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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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171 thoughts on “Nortriptyline Withdrawal Symptoms + Duration”

  1. I started nortriptyline in 2008 for panic disorder. Last few years I experienced a lot of nerve issues with twitching eye and dizziness.

    I read that new reports show a link to permanent irreversible dementia and nortriptyline. My doctor has assisted me for the past nine months to taper and begin Zoloft. It’s been rough.

    Now that I am completely off the nortriptyline I have high blood pressure readings and am taking propranolol daily. My doctor says it is the effects of withdrawal and it will subside. Anyone else experiencing this?

    • I had been taking Nortriptyline for over 6 years. I’ve been off the drug for just over 3 months and am still feeling the after effects – bouts of anxiety, lightheartedness, no energy or body strength …. It’s been very hard to maneuver through each day just to have these symptoms start up again every morning

      My doctor says that i should be over it by now but as I read here, that it can take up to six months, I feel a sense of comfort that I’m not imagining these symptoms. Hoping it starts to subside soon 🤞

  2. This is poison. Doctors can prescribe this, knowing what it can cause, but they can’t prescribe cannabis. Go figure. I’m on day four of offing it entirely. I weaned from 30 to 20 mg per day. That went on for 3 days. The worst was taking 20mg at night time. This caused night terrors.

    Not just nightmares, but terror! And doctors are allowed to prescribe this poison? So I’m off of it. I’m eating CBD cannabis. Is FAR better than this nonsense, and far less expensive. Cannabis is legal for both recreational use and medical use in my state.

    I don’t need no stinking prescription for this. It relieves most of the symptoms this ‘medicine’ causes and I’m getting by fine. The AMA, the pharmaceuticals, and doctors are a bunch of walruses and carpenters. They think they know sumpin – they do.

    They know cannabis is much safer and far more helpful than this synthetic ‘some rats respond to this medicine’. I’m not a rat. Nor are you. Get off of this poison. Tell your doctor you recommend it for people who can’t see the forest for the trees!

    Tell him/her to have some… offer him/her some of yours. Watch them pull back!

  3. I am a 35 year old male sitting at 215lbs and 6’5″ tall. I was taking 25mg for 7 months, for myofascial pain, and then was tapered down to 10mg for 2 weeks before stopping altogether, approximately a week ago.

    The reason for quitting this drug is that I have been trying CBD oil, live in Canada, and it seems to drown out all the background noise/pain in my body so my Dr. and I agreed that there is no point in taking 2 drugs for the pain when the oil works.

    My symptoms since stopping Nortriptyline are worse than the symptoms promoting me to take it in the first place. Since stopping the drug roughly a week ago these are the symptoms I have experienced:

    -I had a few random outbursts of uncontrollable crying (this has since stopped)
    -I always feel dizzy
    -I feel lightheaded when moving too fast
    -Flu like symptoms of a runny nose and random bouts of body fatigue
    -As it is currently 5am; I have also been experiencing trouble getting to sleep
    -I have had a headache 24/7 since stopping
    -acid reflux hasn’t gone away
    -dry mouth so bad my tounge has split open.
    -I have had sinus pressure so bad my right ear and eye whistle (no idea if this is related or not)

    I am hoping these symptoms go away at some point but like the rest of you I am just taking one day at a time.

    • Wow. That’s terrible! It takes a lot of time to get off this drug. I have been doing well by lowering 10 mg every three months. I tried to go faster, like two weeks, and I got sick too. So I am going to take my time.

      You can see my recent comment below. It tells the whole story. I thought getting off such a low dose would be easy because I am way below the therapeutic level of this drug. It does not work that way. My body is accustomed to the drug. I have to take it easy.

    • Hi Kris,

      Thanks for this. I am pretty much having the same symptoms as this.

      Feel absolutely awful. Have been off now for nearly a week. I feel everyone time I get up I’m dizzy, have a headache last all day.

      How long did this all last for you?



  4. This drug has really helped my depression for 25 years or so. I have been tapering off from 175 mg for almost two years now. I am down to 30mg. Being that the environmental problems I used to have are gone, this has been an easy course. I have not had depression for five years.

    I did not get any withdrawals at all when my nortriptyline was lowered. But then I tapered too fast to 20 mg. After two weeks on 30mg, I went to 20mg and I felt it: lack of interest in doing anything, sadness, high blood pressure, headaches, head rushes, and nausea. Now I see why my doctor is tapering me off so slowly.

    I don’t mind the wait. I just want to be comfortable. I will stick to the previous course: lowering 10mg every three months. It’s fine with me. I know I am a miracle case, coming back from very severe mental illness to a state of well-being that is amazing.

    I have given others hope. My advice is: don’t be in a hurry to taper off. Just be grateful for a balanced brain chemistry. It is a gift that keeps you functioning at your best potential.

  5. I have been taking nortriptyline for headaches, and used them in the passed when I broke my back. My Doc is pretty great, she is very thorough and this was a last resort for these headaches. I was surviving on 2-4 hours of sleep so this worked wonders.

    The headaches persisted – so long story short and after a CT scan and numerous specialists, I have been told I had Giant Cell Arteritis (GCA) of the brain. The trouble is, I’m about twenty years too young for it. I have headaches 24hrs a day; they never go away.

    I’m allergic to the prescribed medications to control it (steroids) as there is no cure. So I was left with not a lot of options. I have just gone cold turkey from the Nortriptyline, as I found myself assimilating the doses more and more frequently and the hunger to continually increase them was not good.

    I have experienced most of what everyone has mentioned and still going through it and my reasoning is simple – in what time I may have, I would rather have the pain and have clear thoughts and cleanse my body as best as I can from drugs. I realise this is not for everyone. Through a friend, I have been reading a book called “Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers” by Robert M. Sapolsky.

    It covers stress-related diseases and coping. For those of you who have headaches, maybe you need to have a scan done to rule out possibilities and for those who have anxiety and stress, this book is both funny and very informative on ways your body works and the means on how to cope.

    I have 3 sons and a wonderful husband. I’m at peace with what has happened to me and manage myself well. I’m using natural blood thinners and natural methods to help bring some sleep patterns back. The time taken is slow, but working.

    Drugs can help but I’ve found they are a modern want for things we can learn to manage if given the right tools. I applaud everyone who has had the courage to speak of their pains and I wish them all the best in whichever choice they have made.

  6. I’ve been on 50 mg for about 3 months for daily chronic migraine. I finally figured out that it was the Nortriptyline that was causing shortness of breath when ever I moved and increased my pulse and blood pressure.

    I went off cold turkey this Saturday and felt quite groggy and had a migraine all day on Sunday. Today (Monday) I still have the headache but other than that I feel much better. My migraines cause sinus issues so I do have that.

    The shortness of breath and pulse/blood pressure issue is still there but getting better. I knew there would be withdrawal symptoms, but I figured those would not be as bad as the severe out of breath issues. I was right.

  7. I was on Nortriptyline for 8 years at 50 mg per day. Originally prescribed for bad headaches that the doc couldn’t diagnose, but thought it would help. It did, and the side affects seemed minimal, so I stayed on it. Tried to wean off it once and the headaches came back.

    I am sure it also helped smooth my anxieties as I am an anxious, worrying type of person. Last December 2017 I missed a dose, then the next day my intuition told me to get off this drug, so I stopped cold turkey. After the first week, I knew I never wanted to be on this drug again, best I can describe is that the sky seemed more blue and I saw the world like I used to as a younger person, and I missed that!

    The challenge was the oncoming onslaught of withdrawal symptoms. I have never experienced such horrendous emptiness, sadness, insomnia, and depression as the first 3 months coming off this drug.

    At first I chalked it all up to some re-emerging issues with my recent divorce and how that has upended everything; now I know that was just a side issue compared to the thunderstorm of changes going on in my brain that caused all sorts of havoc in my life.

    I couldn’t handle stress at all. I cried way too much and too easily. I had horrible mornings when my cortisol levels went haywire. Thankfully once I got up and got moving into my day, the symptoms eased by 75% or more, and usually by bedtime I was almost elated!

    But this rollercoaster was brutal; I’d fall asleep like a dead person, wake up wide awake anytime between 2 AM and 4 AM, and sit there and ponder if I was really alive, or was I living in some different reality, and then I’d go through terrible emotional swings. It was a slugfest against myself.

    The good news is I think I’ve powered through it and I feel more confident, I’m sleeping better, waking better, and dealing better with stress. I don’t think I’m fully over the brain addiction to this drug yet. I still feel a slight ghostly subtle hold it has on me, but it’s slowly evaporating and I’m again feeling like I used to.

    Yes, my normal self is OCD and full of anxieties and Nortriptyline helped me in a lot of ways and I won’t badmouth it because I needed it, but also my doc should have warned me better about its effects and I should have been more self aware of it and it was stupid of me to quit cold turkey.

    Anyway, I pray for all of you quitting this medication and hope you have less symptoms than I did.

  8. I was on 25mg for a month for nerve pain, not for depression. Then two weeks ago the doc had me bump up to 50mg. When I first started taking it I noticed intense dreams and a slight increase of anxiety, but because the pain was so decreased I decided to just go with it.

    When I increased the dosage the anxiety increased noticed agitation, suicidal thoughts, memory loss, confusion, agitation and my dreams became night terrors. After an intense night terror that sent my anxiety through the roof, my doctor took me off cold turkey. Putting me on 1mg lorazepam twice daily to ease the withdrawal symptoms.

    I’m 6 days off the nortriptyline, but last night my night terror was so bad I couldn’t pull out of it. I actually had to call someone and ask them if I was awake or still dreaming. My anxiety is up and now I’m rating really high on the depression markers.

    I’m afraid to go to sleep. When I can sleep, my dreams are so intense that if they don’t become terrors, I still wake up exhausted by them. Doc says I should be normal by day 8. What I’m reading says he might be wrong. Has anyone had experience with cold turkey withdrawal and night terrors?

    Any idea how long the withdrawal symptoms last on average? I’m 49, female, history or depression years ago but not in the last 5 years. Other than the C4-6 nerve pain from a car accident in October, really physically and mentally healthy. I need my life back.

    • Have things improved for you? I’ve increased from 25 to 35mg and have noticed some of the same symptoms that you have: increased anxiety and agitation being the most noticeable.

      I’m now three weeks into the new dose and things are calming down a bit but I’m still quick to get mad. How long did you stay at the higher dose before deciding to come off?

  9. I’ve been on Nortriptyline for a little over a year for post-concussion migraines. The drug helped a lot to reduce my noise & light sensitivities and most of my headaches (the rest was alleviated by Propranalol). But the side effects of Nortriptyline weren’t fun: acid reflux (for which I had to take Prevacid every day or I felt awful), and dry mouth (which I’ve gotten used to after all this time).

    My neurologist wanted me to stop taking it because of the side effects, so she switched me to another anti-depressant (Venlaflaxine). I was hoping the acid reflux would go away upon stopping the Nortriptyline, but that hasn’t happened. I still have to take Prevacid every day…

    But I’m happy to read the information on this page because now I know these symptoms won’t go away overnight. I hope they do eventually, though, because acid reflux is NOT fun and I don’t want to take Prevacid every day for the rest of my life!

    Or perhaps what I’m experiencing now is the nausea part of withdrawal? Who knows… But at least I know neither one will last forever. Thanks for all the info!

  10. I was on it for over 20 years. Went off it tapering a few months ago, but have been feeling awful since. Vertigo, upset stomach, other symptoms. Don’t know how long this lasts, and can’t seem to get any answers.

  11. I just discontinued nortriptyline after being on it for about 2.5ish months. I upped my dose often per doctor and blood levels and ended up on 150 mg for 10 days or so and my level was 170, supposed to be between 75-150.

    I decided I wanted off, constantly changing dosages and the ups and downs was too much. I started it for sleep and anxiety. I have been off of it for three days. Sleep has been terrible even though I’m taking a higher dose of trazodone in the meantime.

    Headaches, dizzy and lightheaded throughout the day. Is this normal?? When do people feel better? Also teary. Ugh!

  12. I am so thankful I found this information and this thread of comments. I have been on Nortriptyline for about 5 years and have decided it is time to taper off. I have an appointment with my doc in two weeks and feel I can have an intelligent conversation after reading all of the comments and the above info.

  13. I was wondering if anyone experienced a runny nose while withdrawing. I was taking 75 mg a day for migraines for the past 3 years then it stopped working. Couldn’t increase dose due to side effect of extreme fatigue – so tapered off gradually. Since I stopped the last dose I have had a runny nose for most of day for the past 4 days.

    • I’m reducing my nortriptyline dose and am actually holding right now so that I can get rid of some of my symptoms before working my way down again. I haven’t experienced a runny nose though.

      How fast did you taper and what other symptoms did you have? I don’t see a lot of activity around nortriptyline.

    • I have that I have been tapering myself off. Some days it is a lot of blowing my nose and clearing my throat. I also have been having chills like as if I had a high fever. It’s an unpleasant feeling because when these chills start I don’t feel right.

      They go on for hours. And I have been tapering off slowly. I was on it for about 5 or 6 years I guess. My doctor told me to go off because of weight gain. I have diabetes and weight gain is not good.

    • It’s possible that your runny nose is due to unbalanced processing of histamine. I have heard that nortriptyline affects histamine, and while I don’t know how, it stands to reason that it could set things off.

      I have learned about histamine imbalance through matching my symptoms with Histamine Intolerance (HIT), which is not uncommon for those who have had prolonged gut damage with IBS and/or SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth).

      Basically, it triggers the immune system in several ways, including the runny nose response as though from exposure to an environmental irritant.

    • Yes that happened to me too. I was on it for the last 5 years. I gradually weaned down the dose and got a runny nose and flu-like symptoms.

    • Yes! I’ve only tapered down from 75 to 50 for the past couple weeks but the unexplainable runny nose thing is crazy!! I’m feeling complete muscle weakness today. Every single day is a struggle now. A full body migraine hit me 2 days ago.

      Yesterday morning I couldn’t walk for a couple of hours and it was agony to get myself into a hot shower (on a 92 degree day) just to be able to straighten up. I am a mess!!! I’m thinking about just going back up to 75mg again so we can try this again at 10mg intervals.

      I started this drug due to ocular migraines and a year ago I was involved in a full on t-bone accident. They were testing me for a stroke when they discovered I had Chiari Malformation. I may end up on this drug forever if I’m going to feel this horrible to taper off. :(

  14. I was talking Nortriptyline 50mg for 3 years for neuropathic pain. One of my side effects was bad heartburn. 2 weeks ago, soon after I took my tablet, it sent my stomach acid up my esophagus, my throat, up to my nose. Thought I was going to have to call 911, I felt like I couldn’t breathe.

    Needless to say, I was to terrified to take it again. So now I’m 2 weeks in and ugh… I have had all the symptoms listed above, minus maybe 2. The trouble I’m having the worst now is the dizziness and the neuropathy pain is back 10 fold. Anyway, trucking forward.

    • Hi Christine, I hope that you are getting some relief. How are you feeling now? I’m still experiencing sound sensitivity, head pressure and high anxiety about 2 weeks after lowering my dose from 25 to 20mg.

    • Hi Christine, I hope you have found relief by now. I have had issues with heartburn when I have too much exposure to FD&C Blue No. 1, which is in nortriptyline as well as my old blue toothpaste.

      I cut out all sorts of foods, and reduced my use of the toothpaste to the tiniest blob I could manage, but did not find relief until I gave up store-bought toothpaste and made my own with coconut oil and baking soda.

      My mom had a similar experience, not finding relief until I suggested she stop using dyed toothpaste, and lo! Her symptoms finally improved.

  15. I’m tapering off of nortriptyline now. I was prescribed 10mg to help with insomnia and chronic migraines. After two weeks my doctor upped my dose to 25mg. During that time I was having blurry vision, dizziness, motion sick type feeling, dry mouth, fogginess, forgetfulness, and my voice has become gravelly (like a have a cold or sore throat all of the time).

    I wanted the 2-4 weeks that the doctor and pharmacist recommended that I stay on to see if it’s working. Unfortunately, my migraine pain and frequency actually has gotten worse, so I’m tapering off of it and I still have a few of the side effects. My doctor said to drop from 25 to 10 for 5 days and then stop. I’ve become very sensitive to medication changes due to being on countless different drugs trying to treat my migraines.

    I have 25mg and 10mg pills. I went from 25 down to 20mg per night and stayed there for 7 days. I felt some skin burning, dizziness, overall feeling of unease, tinnitus and of course my ongoing migraine. The past couple of days I felt a bit better so I’ve decided to make another cut. Due to the fact that my smallest pill is 10mg, I’m trying to decide the best course of action going forward.

    I guess that I could do a micro-taper and take the powder out of the capsules, but when I experimented with it, it was messy and it looked like I was losing a decent amount of the medicine. I think that I’ve decided to do the following: alternate days by taking a 10mg pill one day followed by 10mg in the morning and 10mg at night.

    It looks like nortriptyline has a decent half life so I’m hoping that adding the dose in the morning will even out the decrease. I would then go to 10mg each night after I feel OK. Has anyone had experience with what I would guess is a relatively fast taper?

    • Instead of doing the every other day approach, I’m weighing out my doses and tapering that way. So, I’m taking 17mg right now. It’s a capsule so I know that I’m losing some and could really be at 15/16mg.

      Is anyone else out there still tapering or feeling symptoms? I’m hoping that since a number of people haven’t replied to questions that they’ve recovered and have moved on to better things. :)

    • I made a drop to 17mg but had to go back up to 20mg. I think having multiple medication changes has been really hard on my body. It’s been 5 days since I’ve been back on 20mg and I’m still feeling unwell: angry, anxious and burning/itchy skin are my main symptoms right now. It’s gotten better but I’m really hoping things even out in the next few days.

      • Update on my symptoms. Still staying at 20mg. Been there for ten days now. Burning/tingling skin has reduced but still here. Anxiousness is diminishing. A couple of things have come back though and I hope that it’s very temporary… tinnitus and insomnia. Last night was the first in a while that I wasn’t able to fall asleep for a long time.

        • Anxiety comes in waves and is pretty strong today. Insomnia is hit or miss, as is the tinnitus. Still waiting to settle in on this new dose.

          • I ended up going back to 25mg after three to four weeks at 20mg. I’ve been back at 25 for about two and a half weeks so things are stable yet. My understanding is that it takes 21 days to reach a steady state on nortriptyline.

            Symptom-wise I went through few days of bad depression (I’m on the meds for migraines and have never been depressed), still have tinnitus, some anxiety although not as bad.

            My system seems to be pretty sensitive to med changes so you could definitely have a better experience than me, but a 50% decrease does seem like a lot.

    • Hi Heather – you checked a lot on other people earlier this year and I was curious if you’re doing better yourself now. Did you ever get weaned off?

      • I’m down to 10mg now. I’ve been holding at that dose for a while. My doctor believes that the nortriptyline is helping my migraines and is hesitant to have me eliminate it completely.

        My resting heart rate is down to about 75bpm which is lower than the 95-100 that it was when I was on a higher dose. I have the liquid version now and am hoping to decrease the last 10mg by 1mg/week when I’m ready to start tapering again.

        Are you on it now?

  16. Thank you for the information and it has been super helpful to read all the comments. I have been taking 30mg of Nortriptyline a day for fibromyalgia for a couple of years now. I am trying to reduce the amount of meds I take by the end of the year for many reasons, including being able to travel for longer without the need for a prescription.

    I am reducing by 10mg at a time and this is my second attempt. It is currently 6am on a Sunday morning. I went to bed at 1 am and I have waking frequently feeling incredibly thirsty and constantly needing to urinate (probably due to all the fluids!). I have been having vivid dreams too.

    Reading this has made me realize that my stomach and lower back pain are probably part of this too. I was also disproportionately angry at a friend yesterday and this too was probably due to withdrawal. Anyway, I’m going to stick to it and be kind to myself throughout. I’m feeling motivated.

    • AJ, thanks for posting. I have just read all the comments myself as I have just started planning to taper off.

      I have been taking nortriptyline for about three and a half years for migraine prevention, and it may also be helping with anxiety, IBS, and potentially fibromyalgia (I’m not diagnosed, but my GI at Ann Arbor Medicine says I have a lot of fibro-like symptoms).

      I slowly increased my dose to 50mg sometime last year (if memory serves). How is your withdrawal going?

  17. So thankful to have found this information. I have been on Nortriptyline for almost 10 years for headaches/neck pain and I’m sure it helped with my depression as well (originally was on 150 mg then dropped to 50 mg a few years later and then 30 mg for the past 2-3 years).

    I was told that if I wanted to get pregnant that I would need to get off of the medication. I started to drop by 10 mg and knew that it was going to be a very very long process. My body is extremely sensitive to medication and I had even told my PCP that I was worried about dropping the dosage.

    She assured me that dropping 10 mg at a time would be ok. Currently on day 5 and I feel like I have experienced most of the symptoms listed above. For the first few days I felt AMAZING, and was feeling very hopeful.

    Then the sudden stomach pain/nausea hit, along with a strange tingling sensation through my body. I also have the chills constantly. I typically felt very foggy and tired while on the drug so I’m used to that but I’m definitely feeling dizzy and fatigued and have moments where I’m “spacing out”.

    I’ve heard such horror stories about this drug and getting off of it so I’m glad to see that I will get better.

      • Hey Heather! I’m doing much better than before. Still only taking 20 mg for a while and then dropping once I’m less stressed out. Still feel very tired, and one of the worst things is waking up in the middle of the night covered in sweat. Knowing my body I expect that it’s going to take quite a while to adjust. Hope you’re doing well and getting through your taper!

        • I’m also at 20mg. I’m likely going to stay here for a while. My migraines seem to be doing better on this dose. I think that I can deal with the other side effects if I can keep my migraines to a minimum. I’m on day 10 of 20mg after having dropped from 20 to 17 and going back up.

          I still have a few issues that I’m hoping will leave soon. I haven’t really had night sweats. I get body burning on my upper torso, arms, hands and face. It’s mostly just an itch now. I just have this overall feeling of unease and tightening of my stomach.

          It’s getting better though. Yesterday I didn’t sleep well. I did a lot yesterday because I was feeling good and I think I just wasn’t able to relax at the end of the day to get to sleep. My body is super sensitive too so any changes seem to make a difference for me.

        • I haven’t been able to find many people taking nortriptyline so it’s comforting to have someone in a similar situation to connect with. It’s 11 days since I went back up from 17 to 20 and a total of 3 weeks since I made the first change in my medication.

          It’s very frustrating to still be feeling poorly. It was easy to increase my dose my has been very difficult decreasing. Each day I keep thinking that it will be better (and it has improved somewhat), but I just want to feel like myself again.

    • I’ve been taking 125mg for the last 10 years. I had to go cold turkey because of a supply issue. I’m now just pushing through since I thought I should try to see what life is like without it. I felt amazing for the first few days too, but now am going through most of the symptoms listed. About 2 weeks in and am still very tired.

      • Nigel – hang in there! I’m also a couple weeks in (although I’m tapering so I’m sure you’re experiencing this x10!) and still feel symptoms. So sorry to hear that you’ve had to stop cold turkey. Be kind to yourself and patient, you’ll get through it.

    • I’m so happy you mentioned the chills. I’ve been hot/cold, hot/cold, hot/cold for days now! (I stopped the Nortriptyline last week.) I’m glad to know I’m not alone in this!

  18. I took Nortriptyline 30mg for 1 year to help with migraines. This wasn’t actually by choice, but a decision made for me by Peace Corps before I could be accepted to serve. Unfortunately the drug was a mess for me. I was constipated for the entire year, had low energy, still was experiencing migraines, and lastly gained weight easily.

    I decided to quit the drug and tapered off, 1/3 reduction per month. I have been off of the medication for one month now, but I have heightened anxiety. I can go to the bathroom normally, and I actually rarely get migraines now, but I have this lingering anxiety that is always there.

    I’ve also had some depression. I am hoping that this all resolves within the next two months. I’m so happy that I am off the medication, but I am not happy about this anxiety and depression. Low energy, difficulty sleeping, stressed out… I can’t wait for these side effects to be over.

    • I started taking 25 mg of nortriptyline 2 years ago and gradually ended up taking 75-100 mg for chronic migraines. The migraines never went away. I always had the lightheadedness upon standing up fast and gained all kinds of weight these past 2 years.

      I’ve noticed and so did other people that I’ve became more and more spacey and my memory is awful. I decided a couple months ago to start tapering off it. I went down to 75 for 2 weeks, 50 for 3 weeks and just started yesterday only taking 25 mg. Up until now the only side effect I experienced was crying too easily.

      Now I have started having chills even while sitting outside in 90 degree weather, feeling empty, headaches, fatigue and impatience. Until I read some of these posts I didn’t realize that it was the tapering making me feel this way.

      Maybe I went about it the wrong way or too fast so I’m going to stay on the 25 mg a couple more weeks and hopefully these symptoms will subside.

  19. I’ve only been on it for three weeks at 20mg and I cannot stand the stuff. I was Rx’d it for headaches and they made them worse. Made me dizzy. So I’ve stopped taking it. Some of the withdrawal symptoms are the same symptoms I had before I took them. Some of the withdrawal symptoms are the same as the side effects from taking it in the first place.

  20. I have been on a daily dose (20mg to start, 75mg the last year) of Nortriptyline about 10 yrs to prevent debilitating migraines that put me in the ER every month. My migraines were hormone-related so now that I’m post-menapausal it was time to move on without. I know now it was a dumb idea to go cold turkey but I’m 8 days in and determined to tough it out.

    I am experiencing nearly all the withdrawal symptoms listed in this article including dizziness, mild headaches, nausea, diarrhea, fatique and other flu-like symptoms all day long. (Add chills, last night.) Anger, moodiness, and restlessness, too. I’m not depressed and my sleeping patterns have not altered. I’ve dropped 5 lbs. and continue to push myself to exercise, eat small amounts of bland food and avoid changing my routine in any way.

    This is going to continue to be a challenge but I’m up for it. When I feel my worst I just remind myself this is what serious detoxing feels like and I know when I’m through it I’m going to feel better than ever because for 10 yrs I’ve endured dry mouth and constipation every single day. Looking forward to eating bananas again!!

  21. I’ve been on it for just about a year for severe vestibular migraines. I have an inoperable granuloma and several past concussions that may be the trigger, according to some Docs, but they cant seem to agree. Anyway, I started at 25mg and seemed to work for a while but then the headaches came back.

    So, over the year the docs just kept upping the dosage and up to 75mg. The headaches are back again and I’m over putting up with all the side effects. I had just about every side effect, hair thinning, 20lbs weight gain, constipation, urination problems, etc. I now have a decent rescue med, Imitrex, that I never had before and going to try that alone.

    I weaned myself down by 25mg every other week and took my last 25mg 8 days ago. It hasn’t been easy, sinus problems, headache, restlessness, can’t sleep, sweating one minute, freezing the next, can’t concentrate, every injury I ever had hurts. I’ve lost 10lbs but I’m not complaining about that. I’m retired and don’t work outside the home so I’m lucky. I couldn’t imagine having to work and go through this, kudos to those of you that are.

    It gets worse before it gets better but I’m sticking it out no matter what. Some solid advice? Reduce your intake over a longer period of time than I did if your dosage form allows it. I had 25mg capsules so I was kind of limited. STAY HYDRATED, don’t fight that feeling of thirst. Get up and move, vacuum the floor even if you don’t feel like it and it doesn’t need it.

    Take a warm bath for the aches and pains. If you get sleepy, sleep if you can, no matter the time of day. Finally, keep your doctor informed and don’t hesitate to call them. Good Luck to you all!! J

  22. I’ve been taking Pamelor for 100mg/day about 20yrs. I cut the dosage in half a week ago. I haven’t noticed any problems except difficulty getting to sleep. I probably should have only cut back a quarter instead of half. I still take all my other meds: Zoloft, Klonopin, and Neurontin. Maybe this is helping with my lack of symptoms. Any thoughts on this conclusion?

    • Hi Bob, from what I’ve heard, those other medications are probably mitigating your withdrawal. Glad to hear you’ve had an easier start than most of our peers. How have you been doing?

  23. I have been on it for 5 years for severe vestibular migraines. I weened down to 50 mg about a year ago from 100mg. I am currently quitting cold turkey from the 50 mg. So far I am on my 5th day and I am experiencing blurry vision and anxiousness.

    I am also having a hard time sleeping at night but feel tired during the day. Seems to be getting worse as the days pass. I’m so happy that no pain has emerged thus far from my migraine issues. Fingers crossed. Hoping this all passes within a month.

  24. I was prescribed Nortriptyline 25mg x 6 a night for pain and insomnia 10 plus years ago. Gradually my body has become accustomed to them (had very few side effects, awful flushes and dry mouth mainly). My doctor and I decided to take me off very gradually which we did. I’m feeling very poorly now but can cope with all except the nausea (I don’t so well will sickness never have).

    Have nausea medication helps a bit, flushes and dry mouth have eased somewhat. Took last tablet two weeks ago. I am 72 so am lucky in as much as I can rest when I need to and only need do what I want to do. I have very bad arthritis, had many surgeries including 4 hip replacements. The Nortriptyline helped a lot for many years, but pointless to keep taking when it stopped helping. I just wish I had been told when I started them what a pain they are to come off.

  25. I’ve taken nortriptyline for over 25 years at 150mg. I feel awful and cry at anything. Am dizzy and can’t drive. Need to lay down a lot. Quit cold turkey and was put on different medicine. Thank you for all of your comments. I know now going back on won’t help. Skin is tender and feels prickly, plus I have chills.

  26. I have been on nortriptyline for 15 years and slowly been withdrawing from it for over a year. I started with 25 mg and down to 19mg every other day for past three weeks. I am experiencing upset stomach, severe nausea, lightheadedness and difficulty thinking.

    • Hi Cat, I’ve been on Nort for 20 years and dropping slowly. I can tell you that through my many hours of research and interaction on forums most all recommend against every other day doses because one day your body gets too much and not enough the next. Doctors will recommend this because of the longer half life of the drug, but in reality, most people don’t respond well to that method so maybe that is why you’re struggling so much.

  27. I am currently in the process of quitting off of it a third time. I’ve been on Nortrip for a year and a half with a dosage of 100mg a night. I decided I needed to get off of it because it makes me feel like I never wake up and struggle to be productive throughout the workday.

    I got tired of being groggy all the time and being agitated constantly. I was taking it to prevent migraines which are triggered by lack of sleep. Each time I try to get off it gets the worst around Day 3-5 and I’ve never made it past 5 days (tonight I am on night 5).

    My withdrawal symptoms start out with sweating and insomnia. By day 3, the headaches start to kick in and the emotions from lack of sleep. After this I go through stages of nausea along with the sweating and headaches.

    The lack of sleep is kicking in and causing me to be emotional. This is usually when I give up.

    • Hi Ashley, sorry to hear you are struggling, I wrote a link above about tapering, this drug is much too potent and causes havoc with the nervous system when you abruptly stop. To lessen your withdrawal I would suggest dropping to 90mg for three to four weeks, then go to 80 mg. It might take a year or so but your chance of success will be much higher and you won’t crash your nervous system. Slow and steady will get you the success you want. I’m tapering myself right now albeit very slowly.

  28. My experience has been and continues to be horrible. I began taking Nortriptyline at my neurologists urging to help with neuropathic leg pain. It immediately caused sever dry mouth but I motored on and increased the dosage as recommended. I began to get pain relief after a few weeks but then developed swelling in my ankles and dizziness.

    I decided that was enough and decided to begin tapering off. But then the tinnitus/ringing in my ears hit. I tapered as slowly as I could being anxious to get off as soon as possible to stop the awful buzz saw inside my head, but it didn’t help. Altogether I took it for maybe a month and it’s been 4 months now since stopping and the screaming in my ears continues.

    It gets bad for 2-3 days and I get incredibly angry, irritable, anxious, depressed and even quite suicidal. I cry frequently. Then it gives me a little break for maybe a day before inevitability returning. I don’t know if the anger, etc is another lingering side effect of the drug or just a normal reaction to not sleeping and having a buzz saw screaming in my head 24/7.

    The ENT said it may go away eventually or it may not. I also still seem to have some dizziness on occasion as well. If it doesn’t eventually go away I will conclude that the drug did permanent damage to my brain. Regardless it has ruined my quality of life.

    I can’t believe this poison is legal. I told my neurologist who denied the drug caused the problems exactly what I thought of him and his attempt to cover his ass as well.

    • Hi Mike, I am sorry to hear of your struggle. I have had tinnitus increase on nortriptyline as well, and now that I am about to taper off it’s disappointing to hear it may not improve. However, I am hopeful that other improvements will come with time.

  29. I’ve been on Nortrip 150mg for 9 years for depression and neuropathy and my Dr’s nurse refused to refill it because she noticed I was on Wellbutrin (for stop smoking and more depression). I am having horrible side effects including wishing I were dead, anger, loss of appetite, irritability, confusion, diarrhea and horrible thoughts. I have cancer and my BMI is down to 15.

    I cannot afford this weight loss. I have been crying almost uncontrollably for days. I have an appointment today with the NP and if she doesn’t give me my refill, I am going to report this to the medical board. When you have cancer, who cares what you are on if it works? Sometimes we have to be our own advocate. I feel like I am going to die.

  30. I was on 25 mg daily of nortriptyline for 20 years. When I had been on it for a couple of weeks and it was making my symptoms (depression and anxiety) worse, my psychiatrist added .5 mg of klonopin. It was heaven. No more depression and anxiety and the only side effects were constipation, lowered libido, and a little weight gain.

    I remained stable at this level for, as I mentioned, 20 years. Then, depression crept in again. I increased my dosages to 35 mg of nortriptyline and 1 mg of klonopin and remained at this level for a year or two. I was okay, but not completely symptom-free, and studies were starting to link nortriptyline with impaired memory.

    I decided that I would probably just have to keep increasing my dosage to stave off depression and I wasn’t comfortable with the specter of no memory looming over me, so I started weaning off both medications. Almost two years later, at .5 mg of klonopin (my original dosage), I have severe anxiety in the early mornings.

    Generally, when I get up and exercise, it goes away completely, but I have had two periods of time lasting a month or two, set off by life crises, when my anxiety lasted all day. In August of 2016, I took my last dose of 10 mg of nortriptyline. I truly thought that it was having no effect anyway (I thought I was just chronically constipated) as I had not noticed any withdrawal symptoms going slowly from 35 mg to 10 mg.

    BUT, a week after I stopped it completely, I began to have horrendous withdrawal symptoms: profuse sweating, nausea, dizziness, crying spells, excruciating muscle pain, mood swings, and depression. The sweating, dizziness, and muscle pain tapered to nothing after a few weeks, but five months later the depression lingers and I still have periodic irritability, flashes of anger, crying spells, and mood swings (though not as severe).

    My sleep is mostly okay except I still awake at 5 or 6 o’clock with extreme anxiety, which I attribute to tapering the klonopin. It has been an incredibly painful experience, and as many of you know, the more so because of the difficulty of going through it while living with someone who, though very supportive, doesn’t have a clue what it’s like; I particularly hate subjecting him to irritability and anger flashes.

    I am determined not to go back on any anti-depressants, but I cannot fathom tapering the klonopin any more at this time. I am going to start a course of TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) in mid-February to try to resolve the depression. My advice to those who are starting this process is that you should taper slowly and be very, very patient.

    Everyone is different. Do not let anyone, including a doctor, tell you that you should be feeling better after a week or a month or five months. It will take the time it takes. The article above is so excellent and everyone’s comments have been extremely helpful, too. Good luck to you all.

    • Hi Barbara, I’ve been on a low dose of Nort for 20 years as well, you may have discovered this but you can’t jump off from 10mg to zero even though it seems low. The recommended is 10% reduction per month of your last dose, therefore to have success you would need to taper from 10mg to 9mg, then from 9mg to 8.1 mg etc every 4 weeks – that is how potent this medication is especially for people like you and I who have been on it for 20+ years. Email back if you want some specific tapering information and you can accomplish what you want.

      • When you went slow what were your side effects? I went to compounding pharmacy and got the liquid. I have been on Nort for 9 years at 10mg. so want to get off this but am very anxious.

        • Hi Cathi, some side effects are unavoidable, mainly just mild malaise, nausea, some increased sweating, some fatigue. The key is to go slow, 10% of the last dose every 4 weeks. Believe me I’ve tried a faster rate and always paid a heavy price and did not succeed so I’m sticking to low and slow.

          Keep doing what you can each day regardless of how you feel because it is temporary and will pass. If you drop too much at one time it can get overwhelming so I stick with small drops.

      • Rick, I am so grateful that you pointed this out. I was thinking I would reduce by 10% from the original dose with each stage. This makes more sense.

    • I quit cold turkey in December 2017 after 8 years at 50mg a day and didn’t have a clue about what I was in for. I also had severe depression upon awakening, and insomnia that caused me to awaken fully in the very early morning hours.

      Was very tough but now after 5 months I am doing a lot better, but there are still some tendrils of this drug that my brain is affected by, but thankfully it feels more like a memory now than a giant, oppressive reality.

  31. I’ve been on Nortriptyline since October 18th 10 milligrams and night for nerve pain. I upped it to 20 milligrams a week and a half ago and have just become aware that my blood pressure spiking higher than it has ever been ever like 170 over 100.

    With my blood pressure that high I’m considering just stopping it altogether although I could cut back to 10mg for a week. Since I’ve only been on it two and a half months can I just quit without the risk of too many side effects?

  32. I wanted to provide an update since my last post on 18 Nov 16. Since that time, I continued taking 10mg doses daily to mitigate the side effects. The good news, though, is that I managed to drop from 25mg to 10mg doses. Slight feelings of nausea, but really that was all that I noticed.

    I decided to seek the help of a General Practitioner back on 15 Dec to get help in reducing the dose. He suggested that I started taking doses every other day for a couple of weeks, then cut down to 10mg every three days for a couple of weeks, then every 4 days, etc. I went away on holiday on the 19th of December to the Canary Islands in Spain and on the first day, I had quite a lot to drink in the evening, and so decided to skip a dose.

    I had intended to start the tapering after the holiday, however, this started a pattern for me of taking the dose every other day. This has worked really well for me, with no apparent side effects. If anything, my libido is starting to come back and I am feeling OK. Sleep quality is not quite as good as previously, but I have also had a head cold, so that could have contributed.

    As of this week, I am now moving to taking 10mg every 3 days, and we will see how that goes. I will check back in and post again, however, so far, so good. I am delighted to embrace 2017 with the prospect of being free from this drug. Happy New Year to everybody, and please don’t give up hope. There is a path to safe withdrawal from this drug.

    • Hi Chris, I wanted to give you some insight on how you are dropping the Nort. Many forums that involve dropping doses highly recommend not skipping doses to reduce overall dose because it jars your central nervous system, one day you have too much next day not enough, a doctor may say it will reduce dose but could cause you problems and usually you won’t realize it until you are in bad withdrawal. I have been dropping by using water titration which is much smoother, good luck.

      • Hi Rick, Thank you very much for responding to me. I am now a week and 1 day without Nortriptyline and so now I will not be taking any more. The daily nausea is subsiding and my cardiovascular fitness at the gym is much improved. I am hoping that there won’t be any more side effects. It does go to show how little General Practitioners know about Nortriptyline withdrawal, and yet they are freely prescribing it. I will let you know how this goes for me. Once again – thank you.

  33. I was only on Nortriptyline for about 2 months because of lower back problems and I couldn’t believe how it took the pain away. Finally got a cortisone injection and I thought I was going to pull my hair out. I was very angry and expressive when any problems arose and my husband said I was a different person.

    I think it was the combination of steroids and Nortriptyline. Now I am weaning myself off the Nortriptyline and had problems sleeping the first two nights. I slept all through the night last night and feel great today.

    I think I was so exhausted I couldn’t stay awake if I tried. The reaction from combing both these drugs was anxiousness, anxiety and very impatient. It was horrible. I feel much better now that I am not taking it. Never again. It will get better. Just have to hang in there.

  34. I have been reading all of your comments for about an hour. I drank heavily 3 days ago and thought I had alcohol poisoning so didn’t take any of my meds for fear of my liver. Thank God I found this page. I have just taken 10mg of Nortriptyline after reading all of this.

    In the 3 days I didn’t take them I have been absolutely freezing then getting hot flashes. My bed and clothes have been soaking from sweating so much. Has anyone else had this?

    ? I thought I was having liver failure. I’m terrified to come off them now. I wish you all good luck on stopping these pills. I got given them to stop my codeine intake for chronic joint pain. Hopefully you can all post some good news when the withdrawals stop.

  35. I have been taking 40mg nortriptyline for over 3 years – I think it was to help upper body pain – which it didn’t help and my mood but over the years no one could reconfirm this. I was on slow release morphine at the time so I don’t really remember. I spoke to a doctor at the beginning of the year, as the side effects were affecting my job. If I missed a dosage, I would become flushed, sweaty, shaky and agitated – I work in a call centre and often miss it.

    Dr didn’t really listen to me about wanting to decrease, so I did it myself. I had a fair idea of what I’d be getting myself into as I’ve dealt with withdrawals from co-codamol, tramadol and slow release morphine. Feb 2016, I decided to drop by 20mg and I had flatulence, diarrhea, constipation and nausea. I also recall losing a bit of weight and being forced to take time off from work as it felt like a bad stomach flu.

    Admittedly, it did affect my mood but I didn’t say anything as I wanted to come off it. Now, after more pain with my hips and issues with my mood (I have been off work for 2 months). My doctor wants to put me on anti-depressants instead. So for 5 days I dropped by 10mg and today is my 3rd day without nortriptyline. I think these are the worst withdrawals by far!

    I have a constant thirst that won’t go away, sore eardrum, a constant headache (not even my co-codamol helps) feel nauseous plus the above toilet issues, unable to get to sleep & then only sleeping for 2 hours then waking up again and constant sweating/itching. To anyone who is going through it tapering works best and just keep pushing through, I’m hoping it will start to get better :)

  36. Following a triple ankle fracture, I developed Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CPRS) and sought the help of a pain management consultant. He put me on 10mg of Nortriptyline and scheduled me for a lumbar sympathectomy the following week, 2 injections in my lower spine to desensitize the nerves in my right foot and ankle. I reluctantly agreed to the procedure (which was unpleasant and didn’t make much difference) and when I told him that I was still having difficulty sleeping, he doubled my dose to 20mg.

    Within the first days of taking the drug, I felt very disassociated and spaced out. The pain specialist wrote to my GP to recommend a repeat prescription of between 10 and 40mg of Nortriptyline. She automatically prescribed 25mg’s and when my 10mg’s had run out, I started taking the 25mg tablets. I have been taking the medication since the beginning of September (so two and half months now).

    When I had a follow up with the pain consultant, I asked him the best way to come off the drug and he was very dismissive (arrogant actually) and told me I was on such a low dose, I could just stop taking it. A week ago, I decided to reduce the dose from 25mg to 10mg. I was OK up until yesterday when I noticed I was in a very bad mood. So last night, I decided to stop taking it completely. I woke up this morning with the most awful headache and feeling nauseous. I have had a splitting headache all day and the nausea is awful.

    I decided to Google the withdrawal symptoms and found this website. It is alarming and encouraging to read all of your journeys. I am determined to get off this horrible medication. Following my accident, I managed to get off 3 weeks of heavy duty morphine, then Dihydrocodeine (opioid pain killer) but nothing has been as bad as this.

    I will take 10mg tonight as the symptoms of withdrawal are too harsh and I have a heavy work schedule at the moment. I am glad I found this website and now know that I need to taper off slowly. Thank you to all of you who have shared your stories and I look forward to sharing another post, with more positive news.

  37. I’m a healthy 26 year old who has been taking Nortriptyline for a year. I take 100mg every night to help me sleep soundly throughout the night, migraine prevention, and as an anti-depressant. It’s been a miracle drug for me this past year. If I were to accidentally skip my nightly dosage, I will not sleep well.

    This past week I ran out and to make a long story short dealing with my neurologist and my pharmacy I was off of it for a week. I did not realize how bad the withdrawal symptoms would be and how it affected nearly every aspect of my life. I not only haven’t been able to sleep, but have been suffering from nausea, headaches, crying spells, anger, being over-emotional, stomach pain, feeling like I need to use the bathroom but can’t, lucid dreaming, hallucinations, and depression.

    I even had to call in sick to work. Please be warned from my story if you have to abruptly stop taking it, you may experience withdrawals like I did.

  38. Nortriptyline 25 milligrams a day for nerve pain for about 4 weeks. I’ve gone off cold turkey about 8 days. I have headaches, dizziness, nausea. I feel totally out of it like I can’t process or think well. I’m irritable, angry, and I just feel like I want to cry. My platelets are down to 100, and leukocytes at 20. How long does this last?

  39. 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

  40. 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!

  41. 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!

  42. 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.

  43. 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.

  44. 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.

  45. 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.

  46. 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

    • 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.

  47. 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!

  48. 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.

    • Hi leslie – I know that it’s been a while since you posted. I’m hoping that you get an email. I wanted to see how you are doing and if you are still off of nortriptyline. I’m tapering down now and have burning in my arms and hands. It sounds like your shingle type symptoms – did it go away?

  49. 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.


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