I was originally prescribed amitriptyline as a sleeping aid. I quickly decided that this was not a treatment for me as I shall explain a little later in this post.

Amitriptyline Hydrochloride

Primarily an anti-depressant drug, Amitriptyline is marketed under a number of brand names including Elavil, Tryptanol, Endep, Elatrol, Tryptizol and Trepiline. It is a tricyclic antidepressant which inhibits serotonin and noradrenaline in the brain.

Approved Use

Amitriptyline is approved for the treatment of endogenous depression and involuntary melancholia.

Unapproved Use

Amitriptyline is also an effective pain-reliever and sleeping tablet and has many unapproved applications including:

amitriptyline
Sleeping Pills

Side Effects

It appears that Amitriptyline has an extensive list of possible side-effects which can include:

  • Headaches
  • Constipation
  • Drowsiness
  • Upset stomach
  • Anxiety
  • Hot Flushes
  • Dry mouth

Refer to the links below for a more comprehensive list.

From my own experience, the drowsiness was the factor that precluded the long-term use of Amitriptyline. I was prescribed this drug for irritable bowel stomach pain which it did help with. However, the usual MS brain fog got so bad that I could not function. The fog was a zero-visibility low-cloud, I didn’t know what day it was and, had I tried, I probably couldn’t have tied my own shoelaces.

At the time I was working so this side-effect could not be tolerated. I subsequently spoke with my mother who also has MS and she described exactly the same outcome. My GP has since suggested it as a sleeping aid and I, not surprisingly, turned Amitriptyline down.

I still, many years after this experience, have problems sleeping. My GP tried me on Nortriptyline which I found far less effective at inducing sleep but equally effective at exacerbating my brain fog. I am now taking Temazepam which is considered quite addictive but it does seem to knock me out without leaving me incapacitated the following day. I have found Temazepam quite good but, extended use does seem to reduce its efficacy. I had started with 5mg tablets, raised this to 10mg after a few months and and now on 20mg.

References

Medline Plus

Amitriptyline on Wikipedia

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2 thoughts on “Amitriptyline an ineffective pain reliever for MS sufferers

  • September 19, 2015 at 1:36 pm
    Permalink

    I’m on this drug mainly for pain management
    Although pretty ineffective,I can relate to your excellent blog

    • September 20, 2015 at 6:29 am
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      I found Amitriptyline too soporific to the point I could not function the day after I had taken it. My mother who also has MS reports the same side-effect.

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