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Nortriptyline Withdrawal Symptoms + Duration

Nortriptyline (Pamelor) is a tricyclic antidepressant that is commonly used as a second-line treatment for major depression.  It is also sometimes prescribed for conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome, bedwetting in children, migraine headaches, and neuropathic pain.  The drug may also be effective for some individuals in managing symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

This drug functions primarily as an SNRI, inhibiting the reuptake of both serotonin and norepinephrine.  By inhibiting the reuptake of these neurotransmitters, extracellular levels of these neurotransmitters increase, and a person’s mood (or other condition) improves.  Nortriptyline has the greatest affinity for the norepinephrine transporter (NET) – meaning it affects norepinephrine more than serotonin.

It also elicits effects on histamine and serotonin, but less than 3-4 times that of norepinephrine.  While many people get benefit from taking Nortriptyline, some people find that the side effects are too difficult to handle or that the drug isn’t providing them with enough benefit.  In these cases, a person may want to discontinue or withdraw from their medication.  Unfortunately, there are often uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms that ensue upon dose-reduction and/or full discontinuation.

Factors that influence Nortriptyline withdrawal

There are several factors that will influence withdrawal from Nortriptyline including: time span over which you took the drug, your dosage, how quickly you tapered, and other individual lifestyle factors (i.e. stress level, sleep duration, social support, etc.).  It is these factors that are responsible for different symptoms and withdrawal durations among those that quit.

1. Time Span

How long were you taking Nortriptyline?  Those that were taking it for years are likely going to experience more noticeable withdrawals than those who were taking it for a few weeks or months.  The longer the term over which you’ve been taking it, the more your physiology will have adapted to the effect of the drug.

It will now expect to receive the drug for increased production of neurotransmitters like norepinephrine and serotonin.  Furthermore, long-term users tend to increase their dose over time due to loss of efficacy (as a result of tolerance), making it tougher to discontinue.  Short-term and moderate term users will still likely experience symptoms, but they should be less pronounced than those using the drug for an extended period.

2. Dosage (25 mg to 150 mg)

The maximum recommended daily dose for Nortriptyline is 150 mg.  Most people are taking smaller doses at multiple times per day (e.g. 50 mg twice per day).  Teens aged 13 to 18 taking the drug are not recommended to exceed 50 mg per day.  The dosage that you’ve been taking will likely dictate the degree to which your neurotransmitters and neural activity is altered as a result of the drug.

Those that take a high dose, especially for an extended period of time are likely going to face more severe withdrawals than those taking a lower dose.  This is why it is recommended to always take the minimal effective dose.  Many people don’t understand that there’s no biological free lunch from these drugs; the greater the effect (usually dictated by dose) the greater the consequences.

3. Cold turkey vs. Tapering

If you quit Nortriptyline “cold turkey” or abruptly without conducting a taper, you’re going to experience more severe withdrawals than tapering.  Discontinuing cold turkey from any medication, especially a high dose, usually results in the most severe withdrawals.  If you’ve been taking a high dose for an extended period of time, it is never recommended to quit cold turkey.

Quitting cold turkey may shock your nervous system, leading to a longer, more protracted withdrawal as your physiology scrambles to make changes.  Although tapering off of Nortriptyline may require more time and patience, it allows your physiology to gradually adapt to reductions in dosing.  Symptoms tend to be noticeably less severe with a gradual taper than cold turkey.

If you want to taper, it is recommended to reduce your dosage at a rate of 10% per month.  If you are able to tolerate 10% easily, then you could increase the speed to 15% or 20% – but proceed with caution.  If 10% seems like too quick of a taper, you can adjust and go with 5-10% reductions for awhile.  Do whatever works best for you, realizing that you are going to inevitably experience some symptoms.

4. Individual variation

Most people fail to understand that one person’s experience discontinuing Nortriptyline may be radically different compared to theirs.  This is due to numerous individual factors such as: genetics, lifestyle, stress level, sleep quality/quantity, whether the person is taking any supplements, social support, and other medications that a person may be taking.  If you are taking medications and/or supplements, these may buffer or mask withdrawal symptoms from Nortriptyline.

Some people may also have more favorable genetics that allow them to adapt more quickly upon withdrawal from this medication.  Those that eat nutritious foods, engage in exercise, get sunlight each day, have social support, get proper sleep, are taking supplements, and staying busy tend to recover quicker from withdrawals than those who engage in unhealthy activities (e.g. smoking, drinking, staying up all night, etc.).

Nortriptyline Withdrawal Symptoms: List of Possibilities

Keep in mind that discontinuation symptoms resulting from Nortriptyline (Pamelor) will differ in both quantity and severity based on the individual.  Therefore it isn’t recommended to compare your symptoms to others.  Most common symptoms from Nortriptyline withdrawal include: dizziness, fatigue, irritability, and nausea.

  • Anger: Many people will notice that they experience anger upon discontinuation.  This may be due to lack of serotonin and/or norepinephrine to keep them mentally alert.  The anger may be minor and transitory or severe and long-lasting.  Do your best to productively cope with the anger when it surfaces by exercising, deep breathing, etc.
  • Appetite changes: Some people end up experiencing a drop in appetite while taking Nortriptyline due to the fact that it can be stimulatory.  The norepinephrine increase while taking the medication may decrease appetite.  When a person discontinues, they may gain back some of the weight they lost while taking the medication.  Vice versa also applies (those that gained weight on the med tend to lose weight when they discontinue).
  • Cognitive impairment: If the medication helped you focus, organize your thoughts, or memories, you may experience the exact opposite when you discontinue.  Many people report a mild degree of cognitive impairment from dosage reductions or quitting the drug.  It can take awhile for the neurotransmission to stabilize and norepinephrine and serotonin stores to increase and cognition to normalize.
  • Crying spells: Many people discontinue this drug and notice that they feel more depressed than ever.  In part, this could be due to dealing with a temporary antidepressant-induced chemical imbalance.  The chemical imbalance results in depressive feelings, emotional sensitivity, and an increased likelihood of crying spells.  You may feel overly emotional about things that would’ve never made you cry in the past.
  • Depersonalization: You may feel as if you are disconnected from your true or authentic self.  It may feel as if you are a spectator in your own body or are perceiving your experience from an outside perspective.  Almost as if an alien has captured your soul and you have become a robot.  This is common to experience during withdrawal and will not be permanent.  I’ve found that this may be more common among dual-reuptake inhibitors (those affecting both noradrenergic and serotonergic functioning).
  • Depression: The depression that you experience during withdrawal may be a result of neurotransmitter chaos that ensues upon discontinuation, but it may also be a result of your original depressive symptoms.  Most people experience a compounding of their depression when quitting an antidepressant – leading them to feel worse than prior to taking the drug.  Fortunately the severity lessens over time.
  • Diarrhea: Those taking the drug may experience constipation as a side effect, and upon discontinuation, a person may end up with diarrhea.  While this may not be as common of a withdrawal symptoms as others, it is still worth mentioning.
  • Dizziness: Among the most common symptoms of Nortriptyline withdrawal is that of dizziness.  Nearly all antidepressants result in dizziness when discontinued, especially if you quit cold turkey.  Those that quit cold turkey (especially from a high dose) will likely end up with more extreme dizziness.  Do your best to cope with feeling dizzy and realize that it is a common withdrawal symptom.
  • Fatigue: Since this drug is considered stimulatory and activating, especially at high doses, you may experience the polar opposite of high energy when you discontinue.  This means you may feel fatigued, have low energy, and chronic lethargy.  To cope with this symptom, push yourself to do even mundane tasks like cleaning the house, going for a walk, etc.  Over time the fatigue will improve, but it does take time.
  • Flu-like symptoms: It may feel similar to having the flu when you quit taking this drug, especially if you quit cold turkey.  This means you may notice that you’re sweating, feeling nauseous, have a headache, feel dizzy, and may end up vomiting.  Realize that just like the actual flu, it takes time for your body to heal.
  • Headaches: Another highly common withdrawal symptom that has been reported is that of headaches.  You may experience more pronounced headaches if you discontinue cold turkey and/or from a high dosage.  Stay hydrated, get plenty of rest, and try to engage in relaxation exercises as headaches are often exacerbated by tension and anxiety.
  • Insomnia: For some individuals, Nortriptyline helped them get good sleep at night.  Although the drug is activating, at certain doses it can affect histamine, which may help some people fall asleep at night.  When the drug is stripped away or reduced in dosage, a person may end up dealing with insomnia.  Various supplements like melatonin can be used to help combat this symptom.
  • Irritability: Many people become irritable when they’ve fully discontinued this drug.  It is difficult to cope with irritability as a result of withdrawal due to the fact that it is caused by neurotransmitter alterations.  Assuming you are taking good care of yourself with diet, sleep, and supplements, the irritability should fade; expect gradual improvements.
  • Lightheadedness: You may start to feel lightheaded throughout the day when you first begin withdrawal.  The lightheadedness may be related to changes in blood flow, neurotransmission, and/or adjustments taking place in the nervous system.  Realize that over time, the lightheadedness will improve.
  • Mood swings: During withdrawal, it is common to feel exceptionally moody and have unpredictable moods.  One moment you may find yourself feeling angry, the next extremely depressed, and the next you may feel hopeful.  Realize that you may not be able to predict how you’re going to feel, but the rocky emotional “waves” should become calmer as time continues to pass.
  • Muscle pain: This is a drug that can be taken to help a person cope with muscle pain, joint pain, neuropathic pain, and other low-grade pain.  If you were taking it to help with pain, you may notice that the original pain returns and/or worsens upon withdrawal.  Even if you weren’t taking it to treat pain, you may experience some soreness as your body readjusts to functioning without this drug.
  • Nausea: It is very common to experience profound nausea when you quit taking Nortriptyline.  This nausea may reduce your appetite or make you feel sick all day.  In some extreme cases, it may actually lead to vomiting.  Realize that the nausea will gradually fade in intensity over time, but will not improve overnight.
  • Restlessness: You may find yourself unable to sit still, have pent up physical energy, and you may think that it’s impossible to relax during withdrawal.  When you experience the restlessness, it is best to avoid resisting it, rather work with the energy.  If you feel restless, make yourself go for a walk, ride your bike, or clean the house.  Usually when we resist the restlessness is when it worsens.
  • Sleep disturbances: Most people experienced sleep changes upon taking Nortriptyline, and when they discontinue, other sleep changes take place.  If this drug helped you sleep, you may have a difficult time sleeping during withdrawal.  If you weren’t able to sleep much while using the drug, you may find yourself sleeping in excess during withdrawal.
  • Suicidal thoughts: For many people, returning depressive symptoms and a withdrawal symptoms lead a person to feel hopeless and experience suicidal thoughts.  If you become suicidal, it is recommended to seek out professional help in coping with these thoughts.  A psychotherapist is usually your best bet.  Understand that increased suicidal thinking is common during withdrawal.
  • Sweating: Discontinuing any antidepressant medication often results in excessive sweating.  You may find yourself sweating more throughout the day or wake up in the middle of the night covered in a thick vat of sweat.  Understand that some sweating is a means by which your body is detoxifying itself from the drug.
  • Vomiting: In extreme cases, those that experience nausea may end up vomiting as a result.  Nausea is a very common withdrawal symptom, and often precedes vomiting.  If you cannot help vomiting, realize that it probably won’t be a long-lasting symptom.  To minimize the likelihood that you’ll vomit, conduct a gradual taper.
  • Weight gain: Some people end up losing weight from Nortriptyline as a result of its stimulatory effect.  This means that their metabolism speeds up, they have a reduced appetite, and are more energetic while taking the drug.  Upon discontinuation, you may end up gaining some of the weight back that you lost while on the drug.

Note #1: On average, nortriptyline stays in your system for nearly 6 days post-discontinuation.  However, in some cases, it may linger for a longer duration (up to 21 days in certain users).  Differences in plasma elimination of nortriptyline and its 10-OH-NT metabolites, usually result from CYP2D6 expression.  As a result, there are interindivdiual differences in the onset times of withdrawal symptoms and their severity.

Note #2: Understand that you may experience discontinuation symptoms that may not have been mentioned above.  If you would like to report another symptom that you’re certain is from withdrawal, share it in the comments section below.

Nortriptyline Withdrawal Duration: How long does it last?

Everyone wants to know exactly how long withdrawal from Nortriptyline will last.  The problem with giving a specific answer is that it may be accurate for one person, but grossly inaccurate for another.  One person’s withdrawal may take 2 weeks, while another person’s may take 2 months.  A third person may end up experiencing post-acute withdrawals that last for 6 months.

Much of the withdrawal duration has to do with the factors mentioned above such as: time span and dosing.  A person who took the drug for 10 years at the highest dose will likely have more pronounced withdrawal symptoms than someone who took the drug for 3 months at the lowest dose.  It is important to avoid getting caught up in “how long” symptoms will last and instead focus on doing what you can (what’s in your power) each day to expedite recovery.

As a rule of thumb, I recommend waiting at least 90 days (3 months) before judging as to whether you’ve improved in these symptoms.  Yes 90 days is quite awhile, but that’s how long it can take before the severe symptoms start to fade.  Recovery may be expedited if you are getting proper sleep, eating healthy, taking the right supplements, staying busy, socializing when possible, and getting sunlight.

Have you experienced Nortriptyline withdrawal?

If you’ve been through Nortriptyline withdrawal or are currently in the process of discontinuing this drug, feel free to share your experience in the comments section below.  Understand that by sharing your experience, you may help someone who is going through something similar.  To help others get a better understanding of the specifics, you may want to share the dose from which you discontinued, how long you were on the drug, and other symptoms that may not have been mentioned above.

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{ 79 comments… add one }
  • James B May 5, 2015, 4:29 pm

    I definitely experienced protracted Nortrip withdrawal from a very small dose. Nortrip has a reputation for not having significant withdrawal, especially in comparison to other tricyclics or the SSRIs/SNRIs. Nortrip’s withdrawal is somewhat delayed due to the longer half-life and I didn’t start to feel withdrawal symptoms until after a week after discontinuation. It took me more than a month before I even felt like I was improving. It was more like two months before I felt like I was back to baseline though.

    • Cynthi August 24, 2015, 1:17 pm

      James, Would you share what your dose was and how long you had taken it? I’m experiencing dizziness and body soreness and surely hope that leaves in less than two months! I was taking only 10mg at night and for about 5 years. Thanks for sharing!

    • Natalia December 5, 2015, 6:29 am

      My doctor said I could stop cold turkey, but I was hesitant and down half a pill and then to nothing in a week. I was only on 10mg and was only been on it for a few weeks. But like you, the side effects seem to have kicked in just under a week later! Really drowsy, bouts of confusion, trouble sleeping at night, anxiety. Oh my god I feel like a complete mess!

  • Teresa Smith June 4, 2015, 11:15 pm

    I am going through discontinuation of nortriptyline, which I took about 15 years. I was on 70 mg. I’ve had a rough time with nausea and headaches. It all started about 3 months ago. The doctor halved the dose and put me on a new drug at the same time. The new drug I couldn’t take and he changed me to another. I’m back on nortriptyline, 30 mg, still insomnia and nausea! Its been brutal. I hope it gets better soon. Have lost 12 lbs that I didn’t have to lose because I’m already very thin.

    • MJ January 21, 2016, 11:32 pm

      Hi Teresa, I’m going through something similar right now. I was on nortriptyline 50 mg for 5 years for migraine, and then tapered myself off (maybe too fast) about 6 weeks ago. Four days later, I started feeling pretty nauseous and then it just got worse and worse. It’s been over 5 weeks and my nausea/body aches have been so bad I can barely eat. I’ve too lost 10 pounds. I got back on 25mg of nortriptyline about 12 days ago thinking that would alleviate some of it, but unfortunately it has not. How long did it take for your nausea to pass? Thanks!

  • Kate M August 25, 2015, 3:12 am

    Cynthi, I was taking ‘only’ 10mg a day too, for about 4 years, and the worst of the physical withdrawal symptoms seem to have faded after 2 months, but still experiencing fatigue and some kind of weird depression that I’ve never had before – and this is now about 4-5 months after. I really hope it goes away. Wish I’d never taken it.

    • Joe September 8, 2015, 6:08 am

      What kind of depression? I am taking 10 mg a night for anxiety and dizziness I had a few years ago; two or three if I remember correctly. I want to quit taking it because of weight gain. I eat healthier, walk to school, and run every Sunday, but I still am overweight.

  • Carol September 8, 2015, 6:25 pm

    I took nortriptyline for about one month for migraines, starting with 10 mg, moving up to 20 the second week and 30 for the following two weeks. I had at least 6 side effects I couldn’t live with and only a mild reductions in the number of weekly migraines, so I began reducing the dose. First I dropped to 20 mg, then in a week back to 10 and the next week to 0. I didn’t realize my withdrawal should have been MUCH slower!

    I’ve had very severe headaches, some shakiness and mild nausea. I added back 5 mg daily, but have continued to have bad headaches daily for the past two weeks. I must be very sensitive to this drug! I really don’t want to increase the dosage to ease the withdrawal, because the side effects will return, but this withdrawal is miserable. Any advice from anyone who has gone through this would be appreciated!

  • Cindy September 11, 2015, 12:35 pm

    I have been taking Nortriptyline for 3 months, 25 mg at night to help with pain and sleep. I am much better so I told the doctor I wanted to stop taking this medication. I asked him about weaning off of it, he said I could just stop, no need for weaning. I stopped 2 days ago. Today I feel a little nauseated-could this be the beginning of the withdrawal? I am nervous that my doctor did not give me the correct advice about slowly withdrawing.

    • Ethan February 6, 2016, 9:56 pm

      Cindy, I have just recently had a very similar experience. I was on Pamelor (Nortriptyine) 25mg every morning for situational depression/anxiety. I quit after three weeks because I couldn’t handle the side effects. About the third day into my withdrawal, the nausea was really prominent. My fourth and fifth days were the worst. I’m about a week out now and I can eat solid foods again.

      My sleep pattern is still messed up and my nerves feel a little shot, but I believe the worst is behind me. Diarreha is still a noticeable side effect (probably my body adjusting to digesting solid food off of the medication). Water and keeping my self as low stressed as possible seem to be the key. Please let me know if your experience is similar and how long your withdraw effects lasted.

      • Kathy February 19, 2016, 4:22 am

        I was taking 10mg for about 3 weeks. My doctor wanted me off Paxil and to try Nortriptyline for anxiety, migraines, and sleep issues. The doctor gave me no instructors to ween off Paxil (which I did half a pill for a few days); he wanted me to start Nortriptyline immediately. I started having side effects right away.

        Dry mouth in the morning and would last all day no matter how much water I drank. My tongue felt numb and things tasted strange. I started having really weird dreams. I also had foggy brain feeling and a migraine that lasted 3 days. I felt worse on it, so I went cold turkey. I immediately felt/still feel lightheaded, dizzy, more cognitively impaired, thirsty all the time, and the ringing in my ears is louder and constant.

        I have only been off of it for 6 days and hope it gets better soon. I didn’t think I was on it long enough to have a withdrawal, but I am glad that I stopped taking this now. I never had this severe of side effects or withdrawal with other meds. I hope this withdrawal clears up soon. I want to feel and hear normally again!

  • Fran September 13, 2015, 7:04 pm

    I am 41 and was taking Nortriptyline for IBS. Was prescribed 25mg the first week then take two 25 mg the next. I was taking 50mg for year and a half. It was a miracle drug for that the mild side effects was nothing compared to the IBS. Then about a year or more I had a mental breakdown. Delusional, angry, could not stop crying for a solid week. I thought I was possessed. And that’s when I really started to do some research on the drug . There was a long list of symptoms I had. Had to ask a different Dr how to wean myself off of them and she didn’t know and she wanted to know the website I found what info I did get.

    So I had guess and hope it worked, I cut the dose in half for a week then stopped all together. I stopped taking Nortriptyline altogether over 2 months ago, I am still experiencing some mental issues off and on . Can’t sleep and my legs are hurting all the time, headaches. I wished I would have found this web site before I stopped taking the drug. Hopping it don’t take a year to get over it. Don’t know if my husband is going to be able to handle my mental instability. Wished I would have never taken this drug. Will start doing a more thorough research on any med I am or my family are prescribed.

  • Rachel September 16, 2015, 8:01 pm

    I had been taking 10mg a night for about 7 months and about 2 months ago I decided to start weening myself off. I am down to taking 10mg every 3 days and this week I will cut down to every 4 days. I am definitely feeling side effects. I am so nauseous and I have terrible headaches. Also I am having a hard time sleeping at night but I don’t feel like doing anything at all. I told my husband that if I start acting like a nut job to slip some nyquil in my drink haha. I just hope that these symptoms quit soon after I get off of these things for good. I can barely stand it.

  • Stacie September 18, 2015, 6:00 pm

    I’ve been on and off nortriptyline for 20 years! The most recent times I got off 30mg, I did it 10mg at a time and was off in a month or so. Both times I ended up with crippling anxiety a few months later. I was going through stressful times as well but I now believe the anxiety was related to improper withdrawal. I watched the Mental Wellness Summit online a month ago and learned a ton about psychiatric medications and believe I can get off them if I can find a professional to support me – and help with ordering from a compounding pharmacy.

    Unfortunately, I just went to a ‘holistic’ practice this week and was told the standard – 2 or more depressive episodes and you have to be medicated for life. It makes me furious! This was a youngster 2 years out of school. She told me just to get off them the same way I had before or open the capsules and portion out the dust! When I mentioned concern about the additives being problematic for me she just shrugged it off and said there was nothing that could be done about that.

    I suppose she’s not familiar with compounding pharmacies?!?! This article is the first thing I’ve found with recommendations for properly titrating. Now I just need to find some way to do it!!! Good luck everyone!

  • Tom Wallace September 30, 2015, 1:29 pm

    I took Nortrip (25mg x2 each night) for 5 years then the Dr. put me on another med for a different ailment (neuropathy in the feet) and stopped me cold turkey on Nortrip five months ago. Still having super pain all around the rib cage upon rising from bed and the rest of the day the pain is gone but I have very irritable mood swings during the day and sometimes very angry.

    I don’t enjoy going out in public much any more and just spend a lot of time on my ham radios and doing a lot of small woodwork in my shop. I used to enjoy travel and camping but now a beautiful motor home sits in the carport. The Dr. says its the nortrip withdrawal and the symptoms will ease up eventualy. 5 months now!?!?

  • Margie October 2, 2015, 6:31 pm

    I took Amitriptyline for severe restless leg syndrome for 5 years, and was then switched to 100 mg of Nortriptyline (plus 3 other drugs) 31 years ago for RLS. A year ago I endured 9 straight weeks- day and night- of severe nausea when I tried to go off of it. And it was a gradual, 10% reduction attempt. At my age (78), I don’t know if another attempt is even worth it, especially since I have so few choices for RLS treatment because of a sensitivity to dopamine. None of the other drugs I take for RLS are probably very safe either, though I haven’t taken any of them for as long as Nortriptyline.

  • Jessika October 2, 2015, 7:43 pm

    I was put on 200mg of nortrip, have been for almost 8 years. The doctor has me going down 50mg a week. I’m on day 4 and have had a massive migraine to the point of seeing spots, I’m nauseous and just so sick. I hope this passes quicker rather than later. I was put in something else in replace of the nortrip and was told withdrawal would be minimum due to that. This doesn’t seem minimal to me :(

    • Tristan October 26, 2015, 9:59 am

      For having been on it for that long you should be tapering a lot slower, around 10% each few weeks.

  • Terri Love October 8, 2015, 4:27 pm

    I have only been on Nortrip for almost a month as a last resort after trying almost every other antidepressant available. I started with 25mg for 2 weeks then 50mg for 4 days then 75mg for 4 days. Still no relief at all with the depression and too many side-effects. Its actually difficult to swallow because my mouth is so dry, etc… My pharmacists said to just stop the meds since its only been about a month. Any opinions? My doc sent me an email that said to go slow but I don’t have any lower dosages left and she isn’t responding to me to get a lower dose. Thanks.

  • David October 8, 2015, 5:54 pm

    I’ve been on Nortriptyline for 15 years. There were a few times that we tried to increase the dose beyond 50mgs and it always ended badly, anger flashes (really upsetting because I’m a really mild sort of guy). So the med was almost always a junior partner to other ADs – my trail of tears; so many different ‘next gen’ drugs that took me out for a spin. I ended up on another old drug, serzone @ 500mgs per day. Oh, and Deplin, which is an irritatingly expensive pharmafood (not scrutinized by the fda so closely) but helps as an augmentation.

    I’ll be brief here. 5 years ago I had failed surgery on my spine and now chronic pain (5 or 6 on the smiley chart). So I’m on two missions, manage depression and finding a pain med that won’t turn my once beautiful mind into fat cells. The cheap ones are always the worst. I found Nucynta, a drug that manages to spare my brain but at a dosage no one likes. I went on to Nucynta ER because it offered a steadier ride across the peaks and troughs of pain. Halcyon Days! Not really. It seriously crossed into my psych problems (it has a few of the AD attributes), and I found myself with frighteningly clear ideation.

    Anyone still reading? I dropped back to standard Nucynta and we increased my serzone. The crisis passed and I’m stable again but wanting to dial back the ADs. I don’t want to norm at this level of medication in case it happens again and I’m raised even higher. The Dr thinks the serzone is the active partner so we’re reducing the Nortriptyline 50% last week and 50% next. I think the 2nd phase might wait cos it’s not going well.

    I wake every 90 mins exasperated at how slow the night is moving. I end up out of bed in the early hours (no sleep is bad for me). I spend the day trying to “get moving” but look like I’m sat somewhere shuffling ideas around. It’s like I have limited control over what I do. I keep telling myself it’ll pass eventually but so too will my life and I really want to live some more before then. I feel like I’m hooked on antidepressants and like all addicts, the solution is the problem. God helps me but he’s busy right now.

  • Leslie October 11, 2015, 4:18 pm

    Oh, gosh, I am so glad to be here with people who understand. I have been taking Nortriptyline 75 mg at night for more than 15-20 years. My doctor and I agreed to discontinue it, and over a few weeks, I have gone to 50 mg, then 25 mg, then off completely. I am so nauseous, I can’t stand it. Dizzy, can’t sleep well, headache, itchy. Just feeling absolutely miserable. I had so body aches, I thought I was on a death spiral.

    My doctor thought adding back 25 mg at night, would help the pain. I think it did. I am now irritable, angry, so tired all the time, plus getting depressed again. Suicidal thoughts are back, too. This all feels absolutely horrendous. Thank you for listening, I know you all understand. HELP!!

    • Eric November 25, 2015, 4:13 pm

      Why did you discontinue it to begin with?

  • Ian L Jamieson November 1, 2015, 2:07 pm

    I’ve had polyneuropathy for nearly twenty years, and during that time have been on amitriptyline, gabentin (neurontin), and for the past four or five years, nortriptyline. The latter has been particularly effective, but in the past year has caused slight double incontinence which is very embarrassing. My GP suggested that I should reduce the nortriptyline from my base dose of 50mg daily, to 25mg, or less. Well, like a fool I dropped to 25mg for a week, and then 12.5mg for the past four weeks.

    A few days ago I was ill with a virus, and whether this triggered it I don’t know, but two nights ago I simply could not sleep and was shaking and kicking out, and eventually got to sleep for an hour at 6.00am. Felt awful the following day but eventually calmed down in time for bed with a mixture of nortriptyline, co-codamol, and baclofen I slept like a top, of course, but am a bit spaced out today. Now, I know about withdrawal symptoms because I got myself off Valium after taking the stuff for 21 years. But this was something else, and I would say, far worse. So the lesson is – taper it down very gently.

  • Jessica November 1, 2015, 2:33 pm

    I’ve been taking 25 mg of Nortriptyline for the past seven years for stomach seizures. I’ve been wanting to go off of it for several years, but finally made the decision to quit cold turkey five days ago. I don’t recommend going cold turkey by the way. It’s pretty miserable. I’ve experienced sudden mood changes consisting of being happy, angry, and depressed. I had a pretty ridiculous crying spell the other night.

    I’ve had a constant headache. I feel incredibly dehydrated even though I’m downing water like it’s my job. I feel sluggish and tired, but I’m having trouble sleeping. Lots of nausea in the mornings, and so far, only one episode of vomiting. I’m looking forward to getting this drug out of my system!

  • Janice November 2, 2015, 2:22 pm

    I have been taking 100mg a day since 2009 for a chronic pain condition. The side effects of the drug are very bad, so I just stopped cold turkey. The withdrawal is very bad also. I feel like I have the flu and I have a very short temper, but I know I will get through soon.

  • Ocaladee November 3, 2015, 12:02 am

    Have to get off 20 mg Nort because my memory problems and weight gain. However am having severe gut pain on the right side. I eat no sugar, dairy or gluten so my eating is very basic due to food allergies and weight gain.

    • Jessica Metzger October 12, 2016, 4:05 am

      Hi, started nortriptyline year and a half ago at 20 mg, thought it was the best thing ever. Finally I slept, and no pain and not waking up every night to urinate and then unable to sleep for hours. A year later at 50 MG and 15 lb weight gain and constant dry mouth the symptoms I took it for slowly and steadily began coming back.

      On the bottle it says to take 1 or 2 pills at bedtime. I decided to cut back to one, 25 MG pill a couple weeks ago. That’s when the anger outbursts and crying episodes began. I thought it was due to my menses occurring and bring 43 now – peri menopausal. Then my husband did not realize he needed to pick up my prescription when at Target and I ran out of pills and did not have time to get pharmacy.

      Was immobilized by sinus/face pain, nausea, weakness the days later. Then I sent my husband to refill the prescription the next day, the prescription had expired. So now it’s at the pharmacy and it’s day 7, I think and I am incredibly sick, in acute pain and experiencing insomnia. My pain feels worse than ever. I thought I had a sinus infection and a simultaneous digestion virus. Now I know what’s happening – withdrawal.

      Also my doctor and I have corresponded over my symptoms and I just did a sleep study. The day after I ran out of pills. And I had started 400 MG of SAM-E 30 days ago to help improve my condition. Ran out of that and my probiotics. I will be getting those and my prescription tomorrow AM. Also on a dairy, corn free, gluten free diet and take several supplements, some prescribe by Dr: D, B12, calcium, B-complex, iron, Emergen-C…

      I walk and meditate and am a psychotherapist. I have a lot fortitude yet these withdrawal symptoms knocked me of my game big time! I will be resuming my 50 MG dose and consulting with my doctor. I an worried that add since that dose already became ineffective, I will increase and side effects will increase. Considering withdrawing but now am more informed…

  • Glen November 4, 2015, 7:53 am

    Hi all. I am currently in the process of weaning off Nortriptyline I was originally on 120mgs, but started recently reducing from a 90mg dose, by reducing 10mg every three days. I am on day five and I am not sleeping, feeling very fatigued and am extremely irritable. This drug was prescribed for anxiety and but gave me dreadful side effects.

    I have tried so many, medications, but none have helped like Avanza – perhaps my next and last choice, however the weight gain is horrific. Hope my information has helped others and I have to wonder whether the Seroquel withdrawal I also face soon, will be as painful as the Nortriptyline withdrawal I am dealing with now.

    • Aggie November 18, 2015, 11:00 am

      Hi Glen you need to go way way much slower with the withdrawal like 5 mg every two weeks. It will take along time but by doing it very slowly you won’t get the side effects. Good luck!

  • Saltanat November 17, 2015, 1:44 am

    Been on med for the past year, 50 mg/ day, prescribed for migraine. I noticed that I start having cardiac dysrhythmias, very bad once too, HR was jumping from 80 to 170 in two seconds, up to 20 times a day, the most terrifying feeling I ever experienced. After reading that medication may cause orthostatic hypotension and cardiac issues I decided to stop cold turkey. I am without medication day 7, migraine is back, I will grade 6/10, nauseous, very tired and sensitive to loud sounds, irritated but I think this is due to the headache. Willing to wait more.

  • Haleigh November 17, 2015, 3:39 am

    Tricyclics are actually closer to SSRI’s and don’t inhibit norepinephrine reuptake.

    • DGray February 18, 2016, 4:42 pm

      Yes it does. See: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nortriptyline. Under Pharmacology – “NET” is the Norepinephrine Transporter and it has a relatively high binding affinity for it. That is why Nortriptyline exerts such negative effects in cardiac & thyroid patients & can cause arrhythmias.

  • Angel November 18, 2015, 3:49 pm

    I was put on this medication to see if my nerve pain could be related to Fibromyalgia (?). Was only on it for about 3 weeks and had to stop cold turkey because of the side effects of being on it (felt like I was going to pass out all the time, had that flushed feeling you get, dizziness, etc). I noticed 3 days after stopping that the pain I was using it for is back and worse then ever :(. Headed to the doctor today and hoping to get something that helps me.

  • Cara Evans November 23, 2015, 10:35 pm

    Been on this now for 5 years to help with pain, I went right up to 150mg a day. I gradually brought my dosage down to 25mg and had no problems doing this, and had no side affects or withdrawal symptoms. But last week my GP prescribed me a 10mg (at my request) and I’ve felt so poorly! Feel like I have the flu along with aches and chills, hot and cold sweats, and feeling sick! Would never off touched this drug if I’d known then what I know now.

  • Scott B November 30, 2015, 3:24 pm

    I have been on Nortriptyline for over 6 years for depression. I was taking 120 mg for at least 5 years and dropped to 100 mg after a routine blood test showed my level were too high. My PCP has decided to take me off of this medication as I was having a very difficult time voiding. I started tapering off by taking 75 mg for 1 week, 50 mg for second week and 25 mg for the third. The withdrawal has been very tough.

    I wake every hour on the hour. I am between having energy I don’t know what to do with and so exhausted, I can’t think straight. My eyes burn as if I were in a swimming pool for hours with my eyes open under water. I have notice I’m angry and irritable with little patients regarding all aspects of my life. Suicide thoughts are strong, although I know I have so much to live for already surviving a severe heart attack a year and a half ago.

    I don’t know what to do with myself, I’ve been pushing myself to walk and keep active but all I want to do is take a magical pill and hibernate like a bear until this nightmare is over. I wonder if I should be taking a supplement but I worry since I am already taking too many medications for both my depression and heart health. I am still on Lexapro 20 mg and Lithium 300 mg 2x a day. My PCP says these are all I need to take. Why PCP and not Psychiatrist?

    My Psychiatrist got out of personal practice since it was too cost prohibited. I haven’t been able to find a new Psychiatrist that is taking new patients. The world wonders why so many mental health patients go off the deep end! I know I rambling but in some sick way it is actually making me feel better. I hope the symptoms fade soon as I wouldn’t wish this upon anyone and for those of you that have succeeded, you’re my inspiration!

  • Denise November 30, 2015, 9:52 pm

    Hello fellow Nortriptyline users? Or should I say, victims?? I have been on 50 mg at night for approx 2 years. Prescribed for chronic pain due from a condition called Chiari, for which I had brain surgery for 5 years ago. I do have to say that the nortriptyline did help with the chronic head pain. So six months ago, I thought I would go cold turkey because I was feeling better, I was just dealing with the side effects.

    Mistake!! All of the severe symptoms arose in 2 days. Thought I could “tough it out” for a week or two. Many of you know exactly what I was feeling and going through. I found that I could not. So I went back on it. Withdrawal symptoms went away and I was feeling better. I was back dealing with the side effects like constipation, dry mouth, etc for which I wanted to discontinue taking it in the first place. So now I am going to try to wean myself SLOWLY.

    Thanks to this site and all of your stories. I decreased to 40mgs, and will stay there for a week, maybe two. I can’t handle another bout of severe withdrawals. I pray my headaches don’t come back, because if they do, I will be a slave to this drug. Wish me luck! I will try and post next week with results. Thank you for your stories. They are sad but were helpful and most of all, hopeful.

  • mick December 4, 2015, 11:20 pm

    I’ve been on allegron for over a year now 100mg per night. I have taken it on my own bat to go off this drug. I have been going through depression since I was 9 years old , I am now 53. I hope I am not making a mistake but I am over taking pills every day. I’m on day 3 since I stopped taking the drug and am really struggling to get a good night sleep.

    My heart is racing, my head is buzzing. I hope I will improve each day. The thought of being a slave to a drug is why I am doing this. I have not told anyone I am doing this even my counselor or doctor or my family. I guess I want to see if they notice any changes in me. I hope I can get through this.

  • Bill December 12, 2015, 8:22 pm

    I was only taking about 20mg on a daily basis for about 2 months. Constipation was a side effect for me, but not too severe. It was prescribed to me for prostrate pain. It had little or no effect. I quit cold turkey… and now close to 2 weeks after I have: stomach pain, flatulence, and diarrhea. Should I expect this to go away soon?

  • So Sick December 22, 2015, 2:24 pm

    I’ve been on it for about 10 years or so for migraine headaches. I was having severe migraines at least twice a week when I started the med. I ran out over the weekend and should have gone to the pharmacy for the three or four grace pills they’ll give. But I didn’t think it was a big deal – maybe I’d get a headache. Today I feel like death. I feel like I have the flu. My cheeks are red like I have a fever.

    I have awful nausea. My whole body is one big tremor. I just want to go home and go to bed. My doc called in the prescription this morning. I’ll pick it up at lunch – if I can last that long at work. This is horrible. I honestly thought a day or two wouldn’t matter. Does this mean I’m addicted? I feel horrible.

  • Melissa Jajko January 19, 2016, 5:51 pm

    I tapered myself off of nortriptyline 50mg about 6 weeks ago. During the tapering, I didn’t decrease the dosage I just decreased the frequency (50mg everyday, to every other day, to every 2 days). Four days after my last pill, I started feeling very nauseous and 5.5 weeks later, it is still there.

    It’s awful. I have no appetite and feel nauseous pretty much all day long. Of course I’m searching for answers as to what is going on. I’ve tried prescription anti-nausea pills as well as stomach pills, but they didn’t work. I got back on 25mg of nortriptyline 9 days ago to see if I see some relief, but unfortunately nothing yet. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!! Thank you.

  • Tammy January 27, 2016, 11:21 am

    I only took 10mg of Pamelor per day for about 3 months. I was given this medication for my migraines. (I had previously been taking Topamax 300mg per day and that turned into a nightmare). I had to quit taking Pamelor cold turkey this past Friday because I developed dangerously high blood pressure. I would take the pill before bed and within an hour I had palpitations and shortness of breath and chest pains.

    After a few days of this happening, I went to the hospital. I’ve always had very low blood pressure so this was pretty extreme and scary for me. I stopped taking it the next night and no chest pain, palpitations or shortness of breath anymore however, now I have a horrible migraine.

    I had bad head pain the night I went to the hospital because my blood pressure was high but now it’s a full blown migraine with nausea and dizziness. I hope it doesn’t last long. I’m also not sleeping and feel agoraphobic as well as depressed.

  • Sad one February 4, 2016, 2:06 am

    I have been taking this medication for over 19 years. I was on 50mg a day. I stopped taking them about a week ago because my doctor said that it could be the cause of my fatty liver, high enzymes and high cholesterol. But I have not been able to sleep, I feel restless all the time, and have a bad headache. I also am having a lot of nervous breakdowns. I don’t know what to do anymore. I suffer with panic/anxiety disorder plus severe depression. But my liver enzymes are high and so is my cholesterol. Please give me some advice…

  • Maggie Gomez February 4, 2016, 3:35 pm

    At just 16, I am taking 100 mg a day to treat migraines. After just one night of missing my pills, I wake up euphoric, and opposite of what this article states. I am more focused and awake during the day. I experience rather strong lightheadedness, headaches, and nausea, but these factors may be stronger for me because they are why I began taking the medicine in the first place.

    I’ve been taking it for about three years now, and I’ve already upped my dosage three times. But since I’ve found a more direct cause of my migraines (hormones), I’m using a different medication and quitting this one cold turkey. Wish me luck.

    • Laura February 6, 2016, 3:06 pm

      Maggie Gomez, I have recently found out that my headaches are also hormonal. Can I ask what medication they are switching you to?

  • M February 12, 2016, 8:21 am

    I was prescribed 50mg’s of nortriptyline in 1993 for possible ms pain in my legs. I recently told my doctor that I’d like to go off of it and just keep taking gabapentin. She put me on 25mg’s for a month and then 10mg’s.

    I have done this but it’s been very rough. I’ve had diarrhea everyday, mild headaches, nausea, trouble sleeping and leg pain. I can’t take it anymore!! Tonight I took 50mg’s of nortriptyline instead of 10. Plus the gabapentin. It’s just so hard to quit this drug.

  • DGray February 18, 2016, 4:48 pm

    Anybody getting the shivers from this stuff? I am taking a relatively low dose (25mg), but am noticing that between doses I occasionally am getting uncontrollable shiver attacks regardless of temp. Now I have RSD which plays hell with autonomic function anyway, and so that may compound it, but never had regular shiver attacks before starting the drug, now they seem to come as a dose wears off. Since I take this primarily for sleep, I am trying not to get into a daily habit with it (but sleep is very nice 😞).

    • Betternbogie March 25, 2016, 6:47 pm

      You are not alone. 3 days after quitting 25 mg daily, I started to get shivers and flu like symptoms. Also had joint pain and muscle aches. On day 4 I found this site and decided to wean off it versus cold turkey. Took one pill at 5:30 pm and by 6:00 I felt like a new person. I’m going to do the skip a day type seining until I see Dr in two weeks and get some 10 mg to help decrease dosage. Good luck.

  • Robert Gregory February 22, 2016, 6:40 pm

    Very helpful for me to hear others at low dose (10 mg Nortrip for migraines) also are having withdrawal as my doc said should be no prob so I’m grateful though sorry to hear the suffering. I have had the flu-like symptoms and the insomnia but also have started two other symptoms no one else has mentioned and would be curious to know if they could be related to the withdrawal as well.

    Two days ago, began a slight slurring/lisping of some words; was checked for stroke at the ER but no problem there. Feeling my tongue had enlarged, was sore. Today noticing some jumping/juddering of the muscles around my lips; I can stop it by putting my hand there to “calm” the place but it is worrisome. Have to wait two days to see my primary care do. Anyone else seen these?

    • Dianne February 29, 2016, 1:21 am

      Hi Robert, Just starting the withdrawal process myself only on day one so too soon to tell! Your post was about a week ago hope the worse is over for you. Sorry can’t respond to your question just keep reading and asking questions. I thought that I had read that swollen lips and tongue was a possible side effect when starting nort not discontinuing? Wishing you well! D

  • John March 11, 2016, 1:53 pm

    I was on 40mg for migraines for about 5 years. Gained a ton of weight and still got headaches so I decided to ween off 10mg per week. I’ve been completely off coming up on 2 months and still have nausea and fatigue. Headaches have actually slowed down since being off the meds. I have a history of acid reflux and it was pretty much non-existent while I was on Nortriptyline. It is back and I am now wondering if I should have just accepted the weight gain. Hope the symptoms go away soon.

    • Karen October 12, 2016, 7:34 pm

      John: I had been on Nortriptyline for 3 years for sleep issues caused from back pain. The weight gain has been the worst side effect for me. I tried cold turkey about a year and a half ago and the flu symptoms were awful and my pain returned so I went back on it. I have been weaning my dose for about a year and have now been off of it for a week.

      Sleep issues returned as I expected they would and I have been having horrible headaches. Thankfully I have not had too many other issues other than that. For the acid reflux, do yourself a favor and give Apple cider vinegar a try. We started taking a 2 tbsp daily dose of Apple cider vinegar this past January because I had read it could help with weight loss. What I discovered 5 days or so into it was my horrible acid reflux was gone. No more need for Zantac.

      The few times I slacked off because I was out of town or just didn’t want to drink it, around day 4 the acid returns. Liquid works best for me over the pills and as long as I keep up my daily regimen, I don’t have any acid reflux. Give it a try and see if it works. Add a splash of pineapple juice to it to mask the taste and rinse with water afterwards. Good luck with the withdrawals. I am praying they do not last too long for any of us.

  • Caroline Fuzi March 12, 2016, 4:10 am

    I have been off of the drug for 5 weeks after having taken it for 10 years at a dosage of 150. I have neuropathic pain. I first got off Fentanyl then Lyrica and now nortrip. I have had severe withdrawals from all of them. I find that if I remember everyday gets me a day closers to it ending it makes it easier for me.

    I think because of I have done three in the past year as hard as this is today it will end. I treat myself kindly. I still have neuropathic pain but I feel better overall off the medications and feel more engaged in life. Please hang in there and take good care of yourself physically and emotionally.

  • Nancy April 10, 2016, 8:30 pm

    Took 50 mg each night for “chronic pain”—I had a severe episode of piriformis syndrome and nerve pain from a herniated disk in lumbar spine. Tried many other drugs (gaba, Lyrica, opioids), acupuncture, physical therapy, steroid injections in piriformis and in spine. After about 5 months things got better and I was off everything except the nortriptyline and Tylenol.

    Since I tapered off the nortriptyline 3 weeks ago I have felt terrible: exhausted, upset stomach, headache, shaky, irritated. I am so tried I can barely bring myself to do anything. This has got to be something going on with serotonin levels from the withdrawal of that drug, don’t you think? I am desperately searching for non-drug ways to increase my serotonin.

    Today I will force myself to get dressed and at least walk around the block. It seems overwhelming.

  • Karlene April 20, 2016, 8:48 pm

    I took nortriptyline 10-75 mg for 8 months then for the next 2 yrs. I took 75 mg for Migrainous Dizziness. Ive been off the medication now 6 months and now I’m suffering from such bad anxiety and panic attacks. Every morning I wake up soaking in sweat. At any given time my body would feel so hot then I’ll start sweating and feeling sick.

    I never had any of these symptoms before I started taking this drug. I had to wean myself off because of rapid heart rate up to 150’s, high cholesterol, painful leg swelling, dry mouth, losing and thinning of my hair and I gained 70 lbs. Now I am suffering from such bad anxiety and panic attacks and I don’t know what to do. I’m a prisoner in my home because of these attacks.

    This drug has ruined my life. Has any one gone through this after they stopped taking this drug?

  • Gene May 19, 2016, 5:53 pm

    I have been taking Nortriptyline for only about 3 weeks 150mg a day for Fibromyalgia. I started getting issues with swallowing that my Dr. said was the drug and to stop immediately. The biggest mistake I have ever made. I have had massive headache, nausea that was unbearable could not eat for 5 days, profuse sweating, weird sensation throughout my body like something was crawling on me, crying that wouldn’t stop.

    I am in Day 5 and see some slight improvement but still not doing well. Missed work and still not able to put in a full day. Sorry to say but from my point of view this drug is evil. :(

  • Sue May 21, 2016, 5:30 pm

    I went on 10mg of Nortriptyline for migraines and vertigo. I was only on it for 19days because I had a headache everyday and felt high everyday. I tapered down to 5mg for 5 days then 2.5mg for one day. Today is day four of being off of Nortriptyline. I have had a splitting headache and feel high as a kite since being off this toxic drug.

    The pharmacist told me it will take about 2 weeks for the drug to be completely out of my system. I was only on it for a total of 25 days. I wish I never started this toxic drug. I feel horrible and it’s so hard to function with all my responsibilities of working full time and being a mom.

    • Jelly July 3, 2016, 10:52 am

      How are you feeling? I am in the same boat – took it for 19 days total and I’m still feeling nausea two weeks out. I was also on 10mg dose. I’m hoping that this eventually resolves. Any advice?

  • mary sabiston May 27, 2016, 11:31 pm

    I took Nortriptyline over 10 years with my highest dose 50 mg a day, 25mg in am and 25mg pm. Then reduced dosage to 25 mg daily three years ago. It worked wonderfully for me and I never missed but a few days of work. I have depression, fibromyalgia, chronic pain – cracked neck, back, broken hips (7 different car accidents).

    I worked full time until 62 years old and last August had to stop after breaking my left hip and doctors taking over a year to diagnose. I lost medical benefits, went on SSI Disability but have to wait 18 months for medical. Just a few days ago I ran out of my prescription and so this being the forth day without the 25 mg dosage.

    The last couple of days I have felt like I have the flu with no nasal, coughing or heat in the body. Lots of lethargic, some ache, breathing is harder, nausea, a little confusion and some sleepy naps happening. It wasn’t until I looked on the internet and was reminded my stopping this medication has some pretty scary side effects.

    I will monitor my depression letting my son know also in case I start to think I want to check out. I asking for God’s help here as I don’t have much resource. Thanks for listening, GOD Bless!

  • Rob Adams May 30, 2016, 7:17 pm

    I have been taking 50mg of Nortriptyline for 5 years, my doctor went on vacation for a week and a half and forgot to refill my prescription. I have been out for 4 days and the withdrawal is HORRIBLE!! Stomach problems, sleep problems, migraines and severe mood swings. Made a call to another doctor so hopefully this will be refilled!!! I STRONGLY suggest not cold turkey stopping this medication.

  • Logan June 2, 2016, 2:07 am

    I was on 25mg of nortriptyline once a day for about 6 months and I just quit cold turkey. Like all of you, my symptoms didn’t start until about a week after quitting. Almost all of these symptoms listed are exactly what I’m going through right now. It is miserable! I’m tired all the time, get dizzy very often, super lightheaded, nauseous constantly almost to the point where I’m going to be sick, sweating profusely, and very very irritable!

    I will also get random muscle aches all over my body during the day. I can be just sitting down doing nothing and I’ll feel a part of my body tighten up and start to hurt. I don’t know if stopping this medicine can have an effect on the sinuses, but I have been unable to breathe due to congestion and a runny nose as well.

    All in all, I’m just having a rough time and these symptoms have only been going on for a week! I just hope it gets better soon! Good luck to everyone!

  • carolann June 3, 2016, 7:40 pm

    I was on 100mg/day for 6 years for migraines. The past 2 years I started putting on weight and having crazy eating binges. I’ve never been like this, ever. I was also told by my neurologist that coming off of this drug is easy. I tapered down 25 mg /week and have been ~2 weeks without it now.

    I started right away with congestion and runny nose issues (Claritin-D helped) then got slammed this past week with nausea. Eating whole foods has helped, no caffeine, no big meals, just apples, hard boiled eggs, bananas, quinoa, rice, lettuce. What has been really helpful is “Nausea Control” which is available as a CVS and Walgreens brand but it is also known as Emitrol.

    I also take an antacid 2 X day and enteric coated peppermint 2 X day. I keep peppermint Altoids with me at all times. I am much better once the sun goes down. I’m not looking forward to 2 months of this. I hope it goes quicker. I will update if I find anything else that helps. Good luck everyone.

  • Patricia Johnson June 7, 2016, 10:34 pm

    I am currently going through Nortriptyline withdrawal. I was on it for 2 years at 50 mg for neuropathic chronic pain. I quit it cold turkey 5 days ago. It made me put on weight, made me impulsive and a few other side effects I didn’t want to deal with. My sleep is impacted. I have been sweating throughout the day and night with the occasional “chills”.

    It’s harder for me to concentrate. I took today off from work as I was cold, felt exhausted and so physically tired when it’s 100* out. I have already dropped 2 lbs. I know this will all be worth it to finally have this drug out of my system. I’m hoping that the chronic pain I suffer from does not return. It is largely thought that stress aggravated my condition of “sub muscular pain” Best wishes for those of you trying to stop taking the drug.

  • carolann June 11, 2016, 3:45 pm

    So another week has passed and the nausea has improved. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. I also found chewable Dramamine which I take first thing getting up. I found that once I get past the first bowel movement of the day, the nausea subsides. Nortriptyline works on your serotonin levels and those receptors are everywhere.

    In the GI tract, problems with serotonin contribute to all sorts of bowel disorders, inflammatory and infectious diseases of the gut, obesity, and what I found interesting “emetic responses to varied stimuli” or in other words – things that make you nauseous. So until you get back to baseline, arm yourself with anti-nausea meds.

    Be prepared with a bag of cut veggies and fruit so that your stomach doesn’t sit empty, keep a fan on your desk + a sweater nearby, carry altoids, drink tea. Try motrin for the aches and pains. You will feel better.

  • Maggie June 12, 2016, 4:57 am

    I’ve been on 50mg for 23 years. I went on it for postpartum depression and anxiety and really severe insomnia. During the first five years, I went off it cold turkey a few times. Sleep suffered and within a short period of time, depression and anxiety returned so I went back on it. About 4 1/2 years ago, I talked to my PCP about getting off of it because I’ve had problems with ankle and foot swelling and hair loss which are listed as side effects.

    She said that I needed to taper off of it and it isn’t good at all to go cold turkey, something no other doctor had told me in the past. I honestly can’t recall what increments I lowered the dosage by, but I do think it was about three weeks that I went from 50mg to about 20mg (maybe lower, I can’t remember). I could not sleep even though I was exhausted. I was miserable so I resumed taking 50mg again.

    I decided in the beginning of this year that I wanted to try going off the meds again. Since my last attempt to go off of them, I’ve learned a lot about healthy eating and the gut-immune relationship, toxin overload, and illness and disease in general. I want to see if I can manage my symptoms in other ways without being on norts.

    The one large lesson I’ve learned is that our bodies are sensitive and complex. An acupuncturist told me that our bodies love structure and schedules. Every time we change our schedule or diet, our body goes through detox trying to rebalance itself. A psychiatrist had told me that we’ve got around 250 hormones that all have to interact and harmonize together so our bodies function properly.

    That makes me see how taking a medication can cause an effect in so many ways in our bodies. I’ve seen how sensitive my body is to taking norts. If I miss a night of taking it or only take 25mg, I sleep that night alright; however, even if I take the usual dose of 50mg the next night, I don’t sleep well at all. It takes several nights to get sleep back to normal.

    This time around, I decided to go slowly. I decided to decrease the dosage by 5mg at a time. In the beginning of March, I started taking 45mg. I didn’t notice too much change and by the beginning of May, decided to drop another 5mg. I noticed a small change in sleep. It’s a little disrupted, but nothing to write home about. Some nights I will sleep more soundly.

    I have noticed a lot more sweating happening, but that could be hormonal. I am just going to take a wait-and-see approach. I’ve decided that it may take me a year or longer and that’s alright. I was impatient in the past and just wanted to get off the norts quickly. My body tells me I can’t do it that way. I’m just going to slowly reduce in small amounts and allow my body to adjust.

    Dropping 10mg so far at this slow pace, has been pretty good. Trying to drop any faster just hasn’t worked for me. I didn’t realize that norts don’t come in 5mg capsules. So thanks for that info. Right now I’m combining the 10mg and 25mg to reduce by 5mg.

    I see that when I get down to 15mg, I’ll have to split up the 10mg into empty gelatin capsules to get a 5mg capsule. Thanks everyone for sharing your stories. It was helpful to me. I wish you all the best. I’ll check back towards the fall to update.

  • Travis June 23, 2016, 6:30 pm

    I was started on this pill a year ago by a doctor that was all too happy to script narcotics and whatever it took to make the pain go away. I’ve since changed docs. I recently chose to live a healthier lifestyle and get rid of all my pharmaceuticals. I weaned myself from 30mg to nothing over 3 weeks, cutting the pills in half, and then in half again and finally a last half of THAT again.

    So – throughout the weaning process I’ve had incessant pain in my right ear. The entire ear canal throbs. Sounds hurt my head, and sometimes even light is painful. I’ve had bloating in my right side of my stomach. I’m also extremely exhausted by evening. It has been 5 days since I stopped completely and I’m also now weaning myself off of trazodone to boot.

    Fortunately, I have cannabis oil and also vape cannabis and these things have helped me tremendously. I take about .5mg of cannabis oil nightly and these ensure a good night’s sleep. As well – during the day I take .5mg before I go to work and if the pain is still too much – I take another .5mg. Today’s a good day though.

    I only had to take one .5mg of my oil before I went to work and I’m experiencing minimal pain. For those of you with access to legal cannabis I strongly recommend you explore that as a way to get through this freaking withdrawal and even to manage the issues you originally took nortriptyline for. Now that I have this – there’s simply no REASON for me to take such a toxic pharmaceutical.

  • Joanne July 9, 2016, 8:14 pm

    I was on a low dose for decades. Blood pressure medication stopped the migraines instantly so I tried to get off the nortriptyline. I have been struggling to get off for over 4-5 months now. I’d get headaches, nausea, muscle pain. I’d go as long as I could till symptoms. Every 3-4 weeks I could go a day longer. I just made it a full week and I think I am free. It can be done.

  • Esmee July 14, 2016, 6:35 pm

    Hi there, It has been both a relief and anxious to read your stories. A relief because now I know the recent experiences where due to quitting the medicine and not because I’m flying over the cuckoos nest again. Started taking it 3.5 years ago being psychotically depressed (extremely anxious/paranoid, hearing things, suicidal, 10kilo weight loss) and it helped me then.

    After two weeks I came out of my psychosis and I turned into a manic but wonderful state – it was a joy to feel and see love and beauty again. My therapy has been going well since and this year I thought it was time to stop. My depressions are gone, I can deal with it nowadays. Took 75/100 mg and in 3 months i went down from 75 to 12,5. This last 25/12,5 mg has been hard. Currently I take 0 mg one day and 12,5 mg on the other.

    Sometimes my dark thoughts take over again and they get out of control, mood swings, bloated and diarrhea, feel like hurting myself physically, way more emotional, although lots of the time i feel fine! I can still to go to school/work/be social only I feel vulnerable and not able to see clearly what is real and not (though I also had this whilst being on the drugs only not as much).

    Especially the multi-sensed dreams are scary, sometimes it feels like I’m being thrown onto a wall/falling/get chased in my dreams. If this would only last for two weeks it would be comprehensible but I’m so scared it will last longer because I think it would be dangerous and it takes a lot of energy, currently its getting worse. About a month ago only feeling a bit weirdish not like this at all.

  • Lesley July 15, 2016, 7:25 pm

    I’ve been on Nortriptyline for a year and a half for daily headaches/migraines and fibromyalgia. I started on 25mg and got up to 100mgs once a day, with little to no positive results. I still had plenty of headaches every week (4 out of 7 days a week), and pretty severe fibro pain. Both problems could be controlled/alleviated with Excedrin Migraine, usually.

    I’d been talking with my doc about quitting the Nortrip, and he told me to ramp it down, slowly, over 2 or 3 months. Last week, I ran out of my prescription (it slipped my mind), and I guess I accidentally (subconsciously) quit this drug, cold turkey. Whoops! I’ve been sick as hell all week — I thought I had the flu, or my Shingles came back (it can happen)… (I know, lucky me! Shingles!).

    At the one week mark, I got a blazing headache that couldn’t be eliminated even with the big drugs (sumatriptan) — I had that whopper headache for at least 4 days, before it finally started to subside. I felt pretty close to vomiting all the time, and food made it worse. Diarrhea, constipation, alternating throughout the day. I’ve been dizzy, forgetful, SO tired (unable to sleep more than 3 hours at a stretch) aching, puffy eyes/congested, chills/shivers then hot flashes.

    I’ve had the shakes too. It’s been pretty awful. So, after thinking it was Shingles, or the flu, or something, the little light bulb went off this morning, I googled withdrawal symptoms, and found all of you. Thank you all for sharing your stories, and making me feel a lot less crazy! I’m trying to decide if I should continue to tough it out, or pick up the prescription.

    My head space has actually been ok — no screaming depression (like when I forgot to take my zoloft for a week — super bad head space!), and my libido has been perking up all week, which was a side effect I hadn’t noticed while on the Nortrip. I dunno. I guess I’ll play it by ear.

  • Sheila July 20, 2016, 5:35 pm

    I just stopped 20 mg every night for sleep about a month ago and did not realize some of the side effects of withdrawal. My weight is dropping without changes to my (mostly good) diet and that’s good because I need to lose weight. However, I started experiencing itching and hives, especially when I’m around my short-haired cat.

    I already have mild allergies for which I take generic Claritin, but upped it over the past month to two per day to try to control the itching and hives, but it hasn’t seemed to make a difference. My NP told me to try Allegra, saying it’s the strongest of that drug class, and even doubling up on that did not help. It looks like a few people on here have experienced the itching, but has anyone experienced hives?

    Even when I’m not around my cats, I still have hives and itchiness. I have been more fortunate than some of you in that I haven’t had an increase in migraines and only minor sleep disturbance, but I also take 0.25 klonopin (doing a slow taper on my own from 0.5 mg to get off the klonopin) and 10 mg of ambien to help with sleep.

    If anyone has experienced or is experiencing the itchiness and hives, can you tell me how long that fun time is going to last, lol? And is there anything I can use aside from over the counter allergy meds (can’t take anything with pseudoephedrine or Benadryl, they hype me up), maybe something topical, to help reduce the symptoms? Any suggestions are welcome. Thanks for being here!

  • carolann July 20, 2016, 10:10 pm

    07-20-16 this is probably my final entry. I think I am done with the withdrawal symptoms. So figure 2 months to get back to normal. Please don’t give up. From my earlier posts Dramamine and over the counter anti-nausea meds helped so much. I added fiber 1X day to get my digestive system normalized. You can do this. Good luck to everyone! Carol Ann

    • Cathy September 6, 2016, 4:32 pm

      Thank you for your post Carolann. I’m into my third week of being off Nortriptyline and have terrible, terrible fatigue. I’m glad to know that it will take a little longer to go away. I was on 30 mg a day for 16 years. I am really happy to get off of it. It was really helpful for years. But I just do not feel depressed anymore. I’m hoping this fatigue will lessen each day.

  • Damion July 24, 2016, 11:29 pm

    My specialist has been telling me to just wait for the 50mg of Nortriptyline to work for 3 months now. My depression has been sinking lower and I have rashes and wake in an absolute panic with a BPM of around 110 – 120 every morning. I suffered a heart attack and seizure from Effexor only a year ago, so am naturally concerned my heart is going double time. I really wanted to discontinue but wanted approval from my specialist first, but he has been on holiday for a couple of weeks and won’t answer my calls (thought he might be a bit more pro active considering his $190 consultations).

    So after some research and finding this site, I decreased my dose from 50mg to 37.5mg a day for the last week and plan to drop 12.5mg every week from now. The only side effect I have is a bit of nausea and diarrhea. A friend of mine gave me some medical cannabis and it works a treat for a sore tummy. Other than that, my mind already feels clearer and my memory is working again. I have begun a mindfulness meditation course and feel more positive than I have in years. Good luck to everyone else trying to detoxify from the poison Nortriptyline.

  • Alyx Barnes July 27, 2016, 5:24 pm

    I took nortriptyline at 25mg for 5 weeks, then 50mg for 4 weeks then 75mg for 3 or 4 days, then 100mg for 3 or 4 days, back down to 75mg for 4 weeks. That was the “treatment” phase. Side effects: 10% of body weight gain (most at 75mg dose), skyrocketing high cholesterol more than 50 points in 3 weeks and another 50 – 100 points the previous two months (normal chol pre-drug), reduced persistence/ motivation (esp for physical activities), constipation, felt like hungover zombie each morning…I could go on.

    In contrast, it did help significantly with fibro/ neuropathic pain. Not very helpful for depression. Started “taper” last week. Went down to 50 mg for 4 days, then 25mg for 4 days. Today is second day off completely. Have had headaches and increased neck, back, and shoulder pain throughout taper. Better physical activity level though (getting started easier).

    Sleep is tough to achieve/ maintain, but waking up more clearheaded. Lost six pounds so far. Higher anxiety and shorter fuse. Hopefully this will calm down over the next few weeks. Good luck to you all in achieving better health/ living.

  • Patty G August 7, 2016, 8:25 pm

    I’ve been taking 10 mg of Nortriptyline for about 3 months and gotta stop it. Having too many side effects such as dry mouth, horrible taste in mouth to the point of feeling nauseous, insomnia, lack of appetite, and severe tiredness. Was given drug for headaches. Can I stop it at once cause I’ve been on capsules and can’t decrease dosage. Or should I just start skipping every other day till I can completely stop it? I also take Xanax 3 times a day at a very low dose 25mg. The withdrawals can’t be any worse than the side effects I’m having. Please someone help me.

  • Leanne August 24, 2016, 2:45 am

    I have been on Nortrp for 4 yrs 40mg. I’m trying to get pregnant so therefore was told to come off this medication. Stupidly I went cold turkey. It started with feeling nauseous and headaches. Then the fatigue set in and severe body aches. I was put on Nortrp for pain originally but now it’s on a whole new level. I’ve never experienced such horrible body ache.

    My whole body hurts. It seems like it’s hurting more as time goes on. It’s been almost a month! Went to a walk in clinic and the doctor there claimed I should not be feeling any withdrawal symptoms anymore. There must be something else wrong with you he claimed. Obviously after reading this I know that is not all in my head. If anyone has any suggestions on how to cut down the pain, please let me know.

  • Chris September 11, 2016, 9:46 pm

    I would like to encourage everyone to keep pushing to get off this drug. It is one of many anticholinergic drugs that have been associated with Alzheimers. I have been on Nortriptyline for 24 years for chronic migraine. It helped somewhat but not enough for the Alzheimers risk, all the side effects, and now the slow and extremely difficult withdrawal.

    I took 50 mg for most of those years, reduced gradually to 20mg about 3-4 years ago, and now I’m on a very slow taper from 20mg. I can feel a dose reduction as small as 3 tenths of a mg. The best way I’ve found to portion out tiny dose reductions is to dilute the powder from a 10mg pill in 10 cc of water using a 10 cc syringe to measure.

    Each cc will contain one mg of drug. That way you can be sure to get consistent dosing and not pay the exorbitant price big pharma charges for liquid Nortriptyline. Good luck to everyone, and don’t give up!

  • K September 19, 2016, 1:49 am

    I took 50 mg/ day of Nortriptyline for 1 year to treat migraines and neuropathic pain. I was having bad side effects of SEVERE constipation and a zombie / sluggish feeling, so I reduced my dose to 25 mg / day for another year. Yesterday I decided to go off Nortriptyline cold turkey. On day 1 of withdrawal, I am feeling okay, just a very slight headache, constant yawning, and itchy skin all over, which is not too severe but kind of amusing.

    I’m not worried and assuming these withdrawal effects will level out in a few weeks. After 2 years of severe constipation, my constitution is already starting to return to normal! Hooray! Despite the yawning, I’m feeling more alert mentally. Thumbs up for that! Very excited to be back to my old self and also to not need to rely on a constant stream of Metamucil and fiber supplements (I’m only 32, after all).

    I’m very glad I chose to stop the medication. Supposedly Nortriptyline was helping with my ADHD symptoms, but I don’t really care. So glad to be getting back to normal. Good luck everyone!

    • Rick October 19, 2016, 7:07 pm

      Hello K, I see you posted back in Sept having cold turkey from 25mg, how are you doing?

  • David Morris September 20, 2016, 1:48 pm

    I have been on Nortriptyline 10/20 mgs for 6 months, taken each evening to treat fibromyalgia. I’m male, and have noticed that my thick head of hair is going really thin. Has anyone else had this problem. Please respond. Many thanks, Dave

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