Amitriptyline (for non-MS patient)


I’m posing this question on behalf of my mum, who’s not an MSer, but has just been prescribed amitriptyline for unrelated neuropathic pain.

She’s been prescribed 10mg at bedtime, but took the first one, and was very groggy the next day - weak, couldn’t stay awake etc.

I’ve never been on it myself, so couldn’t advise her, but I know lots of you are, so can you tell me are these initial side-effects normal, and do they wear off? Is it worth persevering, in other words?

Also, does 10mg sound like a reasonable starting dose, or did some of you start lower? Do you think the problem might be that she’s started on too much?

Many thanks for any help,


Thanks for the prompt response, Kristylou, especially as you are a brand new poster!

I’m sorry to hear (your other post) that you’re not having a very good time at the moment.

MS does NOT make you a failure. You just have stuff to deal with that other people don’t have (let 'em try it for five minutres, and see how they’d get on!)

From what you’ve said, I’m guessing the amitrip isn’t working brilliantly for you - or have you found it did help a bit?

At least you’ve reassured me it sounds like Mum’s on the right dose. I don’t know whether to tell her to keep trying, or not, as she’s understandably very reluctant to take another one, after a bad experience the first time.

But at the moment, she is complaining of pain, has very little confidence, and is barely going out. She just sits at home, looking at old photos and crying.

If she won’t persevere with the medicine that’s been prescribed for her, I can’t see things getting any better.

Thanks again for answering,



Many years ago I had cluster headaches and when they were under control I also had 10mg at night. It took me several weeks to get less groggy but still didnt trust my abilities next day.

I now have 30mg because of my stupid legs ,and someone on here I saw ages ago suggested that people taking it should have it 12 hrs before they need to be up and functioning.I now have it at 8pm or earlier and my sleep is improved and im fine next morning.

well worth a try .If unsure I would get her to try it at a weekend or something but it solved my problems straight away.

All the best. Pip

Thanks Pip,

She’s well past pension age, so every day’s a weekend to her, but I might suggest she tries taking it earlier in the evening, so she’s less woozy in the morning.

She does tend to be up at the crack of dawn, out of over 40 years of habit, even though there’s no need for it any more. So she almost certainly hasn’t had a 12-hour stretch between taking it, and trying to function next morning.

I’ll tell her.

Thank you.


Hi Tina

I take 40ml at night and it helps with pain and spasms; I am one of the lucky people who have had no problems with and can truly say that it has helped me cope with this b… disease. I do know that younger people have said it makes them sleepy, and unable to think clearly. As I take mine at night; it helps me to sleep and can’t say I’m more dopey than normal!

It does make the mouth dry and I do have to drink more water as I believe it can cause constipation. As I take 4 and also have Butrans patches I have to drink a lot of water. Good luck to your mum, not everyone has the same benefits as myself.



no probs and if the person who made that original suggestion is reading this thank you off me too!!

Hi Tina

Sorry to hear your mum is not so good at the moment, hope she is better soon.

I take amytripiline at night and the Dr said the starting dose was 10mg but as I am not very tolerant of medication he said I could take half to begin with it. They did initially make me feel woozy but slowly I have managed to increase them and now I dont find them a bother. Could she perhaps give this way a try?

Hope this helps, take care



Amitriptyline is what my GP called - a good allrounder for many ailments. lt works as a anti-depressant - and helps with painful legs at night and needing the loo during the night. lt is used for children who bed-wet. l take 25mg - any more then l do feel a bit woozy just for a few seconds when l first get out of bed. lt would be worth your mum persevering - as l can imagine it would help with mood - as well as pain. l have been told l can take up to 50mg - lt is best to take an hour or two before going to bed - then the effect would wear off before you need to get up.

Just a thought - has your mum had her Vitb12 checked. This can cause problems for all of us. A deficiency would make her feel very low and weepy - and cause painful joints. So does magnesium.

Loved your post about the Za Za Bazaar restaurant - Perhaps one day l shall get to try it.



I take 10mg at night before I go to bed,sometimes double the dose up if my legs are particularly misbehaving! My GP said it was ok to do that. I have been on it now for about 7 years so well used to it. I can’t remember it making me feel drowsy but I reckon it has contributed to weight gain. Coincidently my mum has just been prescribed it for painful joints due to RA.

Hope your Mum starts to feel better soon.


PS thanks for the directions to the Za Za Bazar

Hi Pam & Frances,

Pam - yeah, I guess she could start off with half, if she’s really intolerant to the full dose.

Frances - she’s been sent for a blood test for something (several things, apparently), but she’s not sure what, because she can’t read what he’s written on the form. She thinks Vitamin D was mentioned (a topic dear to your heart, I know), but sounded like some other stuff as well. I suggested B12 was probably one of them. I think they’re also going to test for diabetes, because that’s a common cause of neuropathic pain in older people.

She’s now claiming she’s had it for years. But to be honest, I don’t know how much of this is psychological. She always used to walk, and go out places. So I tried asking her, today: “Well, if you’ve always had it, what has changed? Has it got worse, or what?”

She didn’t really seem to know, which makes me question whether there is any physical cause, or whether it’s just loss of confidence.

This all stems from when she broke her ankle very badly, a year ago, but she is saying the pain is NOT from the broken ankle (which doctors say has healed well) and is in BOTH feet. So I don’t know what to make of this. It doesn’t seem directly related to the original injury.

I find it all very difficult, because she was telling me herself about someone in a wheelchair, who is out visiting restaurants and galleries, and I read similar inspirational tales here every day. Yet Mum, who is NOT in a wheelchair, and doesn’t even use a stick, doesn’t seem to want to do anything. She’s just sitting there, raking over the past, and saying: “What is there for me?”

Well, I could do exactly the same, only I don’t consider I have that luxury. I can’t afford to get bogged down in the mire about how I used to be well, but now I’m not. And I’m 45, not 72, so I’ve got a lot more to feel short-changed about. I can’t indulge myself by sitting around, looking at old photos, and convincing myself how hard-done-by I am. Honestly, no wonder she feels rubbish, if that’s her coping strategy.

She hasn’t got any hobbies or anything.

I have to force myself to do stuff. Believe it or not, I didn’t want to go to Za Za Bazaar yesterday. But I knew it would get me out of the house, and would be something different, and would be better than sitting alone all day, ruminating that “Things aint what they used to be!”

And it was!

Mum can’t seem to see that she isn’t making herself any better by not trying.



Hi again Kristy,

Well, I do think the doc suspected depression, which is one of the reasons he’s prescribed amitriptyline - although not at the usual therapeutic dose for depression, but only for nerve pain. I guess he’s hoping there will be some dual effect, though.

We’ll have to see what the bloods turn up - perhaps they’ll show she’s deficient in something, and that’s why she doesn’t buck up.

I find it really difficult, because there’s quite a back-history with Mum and her “imaginary” illnesses. I find it impossible to tell, now, whether there is anything really serious going on, or whether most of it’s psychological.

It hasn’t helped since I’ve been ill, because hypochondria isn’t something I’ve got a great deal of patience with, these days. She’s been saying she’s “not long for this world” for over 20 years now. I suppose one day, it will be true, but she has well outlived my father (whom I thought would go on forever), and is not significantly more disabled than me, despite being nearly 30 years older!

Until the broken ankle, which admittedly was a setback, she’d rarely been in hospital, or had any significant health issue at all.

What’s the answer, eh? I dunno!