight gain. Some people claim that there is a direct dose-weight relationship associated with Amitriptyline.

2. Time Span

How long have you been taking this medication? Those that have been on it for years already have likely adapted to its effects and have (in all likelihood) maxed out their potential weight gain. Those that have been on the drug for a long-term likely have experienced some change in weight as well as BMI throughout their treatment.

It should also be mentioned that the longer you are on this drug, the more likely you are to have become tolerant, and thus need to increase your dosage (which we know can lead to weight gain). Those that use the drug over a very short-term may not notice as much weight gain simply because the body may not have fully adapted to the drug. Unfortunately many people end up having to discontinue after just a moderate term (6 months to 1 year) because their weight has ballooned.

3. Lifestyle

While it may be easy to place complete blame on the Amitriptyline for the weight that you’ve gained, it is also important to evaluate your lifestyle. Take the time to consider whether you practice healthy eating, get enough sleep, minimize your stress, and make exercise a priority. If you aren’t getting any exercise, are highly stressed, and are eating garbage foods – your lifestyle may be more of a contributor to your weight gain than the drug you’re taking. Practice healthy habits so that you know whether it is really the drug causing you to gain weight.

4. Other drugs

Also think about whether you are taking any other medications. If you are taking an antipsychotic drug, those are associated with more significant weight gain than Amitriptyline. If you are on an array of different medications, it may be helpful to have a discussion with your doctor about which drugs are most likely causing your weight gain. Also keep in mind that those who don’t gain weight on this drug may be unknowingly offsetting the weight gain if they simultaneously take a stimulant medication and/or drug associated with weight loss.

5. Genetics

Another explanation for why you gain weight on this drug and another person doesn’t could be due to genetics. Each person has a unique genetic code and genetic variants that respond to this medication. If your genetics aren’t a good fit for the drug or make you more susceptible to weight gain based on this drug’s mechanism of action, you’re going to have a more difficult time staying slim. Fortunately there are new technologies in the works like GeneSight that analyze your genetic code to predict how you’ll respond to various antidepressants.

How much weight will you gain on Amitriptyline?

Unfortunately there is minimal research documenting exactly how much weight people gain while taking Amitriptyline. Some studies that analyze tricyclic antidepressants (including Amitriptyline) have reported that people tend to gain between 1 lbs. and 3 lbs. per month while taking the medication for 6 months. Among those taking TCAs, people tend to gain anywhere from 3 lbs. to 16 lbs. after being medicated for 6 months. Since Amitriptyline is one of the more sedating TCAs on the market, some speculate that more weight gain is common.

Does Amitriptyline cause everyone to gain weight?

Not everyone gains weight on Amitriptyline. As was already mentioned, weight gain is highly based upon individual factors such as genetics, lifestyle, and whether you’re taking other medications. That said, most people who are only taking Amitriptyline are likely to experience some weight gain. While it may be discouraging to gain some weight, with adequate exercise and healthy dietary intake, it can be minimized.

  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6238068

Should you discontinue treatment if you gain weight?

Up to 50% of all people who discontinue this drug do so because of weight gain. If you are planning on quitting this particular drug, you may want to talk to your doctor about other options. It is important to always weigh the therapeutic benefit you are getting with the unwanted side effects such as weight gain. If the weight you’ve gained has become problematic and impairs your functioning, you may want to consider Amitriptyline withdrawal.

However, if the drug is working well to keep your major depression under control, you may be able to justify some weight gain. Never be too quick to discontinue a drug just because you’ve packed on a few pounds. Proper interventions such as daily exercise, changing your diet, and possibly other medications may be able to help offset the weight gain; talk to your doctor about what can be done.

Did you gain weight while taking Amitriptyline?

If you’ve taken this drug (or are currently taking it) and have experienced weight gain, be sure to talk about it in the comments section below. It may be helpful if you include some specific information such as how long you’ve been taking the drug, when you first noticed the weight gain, your dosage, and other medications. Also mention why you believe the drug caused you to gain weight. Even if you didn’t gain any weight (or are a rare person who lost weight) on this drug, you are welcome to join the discussion.

  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2975806
  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/872612

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{ 91 comments… add one }
  • Andrea February 25, 2015, 6:11 am

    I have been taking 75 milligrams of amitriptyline for the past eight years prior to that I was on 50 milligrams of amitriptyline. I was unable to take other medications for migraine prevention and overall body pain. The other medications I’ve tried cause severe neurological side effects. I have gained 40 pounds from the amitriptyline.

  • Doris Hunter June 5, 2015, 2:33 pm

    I took amitriptyline for 30 days and gained 20 pounds in that time frame! Beware!

  • Diane June 10, 2015, 2:35 am

    I’m am writing this review from bed with a pan of brownies. I am a naturally thin woman, have been my whole life (I’m 40). I started taking amitriptyline for my chronic migraines. But I am also a highly anxious and nervous person. This drug even in a small dose (25 mg) has made a big impact. I didn’t even take it for anxiety. To be honest I didn’t even know how anxious I was until I had the benefit of the relief.

    I had no idea how my anxiety caused me to privately overreact. At a small provocation I trail backwards through my life blaming myself and regurgitating old embarrassments, blowing everything out of proportion. Since I’ve been on amitriptyline I am simply calm. When something happens, I just see the event. No more. I decide on what to do then react. I let things go because I feel relaxed and calmed; not drugged or tired, just relaxed.

    I sleep through the night; I do have strange dreams, but even that doesn’t bother me. I even look better to myself. Before, the mirror was hard, I picked apart my flaws. Now I have a balanced look at myself. I see a flaw, but it doesn’t consume me, I see my beauty too. Now, everything has a catch in life. The catch here is weight gain. I’m normally a small-eater and more savory-craver, but I found myself finishing my daughter’s plate when she couldn’t, ooo cookies, that looks good, hmm desert after the meal, sure!

    Auntie can you make brownies, of course! I am hungry and I want carbs and sugar. I used to snack on balsamic vinegar and sea salt on cucumbers. Now, I’m in bed with a pan of brownies. I’ve felt so good, I didn’t even notice til yesterday when I put on a bikini. Uh oh. Then I got on the scale. Ten pounds. On my stomach and hips. Even though this drug has really helped me, I can’t do this.

    I will have to find another way. I have learned a lot, but like any good affair, we knew it had to end at some point. My point is just south of midnight with a pan of brownies and a pot belly under the light of my phone as I type this. Adieu amitriptyline… I will remember the good times.

    • Dana February 2, 2016, 7:28 am

      Were you able to find another medication other then amitriptyline that works? My dose was just increased and now I am gaining weight, hunger all the time, and swelling with water weight. I take it for sleep but am not happy with the weight gain. Any thoughts or help would be great. Thanks, Dana dlzemke2000(@)yahoo.com

      • Angie February 8, 2016, 12:59 am

        Hi Dana- Diane’s story is almost identical to my own, and like her, I am naturally thin, but amitriptyline invariably causes me to gain 10lbs. I’ve been on and off it for 25 years for migraines. I take 25mg total per day, as weight gain at 50mg starts to go beyond an extra 10lbs. I go off of it every 6 months or so to drop the weight, which effortlessly comes off every time without fail, which to me is further proof that amitriptyline is to blame for the weight gain.

        You may want to try nortriptyline. Some find it too activating, and therefore it may not be as effective for sleep. However, many others, including myself still find that it helps greatly with sleep. On 25mg of nortrip I always slept deeply for a full 8-9 hours every night. I discontinued it because it didn’t do much for my migraines. It sounds like maybe you’ve already tried amitriptyline at only 10mg/day since you said you increased your dose.

        I was just wondering, because for me, even 10mg was enough to put me into a long, deep sleep; but 10mg was not enough to help my migraines. Finally, I’ve found Neurontin (gabapentin is the generic) to be very helpful for sleep in the past- just an idea. Compared to many other meds, it has very minimal side effects and interactions with other drugs. Hope this helps :).

        Forgot to mention that the reason I suggested nortriptyline, gabapentin or lower does of amitriptyline (10mg) is because each of those 3 options resulted in a lesser appetite, less bloating and less weight gain for me :).

        • Jennifer Kaiser September 13, 2016, 12:09 am

          I’m on 50 mg for migraines and it really seems to help BUT I am watching what I eat and exercising daily and still have stubborn pounds that I gained that won’t budge. So frustrating. I don’t want to be vain and come off for gaining weight since it helps with my head pain BUT every time I try a new med it works for a year then I end up having to increase the dosage. Which if I do for this, I’ve heard the weight also increases! Ugh! Have you found another option that helps with your migraines? I’ve tried topamax, zonigran, and a Effexor and a few others already. 😩

    • Eboni May 6, 2016, 12:29 am

      Like Diane & Angie, I am naturally thin as well. I’ve been on amitriptyline for about 3 years and have put on almost 10 lbs. I was on birth control when I first began noticing the dramatic weight change and thought it was that so discontinued that after only a year. But the weight is still on a little in my arms, thighs, and hips.

      Before amitriptyline, I never had to exercise and I’be been trying to, but it’s hard being consistent with my work schedule. But, I’m going to have to be consistent. My eating habits are the same as before I started taking this but I’m very self-conscious now. I do sleep well at night and it’s helped tremendously with my IBS and anxiety, but I’m not sure if the weight gain is worth it.

      • Natalie August 30, 2016, 5:00 am

        I have been on this for bilateral trigeminal neuralgia for about 3 years and it has been great. I to have had weight gain but only mine has went up in a huge amount. I take 150mg a day. I started at 160 3 years ago and 4 years ago had a baby so some was baby weight and some I blame on the food cravings with this medication.

        Hungry all of the time! Well in 3 short years I weighed in at 211lbs in January and 4 months ago something changed. I walked everyday and tried to eat better. I was glued to the scale after every meal. Than I cut myself down to 100mg a night instead. That 50mg took away my cravings. I was no longer hungry anymore. This was a month ago.

        I have no appetite and my husband is constantly reminding me to eat More. I feel like I’m withering away to nothing. I’m slimmer than I’ve ever been. I’m 28. But the weight is still there. But! I’m down to 200lbs. Yay. Not a healthy way though. Be careful what you wish for… I’d rather be fat and healthy than constantly being reminded to eat more. :-/

  • Amanda June 15, 2015, 8:06 pm

    I suffer from poor sleep and anxiety and the I am going to discontinue the amitriptyline. I’ve been on it for 25mg for 4 months. I have enjoyed the better quality of sleep and a more calm outlook on life but the weight gain is starting to make me depressed. I am so disciplined on what I eat but I’m still gaining weight. I’ve gained about 4 pound per month and feel continuously hungry. I’m seeing my doctor today to go on something else to help me sleep – that doesn’t cause me to gain weight.

  • Kylee July 5, 2015, 9:58 am

    I started on 10 mg of endep but quickly escalated to 45 mg per day due to neuropathic pain. I was 48 kg when I went on it and after only two months I’m 8 kg heavier. I strictly go to the gym everyday as I always have and have struggled with the fat and fluid I’ve gained. I eat everything I can see and am craving breads and sugars. I don’t have the discipline at the moment but I’m going to try starting tomorrow.

  • Amanda July 7, 2015, 9:26 pm

    Hey… I seem to be losing weight. I was very anxious when my doctor told me weight gain was a common side effect and even considered not taking them. The pain I was in however changed my mind! I do struggle with my weight if I’m honest. I never allow myself to be overweight, but every day is a struggle as I love my food. Even running 5 miles a day etc.

    Anyway since I started on Amitriptyline, 10mg I noticed I dropped 2lb in the first week, another 2lb the second. I went on holiday for 2 weeks and ate and drank a fair bit. Although I never exercised on holiday I was shocked that when I returned I hadn’t gained an ounce. All if this said one of the side effects – if you can call it that is that my appetite isn’t as it was.

    Recently I decided to reduce my dose and just take one twice a week. Not only has my pain returned (trigeminal neurologia) but so have a couple of pounds. This is despite running 5 miles a day, but my appetite is back and I just feel hungry whereas I never while I was taking every night. I am happy with this drug. It has changed my life.

    • Joni January 15, 2016, 7:41 pm

      Dear Amanda, Thank you for your comments. I was just prescribed this drug and am terrified of the weight gain. You see I was taking neurontin for neuropathy pain which I did not know made me gain weight. I have been a thin girl petite all my life until this and now I am afraid to gain more weight, but you have given me some hope!!! Thank you.

  • Angel July 9, 2015, 6:31 pm

    I started taking amitriptyline in September 2014. I have gained 45 lbs since I started taking it and it is now July 2015. I’m going to talk to my doctor and stop taking it. I cannot continue to gain weight like this!!

    • Natasha October 4, 2016, 3:54 pm

      What mg did you use? I have been prescribed 10mg for IBS but am worried about gaining weight so was wondering how much you were on.

  • Meg July 11, 2015, 7:47 pm

    I have had MS for the past 9 years. Although my mobility has improved immensely over the past 4 years (used a cane or a segway to get around for 4 years and have NOT used either in the past 4 yrs) which I credit to immense reduction of STRESS – I got a divorce. But the one thing that I live with every single day is PAIN – and it drives me nuts because I KNOW that my legs and feet feeling cold and yet at the same time feel like they are on fire on the inside and then also they are numb (which doesn’t make sense) is due to altered sensory signals to the spinal cord and brain due to demyelination.

    But I look at my legs and feet and there is nothing wrong with them – they LOOK “normal”. Recently my doctor decided to try and wean me off of the Methadone that I have been on for the pain (caused severe constipation) and introduce another medication….Amiptriptyline 100mg a day. The Methadone had stopped helping much and I didn’t want to take a higher dose so this was the option. But no one told me about the possible weight gain. Being 44, I have been between 110 and 120 for the past 12 year – before that was having my three children so weight was really irrelevant.

    I am currently 135!!! I have been on it for about 3 months and even though it is “helping” the pain a bit (nothing has ever made it STOP, just brings it to a level that I can tolerate) to be perfectly honest I am miserable being fat! My clothes don’t fit me!!! Which is understandable given the weight gain and the fact that all my clothes are either a size 2 or an XS and there isn’t much “wiggle room” in those sizes:(

    I am ashamed to admit that I might not be able to accept and put up with the weight gain in order to try and curb the pain. It seems so incredibly vain of me, but it is the honest truth. I have trouble putting it into words but it is tied to my own self image and inner strength. Knowing that I am fit and strong is incredibly important to my plan of coping with MS. It’s just NOT how I see myself and because my weight hasn’t been an issue since my college years (gained the freshman 15 + 40lbs…no lie) having my stomach spill over the top of my jeans is just horrifying for me!:(

    Has anyone found a way to combat this? I have NOT changed my eating habits at all (no extra cravings for sweets or wanting larger portions) I have never been a particular fan of food/eating. I do it, but I do it to keep my body nourished and energized – so guessing that’s not it. And my workout routine is the same, with strength training and cardio about 4 days a week. I never thought that I might actually choose being thin/small over the pain being tolerable.

    But from the very first days of being diagnosed my motto has always been “doesn’t matter how I feel, as long as I look good.” It is my armour in all this. Show the world that I am strong and not letting MS take over my life – and I tie that thought (the common phrase I might have MS but MS doesn’t have me) a lot to my physical appearance. Anyone have any suggestions? I would LOVE to be my “normal” weight AND have the pain be manageable!

    • Rachael March 16, 2016, 5:56 pm

      We share a similar story. I have always been quite small (size 2). I lost all my baby weight after having my daughter and was always somewhere between 115-118. I got on Elavil for headaches just four months ago and today I weigh 135. I’m only five feet so this extra weight is so uncomfortable. my clothes are too small. I thought it was just me so I started doing the 21 day fix, watching what I eat even more so than I usually do and didn’t understand why the pounds kept coming!

      Today my Dr. d/c the Elavil because this rapid of weight gain can result in Diabetes. I’m going to continue to use my Maxalt as needed for migraines and see if I can handle it. I don’t think it’s vain, I think it’s uncomfortable to be this heavy. I can’t do it anymore. I will keep working out every day and try to get this weight off asap!

    • Rainelle December 3, 2016, 9:19 pm

      Hello Meg, I also have MS. I am 41 year’s old. Your comment sounded just like me, so I had to reach out to you. I have never actually spoke to someone else with MS, let alone someone that is going through the same thing I am. I started the amitriptyline 3 months ago 25mg. I have gained 14 pounds so far. Not only is it body/self image for me too but it feels like a ton of extra weight is on me and makes it harder to actually move and walk. I would love to talk with you more. Not sure how we could get in touch with each other? I was diagnosed in 2003 with MS and it has been an uphill battle ever sense…

  • Rena Waterson July 16, 2015, 4:21 pm

    I started taking amitriptyline 3 months ago and have gained 14 pounds. I am taking it (50mg) for IC and while it has helped, I am not sure I can take this weight gain. I have never had a weight problem and this is very unsettling. I need to talk to my doctor to see if there is something else I can do. There is another drug that I can take but it’s very expensive and causes Alopecia!! UGH! Very discouraged.

    • Rhonda January 24, 2016, 2:33 am

      What is the name of the other drug? I can’t take the weight gain either. I have been struggling with my weight quite a bit. First it was my thyroid, but now it is gone (I had to have it removed). This medication works a lot with helping me sleep and my anxiety, but I have put on ten pounds in a month and I feel more depressed now! I am going to stop taking it. I was hoping there was something out there that didn’t make you gain weight.

      • Alexa August 20, 2016, 6:54 am

        I’m not sure when this comment was originally posted or if it will ever find you, but I figured I would answer your question anyway for anyone that may be reading this. The other medicine she was talking about is Elmiron, and is quite notorious for causing hair loss. Some people have had success with Desert Harvest Aloe, which is thought to coat the bladder in a similar way to Elmiron.

  • Deborah Martinez July 17, 2015, 11:55 pm

    I have been on Amitriptyline 100 mg each night. I have insulin depentent Diabetes. I adhere to a very, very strict diet. And I try to walk a little each week. After one week on this crap, I have gained pounds. I’m throwing all in toilet. I take Wellbutrin 300 mg each AM. It helps keep the weight off quite nicely. Hear the flush? That’s my Amitriptyline going bye bye. F.T.S. That was 6 pounds in one week. I don’t think so… now I’m going to starve myself and throw up until I get this Ring weight off.

  • Millie July 31, 2015, 1:23 am

    I take Amitriptyline 25mg per/day for spasms and headaches and I really do well by taking only 1 tablet. However, 2 tablets (50mg) I do feel alot better. When I was prescribed 50 mg/day, instantly within a couple of days my weight gain began rapidly. I recently lost 20 pounds prior to starting Amitriptyline and to gain back the weight…I don’t think so! For now, I will stay with 25mg.

  • LaDonna July 31, 2015, 4:37 pm

    I have been on amitriptyline, low doses at night, for the past 6 months for headaches. I have noticed my weight creep up over the past months which has been aggravating especially since I had los 15 unwanted pounds prior to starting the medication. Now I have gained all of the weight back plus a pound or two. I thought it was my age (54) and slower metabolism but I now believe it is the medication.

    The past 5 weeks I have been seeing a nutritionist, eating 1500 calories a day, exercising, logging food intake, and I have lost some body fat but keep gaining weight. I can’t afford to gain weight at my age as it is too hard to lose, so I am going to stop taking the amitriptyline and see if I can get my weight under control. I agree that the medication has helped, I do sleep better and the headaches are very few now.

    But after working very hard to lose weight and gaining it all back while I am eating healthy is very depressing.

  • Ni August 4, 2015, 6:59 am

    I have been taking these tablets for a while now as I have problems sleeping. I eat well, fruit and veggies every day, exercise and walk, but I’ve still gained weight, I know as you get older your metabolism slows down and it’s harder to shift the weight, however in the past year I have put on 21 lbs. I have decided to stop taking the tablets and go down a more natural route with my sleeping and see if the weight drops off. By the way I was on a low dosage 10mg.

  • Sammy August 7, 2015, 12:58 pm

    I have been taking Amitriptyline for Fibromyalgia since January 2012 when my mum died. I have gained 4 stone (don’t know what that is in lbs). I am seeing my doctor today – who has always strenuously denied you gain weight on this medication!! – to ask them to change me to something different for my FM. I’ll get a herbal remedy to help me sleep if I need it. I am never taking this stuff again.

  • Angie August 22, 2015, 8:58 pm

    I’m very sorry to hear many of you are having the same weight problems I’ve had with amitriptyline. I’ve been on and off of it for at least 15 years for migraines. I have a complex love hate relationship with it. Love: because its side-effects are less devastating than other migraine preventives (at least for me) and it sort of works; by sort of, I mean I only have to take 10-12 triptans/month when I’m on it.

    On no preventive meds, I can barely function. Hate: my normal weight is 125. On amitriptyline it is 140. Each time I’ve gone off of it I go back to my normal weight fairly easily. BUT- again, without this drug, I cannot function. Any anti-depressant effects it may offer are certainly negated by the poor image I have of my chubbier self. Hang in there everyone. Hopefully we’ll all find solutions someday!

  • Nika August 24, 2015, 1:37 am

    I have taken this med for at least 10 years now, lose dose at 10 mg nightly, to help with migraines and IC. Recently my crohn’s disease has worsened and spread quite badly and caused my IC and endometriosis to become severely exacerbated. Last time I was hospitalized about 2 months ago they increased my dose to 25 mg nightly. Then I saw a uro- gyno about 2 weeks ago and he upped the dose further to 50 mg nightly.

    I have been so tired I sleep all night and most of the day if I can, I have also gained about 7-8 lbs in the last 2 months and have been constantly starving to death all day all night. I was eating everything in sight. I spoke with my MD and we decided to go back down to my usual dose of 10 mg. I pray the weight comes off soon, I not only feel depressed and in pain, now I feel like a whale and none of my pants fit anymore.

    This is a strong med and it shouldn’t be taken lightly, no pun intended. My heart goes out to all of you struggling with this med as well. God bless.

  • Sue August 24, 2015, 10:47 pm

    I have been taking Amitriptyline for several years for pain in my knee following surgery in my twenties. I have been told I will need a hip and knee replacement in the future. In my fifties I was initially prescribed 10mg so I did not have to increase the number of cocodamol I was taking. After 5/6 years the dosage was upped to 20mg, again to stop the need to increase the Cocodamol.

    During this time I noticed no big weight gain. 8 months ago following another increase in cocodamol the Amitriptyline was increased to 50mg. Since the increase to 50mg I have gained nearly 2 stones. I had been putting the weight gain down to semi-retirement lack of exercise and age. Having read more about Amitriptyline I am going to discuss this with my GP. The weight gain is obviously not going to help my knee or hip and certainly won’t help any surgery.

    I am now cutting the 50mg pills in half until I see my GP. I was completely unaware of a weight gain side effect as until the dosage was increased to 50mg I had had no issues. The lower dose definately helped and allowed me to stay on lower doses of the cocodamol, but, it looks like for me all good things have come to an end.

  • Emily August 31, 2015, 7:48 pm

    I have been taking Amitriptyline for 3 weeks starting at 10mg and increasing to 20mg after a week. Now in week 3 my appetite feels uncontrollable, I’m experiencing intense cravings for sweet things and other carbohydrates. I have recently been told that I’m at high risk of diabetes so this really isn’t helping! Also I’m taking the Amitriptyline for sleeplessness caused by anxiety and the extreme highs and low of blood sugar I’m experiencing is making my mood a lot worse. I will be talking to my doctor and asking to switch to another type of antidepressant – definitely! This ones driving me a bit bonkers.

  • Terri September 10, 2015, 3:56 am

    I have been taking Amitriptyline for about 6 months. I started at 10 mg, and quickly worked up to 20 mg. It helps me avoid migraines (in combination with Amirex), but I have gained at least 15 pounds. I am hungry all the time, and I crave sweets. I did not crave sweets before, nor did my appetite seem to be insatiable. I also feel like my metabolism has also slowed down because of it. I have been feeling tired frequently, even after a good night’s sleep. I tried to stop taking it after a few months, but my migraines came back. After a trip to the ER, I started taking it again.

  • maryann September 15, 2015, 6:13 pm

    I have neuropathy in my feet and hands to the point of hoping that right before the rain I can be put under so I cannot feel how horrific the pain is. I have been on everything and there’s always some issue. Lyrica really worked; horrible weight gain 7lbs in 4 days. Heavy duty pain medicine that lets you cope, but the pain is still there. I was put on Amitriptyline 10 mg 1st week up to 20mg. I have a hard time staying asleep, but it has really helped with the pain…I do not know what to do though as I have gained 1 to 2 lbs per day.

  • Robin September 25, 2015, 3:35 am

    I am experiencing weight gain from Amitriptyline also, as I see so many others are. Is there any other medication anyone can share that can replace this one with same positive results for migraines?

  • Cushla September 29, 2015, 4:45 pm

    STARVING oh man. Like the lady in bed with her brownies, I’m in bed with a bag of chips. I’ve been on these pills for 2 months and put back on the 4 kilos I worked so hard to lose. Doughnuts and cream all food I never thought of before I’m now craving like a pregnant woman. Off to the Docs to change meds… Thanks all for your comments.

  • Claudette October 4, 2015, 3:01 am

    Hi I have been on amitriptyline for over two and a half years and it totally controls the neuropathic pain from having a central nervous pain from viral meningitis in Oct 2012. So I really like it, it makes me sleep well and controls the pain. It also helps for chronic migraines from the meningitis. I had a severe case of viral meningitis and then addiction to codeine and chronic migraines. Came off the codeine in hospital for 15 days.

    Went up to 75 mg amitriptyline at night. It feels really good but I am 18 kilograms heavier!! So I started at 59 kilograms, was 64 for a while….now 78 kilograms. Sh*t, its hard to get rid of it. I have botox as well, and that’s the answer for the migraines. Its curing them and I am so happy I cannot tell you. But I’m still fat, and sometimes getting fatter. So maybe I can start to reduce the endep. I’m also on 160 mg of propranolol as well and that makes you tired as well.

    I’m having to push myself really hard to overcome the fatigue. Plus I am working 4 days a week and doing post graduate university so I have a lot to do. It makes it hard when your metabolism is fighting you to lose weight. I did get down to 69 kg after 4 weeks of intense food management with the help of a naturopath, but I couldn’t maintain the discipline with the huge workload I have. So, i think I could lose the weight with a huge controlled effort, but I’d have to throw everything I have at it.

    I find I just cannot maintain the discipline, be hungry all the time and manage it with the university work. In 6 months more of botox I can probably start to reduce the endep and propranolol which will reduce the weight gain. Also, the worst of the university will be over so I can focus more on self. Overall, I rate the benefits the endep to be great. The downside is I can hardly control my eating. I am 3 or 4 sizes larger. My wardrobe doesn’t fit. Lots of clothes remaining unworn. I hope the rest of you can win too.

  • Cree October 18, 2015, 3:58 am

    Oh my I thought it was just me and I have been on Amitriptyline for 2 months YES two months and I have gained 22lbs. I eat a lot of junk food, my mouth is dry but I still eat. But the good thing about this is the headaches have decreased tremendously.

  • Julie November 17, 2015, 10:14 pm

    I started amitriptyline 1 x 10mg just under two years ago to help me get off to sleep at night, and this has slowly crept up to 3 x 10mg a night. I have always been slim, but since I’ve been on these tablets I’ve put on a stone in weight, and my BMI is bordering on dangerous! I too had originally put it down to change of lifestyle in semi-retirement, but I was quite relieved to read that weight gain is common with amitriptyline and that it’s not just me!

    I have been going to the gym regularly and cutting down on food intake (it’s been hard with carb cravings!), all to no effect so I’m reducing my tablets back to 1 x 10mg per night now, and going to the docs shortly to discuss giving up altogether and finding an alternative sleep-aid. I’d be very interested to hear whether people have managed to lose any weight after discontinuing amitriptyline.

  • Dallas November 23, 2015, 4:12 pm

    Thanks for everyone’s comments, it really helped! I’ve tried 2 other meds for fibromyalgia but either they did nothing or the side effects were terrible. I’ve been taking Ami for 6 weeks – 10mg for a month, now 25mg for the last two weeks. When I started the meds I forced myself to cleaned up my act – I stopped emotional eating sweets (I ate to make me feel temporarily better from the chronic pain), and I started regular exercise (I was terribly sedentary before, and now I do moderate cardio 4-7 times a week).

    I knew I had gained a few pounds this summer so it was time to feel better all over – mind and body. BUT, since I started taking Ami I’ve gained weight – not sure how much, but last week alone was 3 lbs. It’s made me feel bad, I want to emotionally eat again and stop exercising. But I know that’s not the answer.

    I felt that Ami had OK side effects (dry mouth and dreaming), but I don’t feel THAT much better in terms of pain to account for such significant weight gain. If anyone has tried another med that has worked for FM, please let me know! (I’ve tried Cymbalta and Wellbutrin). Thanks!

  • Beth December 1, 2015, 12:31 am

    I have MS and have bad leg pain. Started taking 20 MG of amitrityline about a yr and a half ago and at that time I weighed about 140. About 6 months after I noticed my scrub pants were tight (like WTH!!). I had gained 19 pounds! I thought it was because I had, had a hysterectomy. I went to my neurologist 6 months ago and he increased my dose to 40 MG.

    Now I am at 182 pounds!!!! I went to the dr the day before Thanksgiving and asked her, “what am I taking that is causing me to gain weight?” She said it was the “amitriptyline”. I haven’t taken it since (she does not know this). After reading this article I realized something I hadn’t noticed: I always wanted sweets and carbs. Now that I have been off of it for a few days, I notice I’m not craving them. So I am hoping the weight comes off as fast as it went on. Faster would be better :)

  • Ashlie December 3, 2015, 6:17 pm

    I have been on amitriptyline for three months for insomnia. It has been amazing for my sleep and I haven’t ever felt rested in years. Unfortunately, I too have gained the weight. I have never had issues with my weight and never have fluctuated to over 5 pounds.

    I currently am 38 years old and my average weight is 130. I have gained a total of 18 pounds in the three months. I am a very active and eat very healthily. I have changed nothing with my food intake and the pounds keep packing on. I have never had to up a size in my pants since I was 18 (except for childbearing).

    I don’t consider myself a vain person, but this weight gain is taking a toll on me. I have decided to stop the drug in hopes there is something else out there that will help me sleep as well as I have been on amitriptyline without the side effects. I have tried so many others and natural remedies without luck.

    At at first thought the weight gain was in no comparison to feeling rested, but that was when it was 10 pounds, not the 18 :).

  • Ana December 13, 2015, 1:54 am

    I actually haven’t taken amitriptyline but I took a similar drug and want to offer some hope for those who felt they couldn’t continue with amitriptyline. I took nortriptyline (an active metabolite of amitriptyline) for depression, although the drug is also prescribed for migraines and chronic pain. I had most of the same side effects described above: dry mouth, vivid dreams, constipation, water retention, but I also experienced loss of taste and the inability to tell whether I was hungry or full.

    So, I wouldn’t say that I feel hungry all the time, but I could eat at any time. And my body never tells me I’m full while I’m eating. Notably I didn’t gain weight on nortriptyline. Well, technically I was a 5 pounds heavier on the scale, but it was due to water retention and constipation. It looked like a lot but I was taking 150mg daily which is the max dosage for depression; doses under 75mg are usually prescribed for chronic pain/migraines. So my weight did vary by 5 pounds within a week, but it didn’t keep going up.

    Given the side effects, I think the weight could have gone either way on nortriptyline. On the one hand, it was easy to forget about eating because I didn’t feel hungry. On the other hand, it was impossible to know when to stop eating. Loss of flavor was pretty annoying, and I noticed that it made me default to blander (and typically starchier) food. I think eating also helped generate saliva which was a nice break from the dry mouth.

    I attribute the fact that I didn’t gain weight to eating only at set times and paying attention to portion size. (Don’t eat ice cream out of the container. I made that mistake with an entire 1/2 gallon once. Put it in a bowl. When you finish the bowl, ask yourself “Am I still hungry?” rather than “Am I full?”) Nortriptyline did decrease my ability to taste, so eating became somewhat mechanical. And even though I still craved some flavors, I learned after a couple weeks that it was impossible to satisfy those cravings since my sense of taste was reduced.

    For some people, a medication that reduces your sense of taste will be too high a price for depression/migraine/chronic pain relief without weight gain. I totally get that. But sometimes, a slightly similar medication can have a slightly different side effect profile that you can handle, and I wanted to share my experience.

  • Norman December 14, 2015, 9:59 pm

    I have been using amitriptyline for thalamic pain brought on by a stroke. In the short time I have used it, I have gained almost 10 pounds. I can’t afford to buy new clothes and I am exercising as much as I physically can, and being very strict about what I eat.

  • Gail December 22, 2015, 10:01 am

    I developed clinical neuropathy after chemo treatment for breast cancer and have been taking 25mg endep tablets for three and a half years. At first they caused me to hallucinate, but I kept a small torch under my pillow and was able to reassure myself that there weren’t any scary things leaning over me in bed. I gained 12kg and for the last six months have been on a Lite N’ Easy diet where the food is delivered to my house and I keep it free of other food. I managed to lose 9kg, but it should have been a lot more… so this week I have stopped taking Endep cold turkey. I have noticed that my feet are becoming numb and my hands also hurt more, but I’m determined to try to last without it.

  • Courtney December 25, 2015, 4:05 am

    I am 20 years old, and I first started taking this while I weighed 120. Within 2 months I was at almost 140. For being 5’2″ it wasn’t easy seeing my body change dramatically. Even though I ate very healthy and did hot yoga 3 times a week and worked out the other 2 days, I still kept gaining weight. It has made me very frustrated and I would not suggest it to anyone.

  • Jennifer January 9, 2016, 12:50 am

    I was originally taking 25mg of amitriptyline for migraines. I didn’t experience any side effects. I took that dose for about 6 months and it didn’t help all that much. I say a neurologist in November 2014 who increased the dose to 50mg nightly. It is now January 2016 and all though my headaches have diminished in duration and intensity I have gained about 30 pounds in 2 months.

    Although I am tall at 5 foot 8 inches, I have a thin frame usually weighing around 130 pounds. I am only 29 years old and I have been thin my whole life never really fluctuating in weight except my first pregnancy. I wasn’t told about the weight gain as a side effect and I’m very upset that I wasn’t forewarned ahead of time! I am now at 160+ pounds and because of the increased weight gain in such a short period of time I now have high cholesterol and am borderline diabetic!

    My doctor told me I need to go on a diet with no sugar like the 21 or 30 day diet or the paleo diet. I find this ridiculous! I have never had trouble with my weight and have been pretty healthy overall. I will be talking to my doctor next month about my other options because thus is not one of them. There has got to be something else out there! Good luck to everyone and if I have any good news I will be the first to post it on this sight.

  • Nan January 10, 2016, 7:14 am

    I’m so glad I saw all these comments… I’ve been on 20 mg daily Amitriptyline for about 2 months and couldn’t understand why my clothes and bras were so much tighter. I am taking it to conquer a chronic cough and to help me sleep – it does make a difference and I love feeling rested and energized every day, but I don’t like the changes I’m experiencing.

    It’s summertime now and I’m on holiday and exercising every day, eating my careful daily diet but weight is going on. I’m 57 and have felt proud of my body shape for the past few years, but not at the moment. I’ll discuss this with my specialist and see what he thinks. Thank you so much for helping me understand what’s happening to me.

  • Louise January 20, 2016, 1:33 pm

    I was prescribed amitriptyline 1 year ago to help with temporomandibular joint disorder. It really helped me at the time. I have gained roughly 2 stone since starting the tablets and I also have noticed myself craving sweet foods. May doctor is reluctant to take me off the medication without the go ahead from the maxillofacial surgeon.

    If anything I feel I need my dosage increased to deal with how terrible I feel about my weight gain! I work in a bar and have seen the same customers for years and now I have people asking me if I’m pregnant and commenting on my weight daily. It’s very upsetting. I’ve never had an issue with my weight before, I am 29 and very active. I can only place the blame on the amitriptyline :(.

  • Ashley Pear January 23, 2016, 10:20 pm

    I have been on this medication for about 6 months. I take it for tension headaches. Initially on 10mg and the 20mg for the last 2 months. The impact on my weight and appetite has been huge. I have gained about a stone and a half in this time. I crave sweet things so much, all the time, and it’s been so bad that I haven’t been able to control the cravings.

    Until I stared this medication, I rarely ate sweet things, usually having a mouthful of cake at an occasional birthday party. I feel disgusting right now regarding my weight, but don’t want the horrible headaches back. I’ve started an exercise regime recently to try to offset the weight gain. Here’s hoping it’ll help. I never knew that my sweet cravings were related to this med until researching today.

  • Alaina January 27, 2016, 3:44 am

    I was prescribed Amitriptyline about 3 months ago for myofascial pain syndrome & trouble sleeping, and have been taking 50 mg every single night. I’m also on Adderall, which I take daily & it normally causes a decrease in appetite. Before taking Amitriptyline, it did. However, after starting the Amitriptyline, I began noticing I was still hungry even when I took Adderall, which obviously was a significant change to me.

    Since I began taking it, I have gained somewhere between 5-10 pounds (my weight fluctuates sometimes). I am a young adult so my metabolism is okay, I go to the gym every single day & eat healthy (no soda, very little to no sweets/junk food, etc), and the number on the scale has not budged. If it does happen to move, it usually goes up.

    Putting in all of this effort to lose weight/get in shape & seeing no results is severely lowering my self esteem & motivation. I am going to the doctor tomorrow to be taken off of Amitriptyline to see if I can get my weight under control, while it’s still relatively easy for me to control it.

    • Gemma February 8, 2016, 2:52 pm

      Hi Alaina, I have been prescribed it for the same issue – I’ve only been taking it for a few days so have not yet seen any benefits – only lots of reasons to stop taking it! Have you seen any reduction in pain? I’d be interested to hear what your doctor prescribes as an alternative. All the best :)

  • fifi January 31, 2016, 12:57 am

    I have been taking amitriptyline for about 6 years-and am now on 100mg per night for migraine and M.E. I have put on about 20lbs in the last five years.

  • Dana February 2, 2016, 7:36 am

    I take amitripyline mainly for sleep. I was in a car accident which caused me problems sleeping and was prescribed amitriptyline. My dose was just increased and now I am gaining weight, gaining fluid, and hungry all the time. Does anyone know of another medication that helps without the weight gain? Any suggestions on how to not gain the the weight or a different medication would be so helpful. Thanks for any help or suggestions.

  • Lynne February 2, 2016, 6:51 pm

    Been on amitriptyline since August 2015 it’s now February 2016 I stopped taking it two weeks ago. I was taking it for chronic muscular pain, I have gained about twelve pounds, it has caused soreness in my mouth given me anal fissures and piles and caused problems with my digestive tract. I have stopped taking it, sorted out my mucous membrane systems, my rectum, intestines and mouth. And to be honest, it never really helped with the pain just made me sleep better. I sleep fine without it and feel totally human again.

  • geraldine wilson February 5, 2016, 10:17 am

    I gained 16 kilos in 6 months. And all up 20 kilos in 8 months before I realized it was the Endep prescribed for chronic back pain after surgery. I have stopped taking the medication now , the weight has stopped but I can’t get the weight off that I gained. Weight went on around my bottom & stomach. Can’t tell you how this has distressed me as I have always been weight conscious & eaten healthy. Now the fight begins to lose this unwanted fat.

  • Gemma February 8, 2016, 2:48 pm

    I have been taking 10mg a day for 4 whole days to treat nerve pain. I cannot stop eating! And it’s not even healthy options – chocolate, cake, anything with a horrific calorie/sugar content is swiftly shoved into my mouth before anyone else can get their hands on it! My exercise has also stopped as I feel so floaty (it very much reminds me of the 90’s before I had responsibilities).

    I just feel totally trollied. I’ve not been taking it long enough to see any benefits yet but I don’t think I can continue like this – overeating and no exercising does not make a good combination, not to mention the struggling to keep my mind focused on my work :(.

  • Ginger February 11, 2016, 12:37 pm

    I took this drug for 2 months and gained 30 pounds and 2 dress sizes (went from 6 to 10)!! I stopped taking it. That was 15 years ago, but I have still not lost the weight and have actually slowly gained 20 more pounds.

  • Clare buttons February 16, 2016, 12:29 pm

    Took this for 4 years at 25mg and I’ve put on 4 stone… And very dramatically, I’m covered in stretch marks. Now I’ve come off the horrid things and I’m hoping to get myself back.

  • Ann C February 21, 2016, 12:59 am

    About 12 years ago I lost 75 pounds and kept if off without too much trouble. Then I went on half of a 25 mg tablet of amitriptyline and without two weeks I was binge eating for the first time in 10 years. I could NOT stop eating. I gained 15 pounds in about six weeks, at that point I severely cut back on portions and exercised at my highest capacity.

    I stopped the weight gain but could not lose any. I also felt a total lack of motivation and my memory started getting so bad I thought I had early Alzheimers. I finally managed to get off it a year later, and I hoped I’d be able to lose weight again, but no luck.

    It’s been another year of my desperately trying to lose weight but my body will not release a pound no matter how much I diet. Or if I do manage to lose three pounds if I go out for dinner and eat normally I will have gained it all back again the next day. I KNOW this drug has altered by body chemistry and hormones and it did not go back to where it was before the AMI.

    I am so unhappy that I ever took it. Oh, and now, on top of the not being able to lose weight, as soon as I cut back on calories I get severe insomnia where I wake up at 2:30 am and can’t get back to sleep. Is there any way to push the reset button???

  • Bumper February 25, 2016, 1:56 pm

    I was on amitriptyline for nerve pain for about five years (2 x 20mg a day) and during that time I gained 18lbs. At the time I didn’t know it was down to the medication but in October 2014 I decided to come off my pain meds as I had a number of other meds I had to take during that period. The weight began to fall off me so I Googled ‘amitriptyline and weight gain’ and found this site.

    By January I was back to my original weight and back into my tight fitting jeans and clothes. I hope not to have to take amitriptyline again, but if I have to, only when nothing else will take the edge off my pain and very sparingly.

  • Mae February 28, 2016, 6:45 am

    I have been on elavil for 27 years. I am 67 years old. It rescued me from a dive into constant migraine, full body pain, IBS, tremors… you probably know the list. I have tried numerous times to phase in other meds and phase it out, and it is a quick trip into hell. I also take other medications and many supplements, all of which are helpful.

    I have gained 60 pounds. I eat far less indulgently than I did before elavil. It’s very depressing. I exercise to what limits are imposed by my neuromuscular and pain illnesses so I’m in constant fluctuations of pain. I am retired but I work part time as a health care professional, I am a writer and a painter, and my husband and I adopted our grandchildren as infants, so we have two young ones.

    I found this website searching the web to see if there was any new information about weight gain on elavil. I can’t imagine ever being able to give it up, but I am always in grief for the loss of my thin, healthy body. If anyone has information that reduces the weight gaining effects of elavil, please send it my way.

  • Nikki March 3, 2016, 11:02 pm

    I have been prescribed Amitriptyline for a neurological problem – started at 10mg and the Dr asked me to increase the dose slowly over a few months to 100mg a day, quote ‘if you can tolerate it’ (!). The first dose of 10mg completely wiped me out and made me comatose for the day but you do get used to it, though do still feel quite tired all the time.

    I reached 80mg but at that point it was affecting my speech (developed an intermittent stutter!) and my heart rate was constantly at nearly 100 beats per minute and giving me chest pain so I had to come back down. I also started to pile on weight even though i am naturally skinny and have never had any trouble with my weight previously.

    I have dropped back down to 50mg which has helped with the speech and heart rate (although still slightly elevated) but I am still putting weight on. I have been taking Amitriptyline for about 9 months and in that time have put on about 11 lbs – if the weight continues to increase I will have to come off it, I already have increased a dress size! :(

  • T. Puny March 6, 2016, 10:57 pm

    I’m currently taking 50mg of amitriptyline daily. I have been taking it for about 1 year consistently. I have gained 35lbs. Although the med works wonderfully to help with depression and sleep I have decided to stop. The risk- benefit has switched dramatically. I now have high blood pressure. It was newly diagnosed. I know the major factor is the weight gain and my BMI has hit 35. It’s certainly not worth taking vs having a healthy heart. If you have experienced weight gain. It’s not always apparent right away. One pound here and there will creep up on you.

  • Debbie March 18, 2016, 1:08 am

    I have been on elavil for 5 months for sleep. It works great for sleeping I take 50-100 my every night. I have recently been aware of my weight gain of 70 pounds since starting. I don’t know for sure if this is the cause but all other medication I have been on for years. Elavil is the only new medication. I will be talking to my doctor about this at my next visit.

  • Nicola March 22, 2016, 9:35 pm

    I take 40mg of amitriptyline and have done so for the last month and have already gained 7 pounds! I cannot stop eating. Mainly carbs and sweet things. It’s lifted my mood but not sure the increase in waistline is helpful.

  • shannon March 26, 2016, 3:02 am

    I just started this drug and am less hungry than usual and actually can’t seem to finish my meals (which) are smaller. I will watch for appetite changes and any other of these negative side effects!

  • Hialry April 5, 2016, 6:59 pm

    I am so happy reading this… I couldn’t understand why I was gaining so much weight this past year and had NO IDEA that Amitriptyline was the cause. I’ve been on it for 4 years now increasing the dosage each year due to headaches and anxiety. I didn’t notice any weight gain when I was at 25 and even 50 mg but when I bumped up twice in one year to 75 and then 100… BAM I had gained 12 lbs (which is so not normal for me).

    I couldn’t figure out what the hell was happening. I met w/my doctor about the weight gain and she told me this was a side effect which I never knew. Now I am hoping she can get me on something else that helps not only w/the migraines but w/the anxiety as well. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one experiencing this nightmare.

  • susan April 6, 2016, 2:40 pm

    Finally, I know why I’ve gained 15 pounds in the last 6 months. I take 25mg of Elavil at night for nerve pain and to help me sleep. I developed RSD after a wrist surgery last winter and have had a tough road but the Elavil wasn’t helping with the pain, I kept taking it because it helped me sleep and I was not aware of this side effect.

    I am tapering my dosage and going to see my doc next week for other options. This has been so frustrating, wish I had of known about the side effects. So Thankful I found these posts.

  • shirley April 12, 2016, 2:57 pm

    I have been on amitriptyline for a year now, 100 mg a night for migraine. I am so gutted because I go to slimming world and I have lost 4 stone 5 pounds, but it is so so so slow. I see people getting on the scales losing 2, 3, 4, 5, pounds in a week, me it’s half a pound, or a gain.

    Even though I am really good with my diet, my husband is just amazed with my willpower, but it is getting me down now. I know people say, oh but you are doing so well, I just get frustrated that for all my hard work I am getting little reward. Anyone else going through this?

  • Ms. Mango April 24, 2016, 12:57 am

    I have been on this drug at 1/2 a 75mg (as close to half as possible) a night for 6 weeks and have gained 16 lbs. I watch my calories closely after having lost 35 lbs (intent on the last 10… until now) and have changed very little about my diet other than noticing more cravings for sugar and/or bread and giving in now and again but still within my limits. This is the first anti-depressant I have been on in 10+ years.

    My main reasons for taking it were migraines and anxiety, the side benefits for depression and IBS also drew me to go back on it for the first time since teen years. I have noticed my migraines are less and my mood is slightly better, but not enough to stay on it with the excessive weight gain and the return of panic attacks that I had well under control.

    I also have lupus and take Plaquenil and a variety of supplements so I am not sure if there is any bad mix there, but my doctor was confident there wasn’t. I stopped taking amitriptyline yesterday so will be keeping a close eye on weight and symptoms afterwards.

  • newzbug April 28, 2016, 9:26 pm

    I was prescribed Pamelor after being in a hospital for 6 days from a suicide attempt. I began to feel very hungry and could never be satisfied with what I ate. My weight just blew up. I tried to convince my GP that is was the med, which he didn’t believe. So my psychiatrist changed my meds. I don’t feel as good as I did on it, but I am not gaining any more weight. But I am working at trying to lose it. At 57 it’s pretty hard to lose 50 lbs. BTW, I was taking 75mg day.

  • Sazzamozza May 4, 2016, 9:57 pm

    I took 10g every evening for two months for nerve pain in my back – it worked wonders enabling me to sleep through – however the drowsiness and weight gain were undermining my self-confidence and ability to live life so unfortunately I had to give it up. I put on half a stone (7lbs) mostly around my middle.

    I was always hungry and craved sugar and starch / this combined with fatigue resulted in my weight gain and as someone who suffered with eating disorders as a teenager this is not something I could tolerate. I’ve been off amitriptyline for a couple of weeks now and my cravings have reduced along with my appetite so I can slowly see my frame appearing from underneath the acquired layer if fat!

  • Penny May 10, 2016, 3:25 pm

    Hi, I’ve been taking 20mg daily for 3 months for severe nerve pain, due to breast surgery and full lymph removal surgery due to breast cancer. The pain in my arm and breast is greatly improved and now I easily sleep through the night. I haven’t experienced any weight gain or cravings for carbs.

    I put on weight very easily and I put on five pounds when I started taking the breast cancer drug Tamoxifen (which I still take) but I didn’t put on weight with Amitriptyline. So it works well for me, but I am on a low daily dose of 20mg. I hope this helps! It may work for you too.

  • Mollie May 13, 2016, 9:22 pm

    I’m taking 50mg a day at the moment for migraines! My advice to anyone considering amitriptyline would be that yes, it can make you gain weight simply because of cravings pasta, bread, sugar but it gets easier with time. Gaining weight isn’t easy to deal with and definitely wasn’t for me, but if you’re healthy, eat well to balance bad foods and exercise (lifestyle changes which aren’t always easy in the beginning) then a number on a scale doesn’t define who you are. Your mental and physical health is far more important and you have to make the right decision for you, much love.

  • Wendy June 17, 2016, 4:35 pm

    My PCP started me on Elavil at 10mg every night to treat my IBS-D. I’m a nurse and I couldn’t function for several hours in the morning due to the sedative effects. The grogginess was overwhelming (even though I took the pill at 7pm). Although I was having some anxiety and insomnia from the IBS-D, I felt like 10mg was too much for me.

    I saw my PCP and he asked that I cut the pill in half and continue to take at the same time. The pill enables me to sleep, but the cravings for carbs is driving me crazy and I’m constantly holding onto 4-5lbs of fluid. This has been the first week that I’ve taken the pill for 4 nights in a row and my small frame can’t tolerate this fluid weight. I woke up this morning with my face very swollen.

    I may try to cut my half pill in half and see how that feels, but I managed to lose 50lbs 7yrs ago and keep it off and I do not plan on putting it back on. Also I have noticed some constipation. If I still notice the weight gain and cravings with the 1/4 pill (2.5mg), I think I’ll just try melatonin and Metamucil again. Good luck everyone.

  • Jo Ann June 22, 2016, 10:15 pm

    The neurologist put me on amitriptyline for migraines. He took me off trazodone which I was taking for insomnia. I started with 10mg and worked up to 30mg which I take now. In February, my husband and I went on vacation. The trip was all inclusive so I ate three meals and desserts.

    I had wine with my meals. My weight stayed the same. After vacation, my clothes started to feel tight. When I weighed myself, I found I had gained five pounds. I have gained an additional three pounds. Also the insomnia came back. The neuro doc put me back on 50mg trazodone. I see the neuro doc next week

    My concern is that my primary doc wants me to lose weight because of high cholesterol and I am going in the wrong direction. Any advice would be appreciated.

  • Hope July 5, 2016, 11:39 pm

    I have been taking Amitriptyline for the past 7ish years. 100mg for the past 1-2 years. I was on 50mg, felt like it didn’t do anything so I went up to 100mg. I’ve gained so much weight. Im only 25 and when I started I was probably at about 130lbs. I am now 170lb. I noticed I began to crave sweets all the time, especially after eating, and I never used to be like that.

    Within the last month I began the process of getting off that and Citalopram and have already noticed a significant change in my weight. I am very surprised. My stomach area has already got smaller and I have a few stretch marks from losing weight pretty quick. Although it has helped, seeing as I’m not as nearly depressed or have as much panic attacks, I feel like the weight gain is just going to keep on.

    My only sister was murdered 9 years ago and it is unsolved and I feel the amitriptyline has helped my mood a lot. I do notice now I am starting to feel more depressed and down, but we’ll just see how it goes.

  • Sallyk July 15, 2016, 9:02 pm

    I have been taking 20mg per night for 18 months, prior to starting these tablets I had lost 50lb with weight watchers. Since starting these tablets I have gained 12 lb despite sticking to the diet, tracking everything I eat and walking where possible. Some days I have less than 500 calories and still can’t drop those extra pounds.

    I’m considering going cold turkey and stopping them. I take them for fibromyalgia and a back injury. I do appreciate the sleep but body confidence is also important for my overall wellbeing

  • Ruth August 5, 2016, 9:55 pm

    I have been on this medication for over 20 years for migraine prevention. And I have been trying to lose weight with no results. I exercise each day and eat healthy. I could not understand why I wasn’t losing weight. I never knew this was a side effect of the drug. Thanks to this article I can now make a decision on whether or not to stay on it.

  • Emily August 6, 2016, 9:26 pm

    I have been on amitriptyline for many years for mild fibromyalgia. About 15 years ago I was on 150 mg and gained 40 lbs. I was always naturally slim and in shape, so this was devastating. I weaned myself down to 10mg over a period of a few weeks, and the weight disappeared. Now, years later I am still on the 10 mg and have about 10 lbs creep slowly back over the last year or so.

    I consider myself an athlete with daily workouts and I eat a clean, unprocessed, alternative diet. I am wondering whether I should just wean completely off it. It wouldn’t take more than a couple of weeks and it’s about the only thing I can think of that might be the culprit. It also really doesn’t do much for me at this point, and I will never take a higher dose.

  • Janny August 7, 2016, 8:50 am

    I’ve been on 20mg of this medication for a year for fibromyalgia and nerve pain. I’m not able to do much exercise apart from aqua therapy and strolling with the dogs. I have put on about 5lbs over the last year and was constantly craving carbs, sweets, biscuits etc. If I bought a pkt of anything I ate the lot. Absolutely obsessed with obtaining or making sweet food every day. Recently I was invited to take part in a 6 week stress and mediation course.

    It has changed my life. Not only can I get to sleep without meds I am generally calmer even while caring for 3 family members with a disability.
    For the first time in a year I have been able to eat sensibly. Mostly vegetarian food, fruit, plain yoghurt, etc. I can’t even look at a slice of bread. I did eat 1/2 caramel slice today but felt no desire to eat the rest.

    I practice meditation with use of a CD every evening for about 30-40 minutes. I usually drift off and wake up in the morning feeling as if I’ve had a restful sleep. I put this turnaround to feeling calmer. Mostly I would buy unhealthy food when I was stressed. I am going to try and cut back from 20 mg Amitriptyline to 10mg although I may not have to as I’ve lost 4 lbs in a week. Wish me luck 😎

  • Louisa September 8, 2016, 1:33 am

    I have gone from 165 lbs to 180 lbs and have been on Elavil for more than one year. I have recently begun to lose weight very very very slowly, by calorie restriction and the use of an app.

  • Tanya Dolan September 9, 2016, 6:12 pm

    I started 10mg week then 25mg, I’m on it 3 weeks and feel bloated. My tummy is swollen – I am coming off it. My kidney pain has improved but hate the weight.

  • May Woodward September 17, 2016, 8:41 pm

    Hi. I am now getting Botox every 3 months. It is helping more than anything else. When I first started amitrip. I was on 7.5 mg and lost weight. I think it was because it actually gave me energy. I have been on it a year, staying at 135 lbs or below. I have just increased to 15 mg per night and am sleepy all the time! I also now have 2 lbs in my stomach area that is just starting to show up.

    I looked pregnant while on lyrica. I am going to try taking 15 mgs 1 night then 10 mgs the next night to see if it might help with the energy and weight gain. Waaayyyyy bummed!!!! Amitriptyline has helped me a lot. But I have started ending up in the ER for the trigeminal neuralgia I was taking it for and am now back to getting the Botox.

  • Terri Durdle September 18, 2016, 10:11 am

    I have been on amitriptyline for 6 months and have gained 25 UNWANTED pounds. I have been increased in increments to 30 mg daily.

  • Renee September 22, 2016, 2:10 am

    I have been taking 20 MG for 10 months and have gained 30 lbs in that time. My doctor prescribed this medication to prevent esophagus spasms. I have been spasm free and as a bonus suffer from a fraction of the migraines that I have had in the past. Double-edge sword though… this +30 lbs is depressing!

  • Beryl Mitchell September 27, 2016, 9:03 pm

    I have only been on low dose (10mg) amitriptyline for three months and on the plus side have slept wonderfully for the first time in my life, but the weight gain is something I can do without. I didn’t realize at first until I reviewed my weekly weight recordings, started searching for answers and found this site that amitriptyline was the problem.

    So thank you for confirmation of my suspicions. I have put on nearly 8kg (over 17lb) in 12 weeks which is disappointing having deliberately lost 21kg(46lb) to avoid getting diabetes. I eat very abstemiously & due to problems with my digestive tract eat very little sugar or starchy carbs which have to be gluten free anyway. With no car, I get plenty of exercise by cycling & walking, so apart from stopping this medication I don’t know what to do.

  • Colleen October 7, 2016, 11:18 pm

    I have been on it for about 2.5 years now. I take it for interstitial cystitis and I only need 10-15 mg a day. I am 34 and have been relatively the same weight since high school but when I started taking this I steadily put on weight over the next 2 years. I am now 15-20 pounds over my normal weight. I don’t seem to be gaining any more but the pounds are impossible to lose.

    Dieting and exercise have no effect (and I never had to do either prior to taking these pills). I now have very little motivation to exercise as I never see any results…I mean not one pound lost after working out 4 times a week for 8 months. I wish I could go off of it but if I do I have to pee about 20 times a day so prob not an option. :(

  • Annette Wiseman October 18, 2016, 2:33 am

    I have been on this medication for over 2 years and have put on 108 pounds but I can’t stand the migraines I get when I go off of this medicine. So I have to put up with being super fat..

  • Bre October 20, 2016, 7:03 am

    I too have gained unwanted weight since starting amitriptyline. I have been taking 20-30mg for ~1.5 years now for visceral hypersensitivity, and as of today have gained 25lbs. My waistline has increased by 5 inches. My stomach is really well controlled currently, but I feel like my overall health has declined because of the weight gain. I intend to try to come off the amitriptyline because of this.

  • Gayle October 22, 2016, 12:12 pm

    I just Googled weight gain and Elavil. Wow, lightbulb moment. Been on to help sleep and depression since January. I have gained 7 lbs, have insatiable appetite, especially for carbs and sweets. Obsessed with food. Needed to lose 24 lbs, now this 7 is the worst, right in belly. Asked for Seroquel which is great for sleep in small dose. MD said no, would cause weight gain… Annual exam next month, but taking self off.

  • Beverly October 24, 2016, 6:17 pm

    I have been on 25 mg of amitriptyline for 5 months and this has helped tremendously with my neck pain. It also helps me sleep soundly. However I have severe cravings for sugars, carbs and food in general. I awake at night and find myself going to the refrigerator to satiate my hunger.

    I run regularly but still my cravings and weight gain continue. I have now stopped this drug and the pain has returned. I plan to go back to my doctor for a review.

  • Renae November 21, 2016, 10:07 am

    I’ve been taking Endep 25mg for 8 months now for anxiety related IBS and have gained 20kg!! I put this down to decrease in exercise but I couldn’t understand my ferocious appetite, I can eat a very decent meal and a short time later I’m hungry again and I crave carbs and sugar all the time.

    I recently made a very real effort to lose weight but ended up putting more on, it was after this that I started to research the drug. I intend on slowly weening myself off as my depression and anxiety over my weight gain far outweighs any benefits.

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