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TOPIC: Amitriptyline and Weight Loss

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February 21, 2012 8:38 AM
Hi! For two months, I have been on amitriptyline for chronic tension headaches. It has definitely taken away the headaches, but the three top side effects are dry mouth, sleepiness, and weight gain. I am experiencing all three, although the dry mouth isn't too bad. I have faithfully logged my food intake and exercise output. I am staying within my targets, but have lost nothing - in fact, I have gained weight. I am also very tired all the time. I'm ready to go off amitriptyline and see if there is another way to be rid of these headaches. Any suggestions? Thank you kindly.
Edited by mjdempster On February 21, 2012 8:39 AM
February 23, 2012 8:28 AM
Sorry this isn't a suggestion, but I'm right there with you! I've been on amitriptyline for about 2 years for migraines and gained about 20 lbs since starting it and have been unable to lose the weight. No matter how hard I tried, the most I could lose was 5 lbs and it was discouraging so I quit trying for a while. This time around I think I am going to give up the amitriptyline and search for something that doesn't cause me to gain weight or feel tired all the time.
  17659016
March 5, 2012 8:06 AM
I've been on it for a year and a half and gained 15 pounds the first year. It just crept up and up and I wasn't doing anything different. Losing weight is a nightmare. I'm working out now 6 days a week (Jillian Michaels) and watching my food intake. I've lost five pounds in about two months. Drinking a lot of water seems to help.

I take it for head pain too and I want to find a more natural remedy.
March 5, 2012 8:12 AM
QUOTE:

Hi! For two months, I have been on amitriptyline for chronic tension headaches. It has definitely taken away the headaches, but the three top side effects are dry mouth, sleepiness, and weight gain. I am experiencing all three, although the dry mouth isn't too bad. I have faithfully logged my food intake and exercise output. I am staying within my targets, but have lost nothing - in fact, I have gained weight. I am also very tired all the time. I'm ready to go off amitriptyline and see if there is another way to be rid of these headaches. Any suggestions? Thank you kindly.


My honest suggestion- go talk to your doctor and get something else.

I've been on amitriptyline and found the fatigue intolerable. There are so many other things you can take for chronic tension headaches. It's just not worth putting up with negative side effects.

Also, for my tension headaches: Weight lifting has helped- but watch out for the shoulder work, because that can trigger a headache if you over-do it. "Meditation" has helped, mostly in the form of yoga. Icy hot on the shoulders and neck help me. Heating pads help. Hot baths help. Caffeine helps. And there are plenty of prescription meds you can get the won't cause fatigue/weight gain.
March 5, 2012 8:17 AM
I've been on Ami for a long time. I used to take 40mg per night to fight migraines. Unfortunately, it was near impossible to wake me in the morning. Now I take 10. I have no idea if the 40 contributed to my weight gain or not. The 10 does not seem to be causing me any trouble with weight loss. I've been on it since last year and I've lost 19.5 pounds since January 4th, when I first started really trying. I *did* have to add exercise. Diet alone did not work. Also, always take ami at night unless your doc tells you otherwise. Like I said, it's not causing me problems. But every body is different.

If this isn't changing, talk to your doc. There are other things you can take to hold off headaches. Ami is typically the least imposing, but there are others that might not have that side effect. Make sure you are blunt with your doctor about what the problems are and why you wan to change. Tell the doc you want something that will NOT interfere with weight loss. That will cut down tremendously on the options and narrow where they look.

HTH
  14436961
March 5, 2012 8:21 AM
Don't know if this will be helpful or not but I'm a low dose of amitriptyline (30mg) and it hasn't effected my weight. The food I've been eating has done that for me. I remember when I was on anti-depressants for depression I gained loads and loads of weight but it co-incided with a change of lifestyle (more junk food less exercise) though I was only able to be honest about that with myself some years later.

I agree you could talk to your doctor about trying something else if you believe amitriptyline is causing weight gain. If it's been effective for your pain then there's quite a lot of sister drugs you could try. Amitriptyline is cheap so they tend to go for that first. But your doc will I'm sure be supportive of trying something different if it means you can get to a healthy weight.

Here's a blog post with some alternative tricyclics and anti-depressants commonly prescribed for pain

http://chronicallyme.wordpress.com/2011/06/01/alternative-low-dose-anti-depressants-to-amitriptyline/
  8471931
March 5, 2012 8:25 AM
Nevermind... I thought this was going to be about dinosaurs.
March 5, 2012 9:25 AM
QUOTE:

Nevermind... I thought this was going to be about dinosaurs.



:))
  8471931
October 23, 2012 12:43 PM
Maybe you could try Topamax. It helps decrease your appetite, people usually lose weight on it. Although it isn't an anti-depressant, it is an anticompulsive. It GREATLY helped my chronic daily headaches (5+ a week down to maybe 1-2 a month), but I've been losing weight (I am underweight to start) and it made me a bit emotional like I was super-PMSing all the time, so I'm switching to Amitriptyline, hopefully I gain some weight and it helps my headaches just as topiramate did. Also hope I can beat the fatique...
October 23, 2012 12:48 PM
Yeah, I was going to suggest Tompomax. It definitely has a side effect of weight loss. BUT, it can cause memory loss and other unpleasant side effects.
  20883166
October 23, 2012 1:19 PM
Never took amitryptiline, but I took Topamax for several years. It didn't completely eliminate my headaches, but it slowed them down considerably. Maybe once or twice a week instead of all the time. I can guarantee you will not gain weight on it! My doctor increased my dose at one point and I literally got to the point where I would forget to eat.

One thing with Topamax though is it can cause brain fog and I definitely had a tendency of stuttering and not being able to find the proper words for what I wanted to say in conversations.
  31034879
October 23, 2012 1:22 PM
I use Sumatriptan when I get migraines. Maybe that could help. It's not a preventative, but it takes mine away within 30 to 60 minutes.
  29830396
October 23, 2012 1:24 PM
Amitriptyline was the very first anti-depressant on the market and doctor's quit using it for that becuase it made people sleepy. So, my point is, there are other medications out there that work other than an "anti-depressant" to treat chronic headaches. I personally use Relpax (used for migraine treatments mainly) and it doesn't have any of the side effects that Amitriptyline does. It's a new drug on the market so it may be difficult to have your doctor prescribe it, but discuss with him/her the issues you're having with your current situation. There are ALWAYS other medications - it's just getting your doctor out of his/her comfort zone to actually prescribe something other than what they "like to give their patients".
October 23, 2012 1:28 PM
Ok .. .This may not sound like it makes sense but you are going to have to trust me and give it a try . I have been on 25mg Amitriptyline for 2 years now . The first year I was having the same issues until I found a blog noting different side affects with each Generic maker. I switch from Mylan Pharmaceuticals from Walgreen's to Qualitest Pharmaceuticals from Target .. Big difference. Not tired the next day and I didn't get the munchies like I did with the Mylan ( I felt like a was stoned - Where are the brownies ) . Trust me .. its worth looking into . If you want more info or want to discuss friend me . .
October 23, 2012 1:30 PM
QUOTE:

Hi! For two months, I have been on amitriptyline for chronic tension headaches. It has definitely taken away the headaches, but the three top side effects are dry mouth, sleepiness, and weight gain. I am experiencing all three, although the dry mouth isn't too bad. I have faithfully logged my food intake and exercise output. I am staying within my targets, but have lost nothing - in fact, I have gained weight. I am also very tired all the time. I'm ready to go off amitriptyline and see if there is another way to be rid of these headaches. Any suggestions? Thank you kindly.


A couple of years ago I was getting migraines 1-3 times per week and the days I didn't have a migraine I had a tension headache. I was convinced I had something very wrong going on in my brain because I ALWAYS had a headache. I went to see a neurologist who told me to STOP taking headache medication because taking that everyday actually causes chronic tension headaches. I slowly lowered the daily dose of over the counter medication until I took none and the daily headaches went away. I also stopped drinking soda (diet and all). Now I might get 4-5 migraines per year. When I get one I take a prescribed sleeping pill and sleep through it, I always wake up feeling better, pain pills do not get rid of migraines for me. I hope this helps.
October 23, 2012 1:50 PM
bump for tips
  13382740
April 10, 2013 1:28 PM
So I started taking Amitriptyline back in 2008 or 2009, for nerve pain in my legs. Worked my way up to 100mg a night which I took at bedtime and could sleep for 12 hours without trying. I also started to gain weight and the more I tried to diet and exercise teh more depressed I became because nothing was working. I ended up gaining almost 45 pounds since starting the drug. Every time I went into my doctor she would comment about the weight gain and assumed it was because I was being lazy or over eating (which the craving for sweets is almost uncontrolable but that is another story). Anyway about 6 months ago we cut teh dosage in half. I started Jenny Craig in Feb and also have a body media bug on my tracking my steps, sleep patterns, and calories burned as well as faithfully log every thing I eat or drink. I lost about 8 pounds in the first 4 weeks and since that, nothing. I will be going to my doctor on Monday with 2 months worth of data to say I am burning more calories than I am consuming.... I want off this drug now. I think I will risk dealing with the nerve paid over feeling fat, bloated and depressed all the time.
April 10, 2013 1:34 PM
A huge part of my weight gin was due to Amitrityline. 40 pounds in about 6 months. I was on it for psychiatric reasons, but you can ask your doctor about Topamax. It has a slew of side effects but is often prescribed to treat migraines. Imitrex is another one.

The weight started coming off easier after Ami. You can do this!
April 10, 2013 1:40 PM
I also never took Ami but I do use Imitrex for migraines and that works for me. Good luck! wink
June 25, 2013 10:25 AM
So, just to update from my post in April- I took all of the info I had to the doctor; calories in, calories burned, etc.... her response was "well, you won't burn as many calories walking as you did when you were a dance, you just need to keep working harder at losing. I don't know how accurate the body monitor is you are wearing...” I could show her that over the course a few months of tracking calories I should have lost twice as much as I did. Between February and June 15, I had lost 14 pounds and the bulk of that was in the first month and a half

I finally went off the Amitriptyline in full on the 15th of June (after weaning down with my doctor from the 100mg dose over the past 6 months). I don't know if these results are typical or not, but I lost 3 pounds the first week, even eating crappy and not following my diet too closely. Still walking my 10,000+ steps a day and ate healthy for the most part, but there were cookies, and a frap from Starbucks. As of this morning, I was another pound down despite having a steak dinner last night. I lost more weight in 9 days than I did in the prior 2 months.

Fortunately the nerve pain isn't coming back and I have had some withdrawal symptoms (headache, nausea, being a little sad) but the fact that I can see the weight starting to come off is enough to make me suffer through those.

Here’s hoping it continues to keep going down.
June 25, 2013 11:07 PM
QUOTE:

So, just to update from my post in April- I took all of the info I had to the doctor; calories in, calories burned, etc.... her response was "well, you won't burn as many calories walking as you did when you were a dance, you just need to keep working harder at losing. I don't know how accurate the body monitor is you are wearing...” I could show her that over the course a few months of tracking calories I should have lost twice as much as I did. Between February and June 15, I had lost 14 pounds and the bulk of that was in the first month and a half

I finally went off the Amitriptyline in full on the 15th of June (after weaning down with my doctor from the 100mg dose over the past 6 months). I don't know if these results are typical or not, but I lost 3 pounds the first week, even eating crappy and not following my diet too closely. Still walking my 10,000+ steps a day and ate healthy for the most part, but there were cookies, and a frap from Starbucks. As of this morning, I was another pound down despite having a steak dinner last night. I lost more weight in 9 days than I did in the prior 2 months.


Fortunately the nerve pain isn't coming back and I have had some withdrawal symptoms (headache, nausea, being a little sad) but the fact that I can see the weight starting to come off is enough to make me suffer through those.

Here’s hoping it continues to keep going down.


Wow I'm glad I found this topic because I was just put on Amit and I've lasted 5 days and I won't take another pill. My doctor won't give me pain killers because he says they are addicting but he'll put me on a drug that makes me like I'm in a coma on a good day. Sometimes doctors think they know it all but the truth is all they know is arrogance if you don't have the right doctor. I can't believe how much it made me sleep and it made me feel like I was in a fog. The one night I slept for 17hrs only getting up to go to the bathroom. I told him I couldn't take it because I had tried it before but he said I'll give you the lowest dose you'll be alright. I don't care what he says I'm not taking it again end of story.
  43078809
June 26, 2013 8:31 AM
I saw several post on here talking about Topamax. I would like to share my experience with it. My neurologist prescribed it for me about 4 years ago because I get daily migraines. I was on it for three months before begging him to take me off. Turns out I wasn't on it long enough to have to be weaned off. That was the good part.

The bad part was that I had every listed side effect, including brain fog, stuttering, not being able to think of words, interrupting conversations without realizing it, making inappropriate comments without realizing I was doing so, etc. I also gained weight on it. But the absolute worst side effect for me is that it destroyed my immune system. For almost 3 years after taking it, I caught everything that went around. My doctor had never seen so much of me as during that time. We have been working on building me up again and hopefully it will work. I still don't allow any of my grandchildren around me when they are sick because I can't afford to be back in the hospital.

I know that doesn't happen for everyone but it did for me.
September 22, 2013 2:55 PM
I thought i was the only person gaining weight....I been on Amitriptyline for about 6 months and gained about 10-13 lbs. I continue to eat the normal amount however, the scale continues to go up...I am so scared that i total went off it and i rather have a headache everyday than gain weight. I just wondering how long it is going to take to lose the 10 lbs, since i already lost 3 lbs since i stopped taking it.

Please help me!smile
September 22, 2013 3:15 PM
Oh gosh, been there, done that! For me, it made me crave sweets uncontrollably! Topamax has been found to work as well as a preventative with the added benefit that it tends to lead to weight loss. I couldn't bear it though, because of the brain fog and difficulty finding the words I wanted to use during conversations. Led to some awkward conversational pauses, that's for sure. I don't take any migraine preventative anymore - I got tired of being on a bunch of meds and just weaned myself off with a 'let's just see what happens' attitude. Fortunately I got away with it, and now just take a rescue if I need it.

Definitely speak with your doctor. I'm linking the study on Topamax vs. amitriptyline here. I find it helpful to bring published studies when I am trying to persuade my doctor to try something else! Good luck!!

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19393844
  37322274
September 22, 2013 3:18 PM
QUOTE:

I thought i was the only person gaining weight....I been on Amitriptyline for about 6 months and gained about 10-13 lbs. I continue to eat the normal amount however, the scale continues to go up...I am so scared that i total went off it and i rather have a headache everyday than gain weight. I just wondering how long it is going to take to lose the 10 lbs, since i already lost 3 lbs since i stopped taking it.

Please help me!smile


The good news is, the weight does come off once the medication is discontinued. I don't know how long it will take to lose all of it - I imagine you will need to track your calories and eat at a slight deficit until you get there, if you want to be sure.

How are your headaches since you stopped taking it?
  37322274

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