Amitriptyline is an antidepressant but because it causes drowsiness it is often used as a sleeping pill. I have had issues with sleep since I was 12 years old. I was even put on an antidepressant in college to help with my insomnia (it did not help me sleep and it caused limb paralysis) but I only took it a couple of times and then I was done with it. When I woke up and could not move my arms or legs I was flipping out. I decided to deal with my insomnia without medication back then.
In 2010 my insomnia had gotten so bad I was not sleeping for 36 plus hours twice a month. The sleep deprivation was worse than the pain. I am naturally clumsy but without sleep I was worse. I was walking into things, tripping over things and bumping into things all day long. I had so many bruises it was crazy.
What was worse was the effect it had on my brain. My memory was horrible! I had problems concentrating and finishing tasks. One of the funniest things is I was forgetting to take the medication I needed to take in order to fall asleep. So I would be up until 5:00 am and someone would ask why. I would have to say I forgot to take my medicine. That did not go over well with my family and friends.
Amitriptyline does help me sleep. When I was taking 150 mg it would knock me out to a point where I could not be awakened. I have been told stories of people trying to wake me up but it was like I was dead to the world. No matter what they did I would not wake up. At that dosage I would also stop breathing in my sleep. My fiance’ told me he counted me take five whole seconds in between breaths. He was not a fan of Amitriptyline.
Amitriptyline also helped with my mood. I found this out the hard way. There was a time when I started taking naps. I told myself that if I could fall asleep without medication in the middle of the day then I did not need medicine to fall asleep at night. I just stopped taking the Amitriptyline (I do not advise anyone every just quit taking a medication like I did. It was a very bad decision).
It only took a few weeks for me to fall into depression. I saw myself going to a bad place. Thankfully I was smart enough to tell my doctor what was happening. He put me back on Amitriptyline but he changed my dosage to 100 mg which didn’t knock me out the way it did at 150 mg. That was when I found out that Amitriptyline also helped with my pain. When I would take my pill before I went to bed it would stay in my system throughout the next day as a mood regulator and a pain reliever.
So what is the cost of this miracle of modern medicine? Amitriptyline dries your body up. When I say it dries you up I mean it takes all the moisture you have and sucks it out of you. Everything is dry (yes I mean EVERYTHING!). My throat would get so dry my tongue would stick to the top of my mouth. There were times when I couldn’t swallow because my mouth was not producing any saliva. Vitamin C drops and hard candy helped but they are a far cry from solving the problem.
Then there is my skin. I already had dry skin but Amitriptyline took my dry skin and turned it into the Sahara! My eczema went crazy. It started on my face and around my neck. Then it started creeping down my chest and in between my breasts. I also started getting dry patches on my back. Sometimes my back itches so bad I use whatever I can find to scratch it. That has led to me scarring my back with sharp objects like scissors. The itch must stop by any means necessary!
The worst result of Amitriptyline’s drying power is how it slows down the digestive system. Remember I told you that Tramadol causes constipation? Well I got the double whammy because Amitriptyline jumped right on that train. Some of the other medications I took probably helped cause my severe constipation too. Since I have come off of several of the medications I was taking my bowels move much better (That is why I don’t look pregnant in my most recent pictures). I am still on Amitriptyline right now so I still have to take Miralax and a probiotic to keep things moving along.
There are a couple of things that can help with the drying power of Amitriptyline. My sister passed on a tip from her mother-in-law. The 2 -in-1 shampoo and conditioner Head and Shoulders can be used as a body wash and it helps calm down eczema on your skin. I have found that baby products work too. Babies lose moisture quicker than adults so products made for them can add extra moisture to the skin. I use a two layer system. I wash with baby body wash and Head and Shoulders. Then I moisturize with coconut oil and baby lotion. I have to do it everyday, maybe even twice a day. I have found it to be helpful in my fight against alligator skin.
Join me for part V tomorrow.