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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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{ 129 comments… add one }
  • Diane March 19, 2018, 2:53 pm

    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.

  • Christine March 18, 2018, 1:08 am

    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.

  • Heather March 8, 2018, 1:04 pm

    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?

    • Heather March 10, 2018, 2:05 pm

      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. :)

    • Heather March 15, 2018, 9:46 pm

      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.

  • AJ March 4, 2018, 6:23 am

    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.

  • Meg February 28, 2018, 10:01 pm

    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.

    • Heather March 8, 2018, 1:05 pm

      Hi Meg! How are you feeling these days? Are you still tapering off?

      • Meg March 17, 2018, 2:41 pm

        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!

    • Nigel March 13, 2018, 1:09 am

      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.

      • Heather March 16, 2018, 1:07 pm

        Hi Nigel – How are you feeling? I’m still struggling with my drop from 25 to 20mg.

      • Meg March 17, 2018, 2:46 pm

        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.

  • Nate February 27, 2018, 7:15 pm

    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.

  • Firebird7478 February 11, 2018, 2:56 pm

    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.

    • Heather March 8, 2018, 12:51 pm

      Hi Firebird, How are you feeling now? Have most of the withdrawal symptoms gone away?

  • Phyllis February 10, 2018, 6:52 pm

    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!!

    • Rhettsgirl March 7, 2018, 3:08 am

      How are you feeling? I’m thinking about taking the plunge myself. I wish you God’s blessings.

    • Heather March 8, 2018, 7:12 pm

      Hi Phyllis – How are you doing today? Have most of your symptoms passed after a month?

  • Jackie February 7, 2018, 4:25 pm

    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

  • Bob January 25, 2018, 1:14 am

    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?

  • Myrrh December 20, 2017, 12:48 pm

    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.

  • Wendy Paleschi March 26, 2017, 12:37 pm

    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.

  • Rose March 13, 2017, 1:20 am

    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.

  • Cat March 5, 2017, 10:26 pm

    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.

    • Rick March 13, 2017, 1:20 pm

      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.

  • Ashley February 23, 2017, 5:46 am

    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.

    • Rick February 28, 2017, 9:38 pm

      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.

  • Mike February 8, 2017, 8:42 pm

    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.

  • Amanda February 8, 2017, 1:47 pm

    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.

  • Barbara Payne January 25, 2017, 3:47 am

    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.

    • Rick February 13, 2017, 9:34 pm

      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.

      • cathi February 27, 2017, 10:54 pm

        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.

        • Rick March 13, 2017, 1:11 pm

          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.

  • Theresa Zumbusch January 3, 2017, 12:36 pm

    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?

  • Chris S January 2, 2017, 10:10 am

    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.

    • Rick January 10, 2017, 1:49 pm

      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.

      • Chris January 13, 2017, 7:56 am

        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.

  • Sally January 1, 2017, 9:34 pm

    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.

  • Laura December 29, 2016, 1:31 pm

    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.

  • Amy December 6, 2016, 2:07 pm

    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 :)

  • Chris S November 18, 2016, 8:15 am

    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.

  • Ashley November 16, 2016, 3:50 am

    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.

  • Vicki November 8, 2016, 5:42 am

    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?

  • 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

    • Rhoda March 14, 2018, 7:42 am

      Yes, it causes hair loss and thinning. Noticed this right away. It is a side effect of Nortriptyline.

  • 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?

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

    • Heather March 10, 2018, 1:06 pm

      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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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?

  • 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. :(

    • Tarah March 12, 2017, 4:10 am

      I ran out about 3 days after a pretty major elbow surgery, and have been in the throes of what I now know to be withdrawals. The cotton mouth is the ONLY side effect I had and it was fairly resolved with a lot of water and hard candies. The big cold turkey effects I’ve had have been profuse sweating (like I stepped out of of the shower and didn’t dry my hair off), sleeplessness and being really dizzy at times.

      I refilled my script today and just jumped back to 100mgs. If it doesn’t do it, I’ll go back to 150, but don’t want to be maxed out on this because of how well it’s treated my migraines. I went from 3-4/week to 1-2/month. Hang in there!!

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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…

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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…

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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.

    • Cassandra November 16, 2016, 9:35 am

      YES, David you sound like me. Except I’ve been more on the road to managing my pain and trying to ignore my crazy thoughts. This is not who I want to be anymore, I’m 34 and I’m so ready to get off the rollercoaster and if I’m at that point what will ten to twenty years from now look like. Or my biggest fear is my mom and rock passing away on me.

      Things as stupid as opening a stupid door can be hard. I try to stay positive but I hate myself so much and I don’t want God to take away my pain because I honestly feel I deserve this. Whatever you posted this a year ago anyway and are probably never gonna read this so I’m gonna stop blabbing and try to sleep again.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!?!?

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!

      • Sabrina Renfro March 26, 2017, 4:59 am

        I felt that way just after taking 1 pill of 25mg. I didn’t even want to move or talk and felt like a zombie – so I stopped taking them. I was given them for IBS.

    • Ser February 4, 2017, 11:46 am

      A liquid form is available for a slow and gradual reduction.

    • Myrrh December 20, 2017, 12:50 pm

      This is very helpful. I’m on my 5th day and it seems to be ramping up w/ withdrawal symptoms. I also am having hot flashes and sweating in spurts. Anxiousness, agitation, not sleeping that well and blurry vision. Hoping it passes within a month.

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