What has been your experience of Amitriptyline as an aid to M.E. symptom management? | 20 November 2018

November 20, 2018


Dr Charles Shepherd, Hon. Medical Adviser, ME Association.

The current information leaflet.

I am currently in the process of updating the ME Association information leaflet that covers all aspects of the use of low dose amitriptyline in the management of M.E.

Amitriptyline is a long-established drug that affects brain chemical transmitter systems and was initially used to treat depression.

Can help relieve pain and provide for better sleep…

Q17 Pain Management 2010 MEA Survey.

At much lower doses than used for depression, amitriptyline has been found to be helpful.

For some people it can reduce pain (muscle, joint and nerve and IBS type pain) and improve disturbed sleeping patterns.

These symptoms can occur in a wide range of medical conditions – including M.E.

…and for migraine relief.

Q18 Sleep Management 2010 MEA Survey.

Amitriptyline has also been used to help prevent migraine-type headaches occurring. Migraine-type headaches are more common in M.E.

The 2010 MEA Management Report indicated that some people do find it helpful for pain relief and/or sleep disturbance.

But others do not, and it can cause unpleasant side-effects. So, this is another ’try it and see’ approach to symptom management.

If you have any experience – positive or negative – of using amitriptyline for pain, sleep, or any other symptoms, please let us know using either the comments section below or via the MEA Facebook page.

Thank you.


The ME Association Christmas Appeal

More Research for M.E. in 2019

If you would like to support our Christmas Appeal, which aims to raise vital funds for more biomedical research in 2019, then please:

  • Visit our JustGiving Page to start fundraising or to make an online donation,
  • Send a cheque payable to The ME Association (with a note saying that it is for the Christmas Appeal) to ME Association, 7 Apollo Office Court, Radclive Road, Gawcott, Buckinghamshire, MK18 4DF.
  • Make a donation by card over the phone to head office (01280 818964).

For more information, visit the Christmas Appeal page of our website.

ME Association Registered Charity Number 801279


4 thoughts on “What has been your experience of Amitriptyline as an aid to M.E. symptom management? | 20 November 2018”

  1. I was given amitriptyline about 25 years ago – no effect.
    Approx 15 years ago I was supplied (private doctor) with 10mg(?) tablets to help with sleep – “Cut in half if necessary.” – no help with sleep, and side effects meant I couldn’t continue to use them.

  2. I have had ME for 17 years but relapsed badly 18 months ago. I am now mostly housebound, but get out occasionally on my mobility scooter or with a wheelchair. After 6 months of very poor sleep (falling asleep fine but waking in the middle of the night and the pain preventing me from going back to sleep) I asked to be prescribed Amitriptyline 10mg to start, has been increased to 20mg. I was worried about taking it as I am sensitive to other medications/ painkillers and alcohol. I have had no adverse side effects and the improvement in my sleep has been significant. I’ve gone from 4-6 hours broken sleep at best to 6-8 hours much better quality sleep. If I wake in the night the pain is still there but I am compelled to go back to sleep. In the morning I still do not feel refreshed having slept, but the Amitriptyline does not leave me feeling groggy and I am grateful to escape the pain and sleep well for a few houses. My symptoms have not improved, I am still just as disabled by ME but no longer being awake half the night is a massive benefit.

  3. Low dose 5-20mg ca1998
    1st I suffered the regulation side effects – grogginess, dry mouth etc., poor recall.
    2nd felt high, best for years mentally, but somewhat wired
    3 Massive increase in ME symptoms – fatigue, pain, muscle symptoms.

    Low dose 10 years ago
    Caused/intensified depressive feelings

    Low dose 3 years ago
    General grogginess, drugged up feeling, worsening of ME mental impediments.

    Overall not a great experience.

    (Most l antidepressants have shown remarkably quick onset, if effective, followed and/or accompanied by bizarre side effects and/or intensifying of ME symptoms. St J Wort and Trazodone probably best tolerated in me).

  4. I came off all perscribed medication Amitriptyline 5 mg knocked me out cold, my feet could have been set alight and I wouldn’t have felt it, Gamapentine added to the tiredness and only took the edge off the pain I sounded drunk or stoned this was not acceptable when interacting with the public. I am researching alternative therapies for me it’s a case of trying and see if I can benefit from them.
    My experience is people in general know nothing or very little about this illness and I am sick of explaing myself to others, does anyone else feel this way?

Comments are closed.

Shopping Basket