Ok so I took my first dose of Nortriptyline at 8:30 last night…about 9:30 or 9:45 My heart beat started speeding up…so my anxiety spiked…I spent a lot of time trying to calm down becuase i didnt feel comfortable mixing valium in yet…I decided to go to bed and try to relax and read well I keep getting waves of dizziness tingling from my scalp down to my toes…so i stopped reading and tried to fall asleep…I kept have the “falling” feeling but eventually fell asleep…I woke up a few times kinda disoriented and fell back asleep…Ok so far NOT a good journey on this med…is this just my panic or should I NOT take this med??And if it is the med will this stop…just need some advice cause I dont know if i wanna take it tonight…and as far as making me tired??I was more insomniac than anything but if i was having anxiety maybe that caused the insomnia and the "falling " feeling…? I want to be able to take this med but I dont know if I am just freaking myself out

Hi D, Dizzy
sometimes anti depressants can make people feel pannic or extra anxiety.for a while
I get that sometimes, Do you think it could be pannic?
our minds are pretty powerful sometimes and just the thought of taking meds can be the cause of some of our symptoms.

I had these feelings after going too high to quick of verapamil
a hot shower helped me calm down.
if it happens again, get paper bag and breath slowly into it, it will help the pannic attack leave, if thats what it was.
I’ve had these things happen on alot of meds, sometimes it’s better to sleep them off, and after a week or even sooner the side effects go away.
so if you could ride it out, it would be good
if you think there was more to it, I’d contact your doc today.

big hugs jen

well we started this med cause my anxiety and panic is not controlled well enough and plus the “silent” migraines may disappear and takke the dizzies with it…I was very panicky about starting this and it very well could have been just panic but it certainyl makes me not want to take it and i want to be able to take it with no issues and give myself a chance to get better but I cant seem to get past the crappy experience out of my mind…

you said you had this on other meds?? what did you feel?? and it eventually weent away??

My daughter takes it, and she started at 10mg. She did have the heart racing issue at first.
All anti-depressants can paradoxically cause anxiety–that’s why they recommend starting them so low. Some people do use benzo’s for the first few weeks.
It’s been a great med for my daughter, but everyone is different.
I tried zoloft in the past, at 25 mg and was miserable. Now, three years later, on advice of someone here, I started it at 6.25, and titrated up to 12.5 and it’s working well. Another member of this board couldn’t stand it. So, experiences vary, and IMO we’re very medication sensitive.
Don’t worry alone–talk to the prescribing physician. And, in my daughter’s experience, the side effects start immediately, the benefit shows up a couple of weeks later.

You might want to read what happened to Rich after taking just one dose of “Nort.”

I’ll give you the same advice I gave Rich : Listen to your body.
It doesn’t lie.


I did read that…probably one of the reasons i freaked out lol…i think once i felt the side effect of my heart racing (it wasnt pounding out of my chest or anything) i panicked and brought on mild panick attack and that kept me awake I think…going to take it tonight and call dr in the am and let her know about the heartracing thing and see what she thinks I was just afraid to mix valium with this…today i am a lil tired and heart races from time to time but otherwise I am ok so should i stop the med or what?? i ahte to quit something and be dizzy forever when it might have worked…

What did your daughter say the heart racing thing felt like?? her dr wasnt concerned?? how long for her before it went away?

She felt it racing, and I checked her pulse, and it was up around 100 or so. She commented that it had raced off and on since she started the medicine, I think it was about 5-6 days into it. I wanted to get an EKG, but her pediatrician refused. The racing heart issue went away fairly quickly–within the first week. I also explained some maneuvers to her to slow down your pulse: deep breathing, the valsalva–bearing down, and splashing cold water on her face.
She was only 17, and didn’t read anything, so she couldn’t anticipate side effects. She is fairly rigid though about not being willing to try new drugs, as the pediatric neurologist pushed depakote on her–including IV in the hospital–and it caused a total body rash and made her acutely ill–the the neurologist was still trying to push it on her. We fired the neurologist.
Rich’s reaction is his own–don’t generalize from it.
I used to have a really nice guideline from a family physician about how the side effects predominate in the first weeks, but I can’t seem to find it to post it.
The nortriptyline that we get is in capsule form: you can always pour out half a capsule if you want to try a lower dose.
The half life of nortriptyline varies, it’s around 19 hours (although it go up to 90 hours)–I looked it up to figure out how to handle the occasional missed dose (what she does it take 10mg mid-day, and the usual dose at bedtime.)
Please realize that mileage varies, if you read Rich’s post he was unable to tolerate single doses of multiple medications.
Go low, go slow is always a good idea.
Believe me, I don’t like “better living through chemistry” either, but at this point I’ve decided that the benefits outweigh the risks. You could surf the net, read the package insert, and really freak yourself out–I do it–but most people hate tricyclics at first and then they either find them helpful or move on to something else.
For my daughter, it gave her and continues to give her huge relief.

One other comment–do not be afraid to mix valium with it–many people use benzo’s in the early days of anti-depressants to offset the anxiety that they can cause. They’re not metabolized through the same route, and the only potential interaction is drowsiness.

— Begin quote from “DesperatlyDizzy”

you said you had this on other meds?? what did you feel?? and it eventually went away??

sorry dizzy I’m sleeping when your all online at night, I’m from Australia.
ok I meant anti depressants, I have a natural fear after having a very bad withdrawal form zoloft many years ago.

I was on prothiadon for a couple of years due to depression.
I found it the best med in the world (FOR ME) its a trycilic.
but found it affected my heart.

starting new meds tend to freak me out generaly.
I feel alot of the symptoms you described, clenching at night, falling ,zoning out,anxiety.
thats all I meant.

— End quote

i feel crappy this morning does the grogginess and the dry mouth ever go away?

Usually those go away after the first week–let your doctor know how you’re tolerating the medication.

has anyone ever taken the nortriptyline gotten well and come off it and lived a NORMAL life like we all used to??

My daughter is living a normal life on it, her neurologist wants her to come off of it, but she’s not interested, but may consider a wean at some point. All I know is our family’s experience.

what were her symptoms prior to the nortriptyline? and does she take anything with it?

I was only on Nortriptyline for a couple weeks. It made me too jittery so my neuroto switched me to Verapamil (which was great for dizzies, but eventually caused my headaches to return). I can’t remember when during the day I took it … stupid brain fog.

Just my two cents.

My daughter had classic migraines, episodes of paroxysmal vertigo as a child, and in high school, ended up admitted for a status migraine, that was mostly–if not all–vertigo.
She calls it “feeling gross”–dizzy and nauseated. She would take imitrex, and lots of motrin. She had months of imbalance.
She was started on nortriptyline at 10 mg, and eventually found the right dose for her was 30mg. It took almost 6 months to get to a place where she wasn’t miserable, and when she switched to her adult neurologist, he was considering verapamil, but the nortriptyline, and some life style changes, and maybe the natural course of the disease, finally kicked in.
Even at college, she’s had days where she wakes dizzy or vertigo hits her in the afternoon–and motrin makes it better. She drinks water constantly.
She does the migraine supplements: CoQ10, magnesium, fish oil and riboflavin.

I called the dr again cause my pulse is still fast and i thought it might be slightly irregular…i also stood up and went into the house this afternoon and was a lil light headed and i am a tiny bit shaky but my anxiety is getting kinda high so that may be the shakiness and the light headedness may just be heat or something?? i dont know…i didnt know this would be so hard every little feeling i get sends my anxiety soaring…well the dr never called me back

my dr called me back today and said she wouldnt be concerned unless my pulse was 110 or above and it is only in the 80’s she said to give it two weeks and if i need to we will meet again and discuss it

I took Nort for about two or three months for an unrelated problem, not migraine, not drepression. At that time, I thought that it was interferring with the Depakote I take, as my dizzies got worse and started becoming 24/7. Now, after reading what people have posted, it is beggining to sound more like the increase in the dizzies may have simply been the med. The day I quit taking it, it was because my heart started racing like a couple of other people have mentioned on this thread, not to mention I was getting tired of having to deal with the dizziness again.

Funny thing is that I had experienced no tinnitus in my bad ear since I started the Depakote almost two years earlier. It returned while I was on the Nort, and has been there ever since. :x


Hi D dizzy. I’m so sorry your having such a crappy time of it, but I know you can do it, you’l get there.
and if it works when the side effects leave , you’l be so much better .
this may sounds like crap to you now,
but the results will be worth all these horrible symptoms.
keep telling yourself, this is only a pannic attack and it’s not going to beat soon as you feel the pannic rising , go for a walk in the back yard, change what your doing then and there.
give your mind something to do other than the panic attack to think about.
that works for me.
if you need some xanax, take a tiny bit , I cut a little tip off the end of a full xanax tab, it works well for me at a low dose and dosnt put me to bed.
fingers crossed.