Nortriptyline for Chronic Pain

Nortriptyline, part of the class of drugs known as tricyclic antidepressants, is often used as a preventative to fight chronic pain.

Obviously, as an antidepressant, it’s commonly used to treat symptoms of depression.  It works in the chemicals of the brain by inhibiting the reuptake of norepinephrine (noradrenalin) and serotonin.  It’s commonly sold under the brand names Aventyl, Pamelor, Norpress, Allegron, Sensoval, and Nortrilen.

But nortriptyline hydrochloride (commonly misspelled as nortriptilyne) has long been used for a variety of other conditions.  Some commonly go along with migraine, such as irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, and TMJ disorder.  But it is also used to treat chronic pain, particularly the pain of migraine and tension-type headache, but also cancer pain and arthritic pain.

Sometimes nortriptyline is given along with gabapentin (Neurontin) for certain types of pain.  Gabapentin is an anti-convulsant, also prescribed for migraine prevention.

Many drugs in this class are very common in migraine treatment.  If your doctor prescribes one, it doesn’t mean that she thinks you’re depressed – though they may be used for migraine with depression as well.

Usually your doctor will start you on a low dosage, and raise it slowly.  As is common with migraine treatment, you may need to try it for three months before you can really tell if it works for you.  Side effects may diminish over time as well.

Important notes:

This is not likely to be the first drug your doctor will try.  Although it the side effects are usually mild, there are still more concerns with this type of drug than with other treatments.

First, be sure you’re working with a doctor who knows your medical history.  Nortriptyline can interact with some drugs, and make some more powerful, which can be dangerous.  Particular caution needs to be taken if you’ve used a MAO inhibitor drug in the past.  Also, if you have any history of seizures or heart conditions, your doctor will probably want to look elsewhere for treatment.

Your doctor will also want to monitor you carefully for the first while, particularly if you have any history of depression.  Younger patients (ie teens and young adults) have been known to experience suicidal thoughts early on in the treatment.

However, as I’ve said, side effects are usually mild.  These include sleepiness, confusion, dry mouth, constipation (particularly in older adults), and visual problems (including increased sensitivity to light).

Patients that stop taking nortriptyline for migraine often do so because it makes them sleepy.  But do discuss the side effects carefully with your doctor – they may diminish or change over time.

That being said, nortriptyline has helped many patients with chronic migraine and tension-type headache.  Other good news is that there’s not a high risk of dependence as with some other drugs, and you may be able to take a lower dosage if you’re not being treated for depression as well.

Key points to remember

If your doctor has prescribed nortriptyline, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • This is a common treatment for migraine and chronic pain.
  • Be patient; give it three months before expecting a big change in your symptoms.
  • Be sure your specialist knows your medical history (particularly a history of heart problems or seizure), and knows about all the drugs and supplements you’re taking.
  • Talk to your doctor about the side effects you experience – even if they change over time.
  • Don’t change your dosage or stop taking the drug without talking to your doctor.
  • If it’s not effective, don’t give up – there are many other options!

More on nortriptyline from

Be Sociable, Share!
78 comments… add one
  • Christine May 18, 2010

    Yes! I take this and have for years, for migraine. For 20 years I woke up everyday with a headache, and when my doctor put me on a low dose of Nortrip. these headahes vanished! I only take 25mg/bedtime and have not had any bad experiences with the side effects. I have since also been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, so I am thinking this Nortrip. is helping that as well. PLUS I love the fact that Notrip. is one of the $4 medicines available at WalMart 🙂

    • James Jun 23, 2010

      Nothing like an inexpensive medication that actually works for you! 🙂

  • RhondaL Jun 17, 2010

    Just a heads-up, I took Nortripyline for about a year and gained a lot of weight on it. So, that’s something to ask the doctor about.

    • James Jun 21, 2010

      Yes, weight changes are a possible side effect of Nortriptyline. In other words, gaining or losing. But it’s not as common as some of the other side effects.

  • Melinda Jun 21, 2010

    Thanks, James! I’ve had migraines for about 10 years and transformed migraines for over 4. When I met my current neurologist, I was experiencing what felt like the same headache for 6 weeks straight. He switched Neurontin for Topamax, and when I lost a great deal of weight, he suggested we try Nortriptylin. We’ve leveled off at 40mg daily–also taken at bedtime–and except for accidental food triggers, I have been blessedly pain-free.

    • James Jun 23, 2010

      That’s great! And how are things going with the food triggers? Are you able to avoid them?

      • Melinda Jun 23, 2010

        I have a pretty good handle on the food, although it took me years to really get it. I’m a textbook tyramine case, but I think of it as “aged protein”–no nuts, no cheese, no deli meat, no leftovers. Of course it’s more complicated than that, but it makes it easier to explain to waiters and coworkers.

    • Steve Sep 3, 2017

      What happens when you eat these food triggers. I am on this drug to get rid of a chronic tension headache. I never though food would be an issue. Don’t think I ate something that triggers anything yet.

    • Beverly Sep 24, 2017

      I started Nortriptyline and Topiramate years ago through my neurologist at Kaiser. For horrible Migraines affiliated with chronic neck pain . I am a 20 year chronic pain patient and take Morphine daily for that but have had surgery x 2 for c-5-6 first time Dr didn’t put clamp in and graph collapsed. 11 months later I was having same surgery and then I had double scar tissue build up. Then headaches and Migraines started after that. They started slowly increasing these meds. I had never had a problem with weight but am wondering now which if these is the culprit. I still have Migraines that I have had Dry needling in Physical therapy for my migraines and they help immediately. Only problem is Insurance refuses to pay and I cannot go pay for it myself without referral along with physical therapy. I took full advantage again when I went for my knees to get this done and paid for the therapy because I had a referral for pt for my knees and one for my Neck.

  • Scott Nov 23, 2010

    Just started taking this medication for sleeplessness due to chronic back pain.. Also have suffered from Migraines in the past.. I hope this will provide the relief and sleep needed to regain my normal daily routine..This is a substitute for the more addictive and less afffective valium and xanax taken in the past..Any opinons or similar cases would be appreciated on the effectiveness of this drug..Thanks..

    • Phyllis Roberts Sep 28, 2017

      Does this medicine ….nortriptyline make you gain the weight or is everybody different in that area?

    • nancy Feb 12, 2018

      have been on nortriptyline for about 1yr for migraines & insomnia..titrated up to 40mg for awhile..back to migraines, good sleep..can be fuzzy sometimes, not to bad. have gained a few part is my sleep, this medicine seems to be used for lots of conditions.

  • marylyne May 27, 2011

    My doctor just put me on Nortriptyline today 10mg I have been throwing up and very tired the next day. Is this expected, and I am concerned about gaining weight on this drug even though it is a low dosage.

  • Sarag Jun 25, 2011

    I have been taking Nortriptyline for about a year now for migrane prevention. I am taking 20mg a night, and found that my migranes diminished completely. I tried to lower the dose myself, and started taking 10mg a night, and learnt after about 6 weeks of doing this dose that it was too low, as the migranes returned. I have not put weight on taking it, so it is fantastic for me

  • trina Dec 24, 2011

    i have been dealing with migranes for years and have tried several medications with little help or no help. i am now taking nortriptyline 25mg and the doctor wants me to increase up to 75mg in about 3 weeks. but i also have anxiety and depression and take cymbalata 60mg. i have read up on nortriptyline is given for depression /anxiety too. so i am wondering if i can stop taking cymbalata and just take nortriptyline. i am 31 years old and take enough rx medications. i do have appt to see and talk to my doctor about the possible change too. but i just wanted someone’s opinion before then.


    • Kelly Vickroy Jan 27, 2018

      I have this same question!

  • Sarah Dec 28, 2011

    I have just gone back on Nortriptyline, after going off it and trying topamax, as i also have a tremour which I thought I could kill two birds with one stone by using topamax. The side effects I haad on topamax were just not worth it. Nortriptyline is just a godsend for me with my migranes, so I am sticking to it now

    • MARGO Nov 7, 2013

      I had a terrible reaction to topamax, it irritated my stomach so much I ended up with severe gastritis. I am now on 10mg of nortriptyline for the migraines. I have been on it for three weeks but have not seen a great decrease in frequency of headaches but they are not as dibilitating as before so hopefully as I am on it longer I will see a decrease in the headaches. The quality of life goes down the drain for those of us aflicated with these headaches.

  • Jocelyn Mar 12, 2012

    Have anyone taken this Med for MS pain?

    • kazinmich Jul 26, 2012


      I take this for my neurological pain caused by MS. I get the tingling, burning, twitching sensations down my arms and in my face/neck that drive me insane. Since taking this – 50mg at bed time – my neurological feelings have been gone. The only time they act up is if I push myself too hard or get too stressed. I also no longer have migraines, so this has been great for me!

      • dale Sep 28, 2012

        is anyone still paying attention to this forum everytime I find one that has somewhat to do with me, noone replies.

  • pam Apr 21, 2012

    I was taking nortrip. And had the worse dreams ever. So I stop taking it .Now I have nerve pains in my legs. Arms and hands . What to do….

  • Elnora Apr 25, 2012

    Nortriptyline has been more or less a miracle drug for me. Before I started it, I was getting headaches every single day and severe migraines 2-3 times a week. Within a few days of starting the drug, the daily headaches were gone and the migraines reduced to maybe once a week. When I do get them, they are less severe and respond better to triptans. I gained some weight on the nortriptyline and tried to reduce the dose, only to have the headaches come back. I upped the dose and the headaches went away again. Now, I don’t care about my weight…’s an acceptable trade off for the pain relief. Even better, my month’s supply of the drug only runs me about 4 dollars. I highly, highly recommend nortriptyline to anybody suffering from chronic migraines and daily headaches.

  • kim Jun 14, 2012

    im currently taking Nortriptyline. i think its making me depressed. i was so angry at myself a day i thought of stabbing myself with a knife&i till cant get it off my mind. i just feel like hurting myself. my doctor recommended it for headaches. is it possible that d medication is causing a bad side effect on me.

    • KT Jun 15, 2012

      Kim I read that feelings of self harm can be a side effect, you should definitely talk to your doctor asap. Make sure you are near someone who can look out for you while you’re feeling like this. Don’t listen to those feelings you’ll be ok just go and see you doctor. Take care!

  • Jane Jul 25, 2012

    I have severe osteoarthritis, stenosis and bulging disks at L 4-6 and have just been started on Nortrip. Has this been of help to anyone else with back problems?

  • Stavesacre Aug 12, 2012

    I have been taking this drug for about 3 months for testicular pain , and the pain is gone I take 50mg at night , I also have had terrible migraines as well and I have no pain , happy happy(;

  • Cher Aug 31, 2012

    I am taking numerous medication, I mean numerous. Some for back pain, neck pain, depression, headaces, anxiety, knee pain and fibromyalgia. A close friend told me about this medication. I am going to my doctor to ask her about this. I will let you guys know what happens. I am so excited. If I can take one pill instead of these others that are addicting, I will be so happy and hopefully, painless or at least in less pain. Cher

  • dale Sep 28, 2012

    I have been going to therapy and the therapist recommended I have primary physician perscrribe me an anti depressant. I didnt have great results with celexa or cymbalta so I am starting Nortriptyline at bedtime tonight. Also I have been having very flush feeling face, migraines, dizzyness, annyoying numb right foot very often, faint feeling when I go out in public or to work.I have had the migraines for alot in life but everything else seem to intensify after loss of my father. I had had many tests MRI, cardivascular test, ekg. cspine xrays, bloodwork done on a few instances and everything comes back ok or normal so they say But I have missed more work FMLA etc for these symptoms. I do visit a chiropractor for pinched nerves, go to therapy, on blood pressure meds and gabapentin, seen a neuro surgeon. I dont know what more i can do but i dont believe these numbness and faint feelings are just in my head.

    • Cris Aug 2, 2016

      dale, gabapentin made me feel the same way so I stopped taking it!

  • Leslie Oct 10, 2012

    I have a history of back problems since I had surgery (laminetomy L-4-5) 21 years ago.I started getting sharp pain into my groin area and went through the whole mess again with MRI’s ect. I was told my pain is from my back although I do have arthritis in my hip.My Dr. put me on Nortriptyline(25mg.) I was wondering if there are other people with chronic back pain who have tried this med and how well does it work because even narcotic meds barely take the edge off my pain and then only briefly.

  • Mindy Oct 31, 2012

    Have any of you ever had your hands hurt & tingle while taking Nortriptyline? My daughter is taking it & woke up with them hurting really bad. I called the dr & he said she should keep taking it but I’m worried cuz online it said that could be an allergic reaction. Just wondering if anyone else had this happen

  • Leslie Nov 3, 2012

    After trying the nortriptyline (25mg) I felt no diference the Dr. put me up to 50mg and I felt really depressed.I have been told by my primary physician that I have A.D.D.and that I have adverse effects of most meds.for example, valium/ xanax gets me going and antidepressants make me more depressed to the point I don’t want to get up or do anything..I feel like I am wired backwards.Is there anyone else have any answers?It seems all the Drs. wantto load me up with tons of these antidepressants which make me feel horrible and what really works for my back pain (narcotics) they won”t give me because it”s addictive.Whats the difference if I have to take something every day [email protected]

  • TW Apr 18, 2013

    I’ve been taking this med for 3 weeks for migraines, chronic pain and sleeplessness . Two weeks was at 25mg and now I’m taking 50mg.
    Neither doses have had any significant help to me but plenty of side effects. I’m not sleeping anymore that my usual 3-4 hrs per day, I’ve gained about 6#, haven’t had any sweet cravings though, still have 1-3 migraines per week, chronic pain back/neck and constipation and severe rashes on my face, neck and chest (left dark marks)
    I know it a few months to know if a medicine works but I don’t think this one is working and my Dr doesn’t seem concerned by the adverse effects. I have added more veggies to my already lean low-fat diet to see if that helps w the weight gain and drink lots of water (10c).

    • becca Apr 19, 2016

      I am no doctor, but from reading a lot of info regarding autoimmune disorders, this sounds like lupus. The rash is a significant symptom.

  • Michelle Renee Dec 2, 2014

    This drug saved my life twice!

  • Briana Mar 9, 2015

    Have been taking this medication for a few weeks, and recently increased my dose to 20mg. However, I have not had a decrease in my headaches but only side effects (Including high pulse, and drowsiness). I’m hoping that I can find a medication to help my migraines soon, as I’ve tried 4 others. I’m only 14 and had migraines for years..

  • Loret Mar 14, 2015

    Brian, read the book Heal Your Headache
    By Dr. David Buckhorn, headache/migraine doctor 20 years at John Hopkins. He is very serious about food allergies. Changed my life and many others.

    • Briana Mar 20, 2015

      Thanks Loret! I’ll be sure to do that.

  • michellerenee Mar 19, 2015

    You wouldn’t gain alot of weight if you watch what you eat!! Weight trumps Pain!!!

  • patty Apr 14, 2015

    does anyone use this to help with pain from diabetic pheripheal neuropathy? my husband is presently on topomax and imitrex for migraines, recently diagnosed with pheripheal neuropathy and dr recommended trying this

  • Nancy Apr 24, 2015

    I suffered with nerve pain for 12 yrs, tnothing I tried was worth the side effects until nortriptyline. I’m so grateful to be back amongst the living. Only notable side effects are dry mouth, balance issues during yoga and am tired earlier at night. I haven’t gained weight like with Elavil, or have hives like with neutontin, and can still run 1/2 marathons = Yay!

  • Patty Apr 27, 2015

    Has anybody had nortriptyline affect their sugar readings? My husband is a diabetic and his numbers are really high since he started the nortriptyline.

    • melanie Jul 10, 2017

      I am a T1 diabetic on an insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor. I am on 25 mg nortriptyline every night and have noticed no change in my blood sugar since starting it 2 months ago

  • tamika May 5, 2015

    Ive been having migraines since 2012 off and on it seems like when im stressed i get them. I also have tacycardia which is controlled but i often wake up with pounding heart beats i believe its anxiety. My doctor just recently started me off on nortriptyline 25mg i wanna know if its has major side effects like seizures or strokes

  • laura May 14, 2015

    I started taking 10mg of nortriptyline every night about a month ago for my headaches. They have gone away, but I still get one tension headache once in a while. So, my doctor told me to take 20mg a night instead. So far, I feel the same, but two nights ago I only took 10mg and I felt kinda anxious. Has anyone experienced weight gain with this?

  • Pamela Stern Jun 9, 2015

    I suffered horribly with IBS for over 3 years before a new doctor I saw recommended I try Nortriptyline along with Dicyclomine (the generic for Bentyl), and I have 2 words about this combo…LIFE CHANGING! I have been in remission from IBS for almost 4 years now and I cannot say enough great things about this drug! I was in the ER 24 different times and hospitalized 4 different times prior to being prescribed these medications, and the nausea and spasms I experienced were so painful and intense, the only drug that could make them stop was Dilaudid, which I understand is a drug for severe Cancer pain!! Once I began taking this medication, my life suddenly got much more productive and I could go out and live my life again!! The only drawback about this medicine, is that I have gained a tremendous amount of weight (I lost almost 70 lbs. during the 3 years of being sick, and NOT in a healthy way!), and I also went through Menopause around the same time I started his medicine, so I’m not sure what to blame the weight gain on (certainly it’s not my diet) , but I will say the trade off of being sick all the time, to being healthy but chunky is totally worth it!

  • Joanna Aug 27, 2015

    My migraine headaches were unbearable, I had no life until my neurologist recommended nortriptyline. I have been taking nortriptyline for about 4 months now. I started taking 25 mg and increased it 75mg. I have gained 10 pounds and my sugar readings are high. I have never had this. I contacted the Doctor, we are lowering the dose and will start topamax. If topamax does not work I will go back to nortriptyline..better to have a better life with no headaches.

  • margo Aug 28, 2015

    I have also had severe migraines. For years I was on Depakote and that held them at bay then about two years ago the headaches returned with a vengeance. I had built up a resistance to Depakote. I was put on topamax and it was awful. Affected by balance so I could barely walk without assistance, hair fell out and I lost 10 pounds. I saw another neurologist and he immediately took me off topamax and started the Nortriptyline. Within a week I was a different person. I have very few headaches now and when they come they are tolerable, my balance is fine and the other problems resolved. I would never take topamax again. Certainly every person reacts differently to drugs but that was my experience with topamax.

  • Erika H. Sep 15, 2015

    I started taking Notriptyline about 8 months now for migraine/tension headaches. 25 mg/ day at bedtime. It makes me sleepy and I find it hard to wake up in the morning. I`m more tired during the day as well.My right hand is shaking sometimes…( as of the side effect??) After I experienced the shaky hand I just quit the medication for about a month, but of course my headache returned worst than ever.I`m actually loosing weight on this medication, especially at the mid section…and I have hypothyroidsm. I lost a good 30 lbs in the last 7 months. Anyone experienced a shaky hands??

    • Miranda Nov 9, 2015


      I feel the same way.. I take them at night and am always tired. I have the worst nightmares and sleep all tense like. My headaches have gone away while taking the medicine, but I missed three doses and now I have the worst headache ever. Ten times worse than they were before. Like you also, I am losing weight. Did you have nightmares while taking?

    • Rhoda Aug 28, 2017

      Yes, feel a little shaky at times in the hands, but helping with IBS and swallowing

  • LKM Oct 30, 2015

    I suffered from migraines for three years after being back ended. I went to doctor after doctor and was put on so many different medicines but nothing worked. I even tried acupuncture & Chinese medicine. Still the migraines persisted. Finally, I went to Johns Hopkins out of desperation & was put on Nortryptaline. It took a while to get to the right dosage, but I’ve been headache free for over 2 years now! Nortryptaline was a miracle drug for me! Yes, I gained about 10 pounds but I have my life back. I am so thankful!

    • Steve Sep 3, 2017

      Very happy to hear how good it works for you. At the end of May this year I started getting chronic headaches and migraines. After finding a neurologist he put me on Nortriptyline starting me at 10mg at bed time and working up to 30mg. After 5 weeks with getting some results but not much my Doctor raised it to 40mg. It’s been 9 weeks now and my daily headaches are much weeker. I am hoping to get my life back with this Med. How long did it take for your headaches to go away?

  • avtar Oct 30, 2015

    I was taking 20 mg nortriptline but left entirely and after three months the headache came back; My doctor recommended to go back starting from 10 to…….50 which is not helping for my headaches. It looks to cross this limit. My days are bad and headache is severe. Any comments?

  • Elvisduncan Nov 9, 2015

    I have alot of back problems and this medicine with my other pain meds works better. Back pain, nerve pain,diabetes nerve pain it helps greatly 25mg at bedtime 👍

  • Avtar Nov 12, 2015

    This is in response to erica’s pain going ten times. Yes, I was on 20 mg nortrptline about 8 months ago and pain well controlled but and left
    The medication entirely. I felt headache again in August/September And Doctor put me back and b/c the pain pounded with more severity and I am on 70 mg and still feeling dizzy, fatigued and tired. It has given me good relief from neck/ shoulder pain d lumber pain. The slogan is “NEVER LEAVE THIS MED ” abruptly or be ready to face the consequences. Going to see another doctors. This kind of doze is a clear alarm for other side effects

  • helen Mar 23, 2016

    Having suffered from severe migraines for all of my life I am totally aw struck by the fact the nortriptline works for me . I have gained a large amount of weight which is the downside, but much happier to feel better after a lifetime of severe pain by migraines .My neck pain has now also gone whilst takeing this med. I take 25 mg at nights , do have strange dreams but no migraines. Also If I eat foods that use to trigger my migraines IE cheese, chocolate, strong coloured or flavoured food I still get a very slight headache but nothing compared to the migraines I used to.
    I am so very amazed this drug works as I have tried for years to prevent migraines with no success.

  • Teresa Mar 29, 2016

    You are lucky that the nortriptline worked for your migraines I too suffer from migraines daily and while the neurologist placed me on this medication I gained well over 45 pounds in 6 months and ended up going off this and no other meds have worked going to try this as I ended up with pancreatitis from taking too much ibuprofen and naproxen for the pain over three years becareful

  • Cristina May 10, 2016

    I have headaches for years I take imitrex some,etimes it helps.
    My dr prescribe nortriptyline to star with 10 MG each night for one week and after to 20 mg
    I have been a afraid to take it as, I take Lest than 5 mg of solidness every night…can one take both drugs without problems?
    Let me know thanks.

  • Cristina May 10, 2016

    Sorry the droge is zolpiden or ambien. It is a problem to take it with nortriptyline. Let me one.

  • leah May 20, 2016

    I am 27 years old and jave been getting migraines sense i was 10. I have been on everything for them and nothingnhas evrr worked today my doctor put me on a 10mg of nortriptyline and im scared to take it because of everything that I have ever tried never helps can

  • Ellis May 30, 2016

    I am 19′ i have suffered with chronic pain in my back for around 7 years. I have been taking dihydrocodine for about 6 months which helped at first but now all it does is slightly take the edge off. Recently my pain has increased and spread through my hips and legs. So i have been given nortriptyline on top of what i already take.. I’ve taken that many pain killers, none of which work at all.. Im wondering if these are worth taking because im sick of putting drugs in my body that don’t work. No doctor i have ever seem has listened to what o have to say when i try and explain how bad my pain is so i have no trust with any doctor when it comes to medication. Any help would be much appreciated

  • Jenny Sep 25, 2016

    I have vestibular migraines that suddenly increased in frequency and would take weeks to go away. My neurologist prescribed nortriptyline starting at 10mg and I’m supposed to increase to 20 mg then 30 mg. The pressure in my ear and headache went away immediately. However, initially my dr told me take it 1 hour before bedtime bc it makes you tired. The first night, I had trouble falling asleep and then woke up at 4 am and didn’t go back to sleep. The second night, took a while to fall asleep and then woke up several times feeling agitated, mind racing and one time woke with tingling in my left arm. It was scary so I stopped taking it and called my dr. She had me take it in the morning and told me I would feeling tired so not to drive. I found that taking it the morning did not make me tired and I had none of the side effects from when I took it at night. Fingers crossed that this will continue to work as my ears and headache are gone.

  • Tracy Nov 16, 2016

    I started this about 3 weeks ago. My headaches have been better but it affects my sleep, since I already suffer from insomnia that isn’t really an acceptable side effact for me. This weekend I’m going to try taking it in the morning instead.

  • Genell Dec 25, 2016

    Hi Jenny,

    I believe I have vestibular migraines although I do not have a diagnosis yet. I constantly have dizziness, head pressure, my vision seems off, and I have pressure in my ear and they seem plugged. Did you have these symptoms? This has been found on since September and I want to find out what’s going on so I can have a somewhat normal life again. A friend suggested nortiptyline but I’ve been so afraid of the side affects I haven’t tried it. Are you still having success with it? I would love to hear how you’re doing.

  • Jenny Jan 3, 2017

    Hi Genell,
    First of all, my sympathies to you on the dizziness, plugged ears, head pressure – it’s so disorienting and makes you feel off. I know it all too well.

    I’m up to 40 mg noratriptyline. I think it’s helping but I’ve also gone on a comprehensive elimination diet (per the Mike Buchholz book “Healing Your Migraines”) which may also be helping. I take 40 mg at 5:30 pm and I sleep really well. I do have a hard time getting up in the morning but once I’m up, I’m fine. My doctor encouraged me to increase to 50 mg but I think I’ll get really tired if I do so I’m staying at 40 mg. I still get migraines but the frequency and severity have reduced.

    I did get diagnosed a month ago by an integrative medicine doctor. I’d highly encourage anyone who suffers from migraines to find a good integrative medicine doctor because conventional doctors focus on pain management for migraines rather than the root cause. My doctor tested me for an exhaustive list of issues and we discovered that I had Epstein Barr (mono) in the past which has reactivated in the last 2 years. A reactivated virus can trigger migraines because it affects the nervous system. I’m now taking an anti-viral drug for mono along with vitamin/herbal supplements. He told me to expect it will take 3-6 months to truly feel better. I’m feeling hopeful for the first time in a while. Good luck to you!

  • Rena Jan 27, 2017

    I have just got my prescription today for nortriptyline starting at 10 mg for the first week, increase by 10mg weekly intervals to reach the dose which and tolerate up to 50mg so that is 5 tablets at night ! I suffer with severe migrainious aura , plus sleep deprivation so I get if I’m lucky 4 hours sleep a night I , I had a major episode with the pain the metalic smell in my nose hot flushes as if I just got out the shower not dried myself then the electric shock feeling runs from head to toe I could not find my injection which I have to take it is sumatriptan so I suffered major from 3 am till 6 am this morning I’ve been on mirtazapine , also amitripalne as well any comments would be a help

  • Nancy Feb 5, 2017

    Hi. I’ve been taking nortriptyline for about 5 years. It was prescribed for severe arthritic neck pain and migraines. We started with 25 mg and over the years increased until I now take 50mg. My biggest problem is a terrible weight gain – 40lbs. My dr doesn’t want to change this medication because it is so helpful to control my arthritis and migraines. I have tried to wean off if it but find the pain is returning. Any suggestions for a replacement medication?
    Thank you!

  • Riv Feb 8, 2017

    I have had migraines for 30 years and took Topamax and Inderal for the past 10 years, with some success. Recently my headaches have increased and I stopped all medications (except triptans PRN), to no avail. Dr. just put me on Pamelor 10 mg, but its only been 5 days. Also took 5 days of Baclofen to break the constant morning headache, but has not seemed to work sufficiently. I will continue the Pamelor but need something to stop the headaches meanwhile. Dr. said no more OTC pain meds, and limited triptans, since he believes these are rebound headaches, but I cannot function with pounding, nauseating headaches I keep waking up with at 3 am. I work full time and have 2 kids at home. Moms can’t get sick!

  • Joolyj Feb 21, 2017

    Hi Genell. Have you determined a cause one gotten a diagnosis? I’m experiencing similar symptoms and haven’t been able to determine exactly what is going on. I had an MRI and sawe my eye doctor. Everything is normal. I have allergy testing scheduled as well as food sensitivity testing so we’ll see if that uncovers anything. Thank you!

  • Sue Mar 7, 2017

    I suffer from variant migraines tried various meds last one toprimate the side effects were horrific I’m a nurse and literally could not function horrendous dizziness and limb paralysis I’ve just started on nortryptilline ni really hope this helps altjough I’m only on 10 mgs now still have persistent headache ,any reassurance welcome

    • Ashley Nov 23, 2017

      I’m currently in more or less the same position. Tried Topamax and hated it, i’ve just started on 10mgs of Nortyptiline, it’s only been 4 days but i’m already thinking of putting my dose up to 20mgs i’m so desperate for some relief from chronic daily headache.

  • Bill Apr 15, 2017

    I am back on Nortryptilyne (Allegron) after a break of 3 years.
    (migraines went away)
    I used to have severe migraines that are triggered usually from lack of sleep. I had a night job I had to quit,as the early AM shifts were triggering the attacks.
    My neurologist started me on 10 mg tabs at night, which did the trick.
    He said if I get breakthrough migraines, to immediately take 3 x 500 of soluble Aspirin. This worked really well to stop the headaches.

    I am back on Nortryptyline now, as I have started getting shocking migraines with Aura now. Really freaky. I am just recovering from a horrid 3 day attack.
    Out of action, the only remedy to try and sleep. I can’t cope when these attacks come .

  • Angelica May 3, 2017

    I have been diagnosed with a coital headache since Oct 2016 and then it became a regular headache but very crucial but only on the right side of the head since Jan 2017, and obviously what i suffer from now is not a migraine nor is it from history in my family i have already seen one neurologist that didn’t have a clue and kept putting me on medications that made me like a zombie and I have two ltitle children so me being heavily medicated all the time is limited, so because he couldn’t figure it out or even have the slightest idea I went to another neurologist today and he prescribed me this medication not trip typing 25 MG and is trying to get me at least up to 75mg but I’m so scared of taking this medication because it is an antidepressant and I have history of taking those and having suicidal thoughts. Anyone might have heard of a situation like mine or any advice I’ve tried so many things and nothing works

  • Brenda Reynolds Jul 19, 2017

    I’ve been taking Nortrip. for a few years for fibromyalgia and helped pain the my body but did not touch the pain in my neck because of arthritis . I lived on chiropractic adjustments. I recently started taking 40 verses 30 of the nortripdolene…..what a relief! I’m going to get adjustments 2 to 3 times a week. I can make plans ahead of time since the pain is gone. I do have stiffness in the neck that requires adjustment but 1 or 2 times a month. I’m so sleepy in the morning tho. Can’t get going some mornings and slowly my weight as been going up. Diet and excersice is my next goal..


    • Brenda Reynolds Jul 19, 2017

      I meant to text that I have been going for chiropractic treatments 2 to 3 times a week.

  • TroutMaharishi Aug 13, 2017

    Big help for my chronic pain from a bad back. A interesting side effect is an increase in my sex drive. No I can go every day for an hour or more.

Leave a Comment