Does amtriptyline help motion sickness?


I’m looking for some positive motion sickness improvement experiences as I’m feeling like I’ll never be able to go anywhere in the car again!

I’m under the care of a neurologist who diagnosed me with vestibular migraines but referred me to a headache center for treatment. My appointment wait time for the headache center is over 2 months away so I convinced him to let me trial a medication in the meantime in hopes that I can get a little bit of my life back while I wait. My husband has taken on so much for the time being in addition to working full time, and I’m not sure how long it can last.

He started me on amtriptyline 25 mg, but I’m starting low and going slow. I always assumed I’m med sensitive because I’m a lightweight when it comes to alcohol but I realize that’s no indication ha. I started on 6.25 mg for a week and just upped it to 12.5 mg last night. I’m also doing a loose version of the HYH diet (I believe stress, caffeine and hormones are my biggest triggers) and VR exercises at home.
I’m also taking magnesium and B2 as instructed by my neuro.

My MAV symptoms have always been fairly mild but my newest one is an extreme motion sensitivity in the car. When this hit me initially 6 months ago, I could still easily ride places as a passenger with my husband driving. My light headedness is currently very mild and some days I don’t really note any. I do everything I usually do around the house including caring for my young children. That being said, I get very motion sick in the car as the driver. I’m able to make it about 20 minutes round trip, max. I’ve tried Dramamine (before I started the amtriptyline-I understand you’re not supposed to take them together), sea sickness bands, smelling peppermint, and ginger chews.
None of which really help. The Dramamine prevented nausea but I still had that motion sensitive feeling.

Has anyone found anything that works or had success with amtriptyline alleviating motion sensitivity? I’m hoping to see improvement in that once I’ve been on it for about 6 weeks and it’s really at a steady state in my body.

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Hi Alaina,
Ami helped me tremendously. It took quite a bit of time however… just like everything it seems with VM unfortunately.

Seems like it took some months before I really saw an improvement with my motion sickness. I actually did fine while moving, it was when I would stop that I would feel ill for minutes, hours or the rest of the day depending on the length of the ride or how stressful it may have been.

One thing that did help me though was Hylands Motion Sickness

It’s homeopathic and really did help me a lot in cars, planes, trains etc. I used it for the first year I was ill since I was unmedicated and it helped so much. Might be worth looking into!


Thank you, I will definitely look into them! This is great to hear. I’ve been unable to drive or go anywhere due to motion sickness for 5 weeks. I know that’s not long compared to some but I’m really starting to get discouraged, and I’m really having a hard time believing that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. I’m happy to hear that there was for you.

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Motion sickness in all its forms and that includes being OK travelling but worse when the vehicle has to stop is one of the strongest indicators that the vestibular system is not functioning correctly. For many MAV really does need to be known as MVBD, a ‘Migraine Variant Balance Disorder’. Motion sickness is often a trigger too. So don’t be too disappointed if it continues after the Amitriptyline has had time to stabilise in your system.


I actually feel better once I stop and get out of the car. Not instantly but shortly after. I’ll just be happy if a medication helps that symptom even if it takes a little while. Dramatic I know, but lately I’ve had great fear that it will never go away.

I misread that. I now see that you said it may not go away. I don’t know how I’d get by. I currently am unable to get my 4 year old to preschool. It’s taking huge toll.

I didn’t say it may not go away. What I was saying was it may not go away the moment Amitriptyline has stabilised in your system. It’s strong indicator of how the condition’s affecting your functionality. The more symptomatic one is the worse it tends to be. It is also a trigger. Once the drug increases your tolerance to triggers hopefully all your symptoms should start to reduce.

Btw you can use the Edit facility - the little pencil icon to add/amend a post you have already sent rather than send another.

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I’m taking amitrityline and unfortunately it hasn’t helped my motion sickness at all. I hadn’t suffered with motion sickness before all things vestibular came into my life but now I really struggle as a car passenger and on a train. Haven’t tried a bus or plane since symptoms started! I’m fine if I drive, but awful as a passenger and stop start traffic is horrendous. Sickness bands and polo’s seem to help a little!

I’m sorry to hear that. Have you been on the amtriptyline for a while? Unfortunately I get sick even as the driver which has never happened to me until this. It has really stripped away my ability to leave my house.

Amitriptyline is a very effective vestibular suppressant so should help.

It got rid of my general nausea very effectively.


That’s what I’m hoping for. I haven’t even been on it for two weeks so I’m well aware it may be a while longer. I’m just looking for some positive stories. It’s very hard not to feel really down about not being able to do simple things you used to.

I’ve been taking it for 11 months, but only at a 10mg dose. That, combined with avoiding certain foods and taking magnesium glycinate, is managing things at a good enough level to enable me to work part-time, function etc. The last month or so I’ve noticed that my daily nausea is no longer daily! Huge win! I’m very sensitive to medication and am keen to keep my dose low so it’s highly possible and probable that I could have better management with a higher dose, but I’m trying other methods first including vestibular rehab. This decision works for me, especially as I was on so many different medications when I first got ill. If this round of VR doesn’t help raise my thresholds (I’m still very triggered visually) then my specialist wants to raise my dosage. And perhaps that will then stop the motion sickness. Difficult to say. I guess I could have had better and quicker symptom relief if I’d increased my dosage but I’m happy with my decision for now. How awful to feel sick when driving though, it really is the most awful feeling - it must be quite limiting for you. Have you tried using the sickness bands, ginger etc? If I’m feeling nauseous and then drive, I can feel worse. But generally it’s as a passenger for me. I feel your pain and wholeheartedly sympathise - when I first got ill, I couldn’t drive at all and I felt so trapped. Very hard xx

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Thank you for sharing! And thank you for understanding. It really is reassuring to hear that other people have experienced the same.

I have tried the motion sickness bracelets and ginger candies but they don’t really help much. Dramamine helped me but from my understanding, it’s not recommended to take it with amtriptyline because they’re both sedating. It’s the worst feeling. Who wants to ever intentionally make themselves that sick?
I feel pretty good, and start to think that maybe I’ll be fine to drive and then I do and get sick within 10 minutes. It’s so frustrating. I feel so trapped. I can’t even take my son to school. I’m praying to find something that helps me. I’m currently taking 12.5 mg of amtriptyline. My neuro ordered me 25 mg pills so that’s the best I can get my splitting them. Like you, I hope to not have to go any higher but I’ve only been on it for a week and a half. When this first started for me, I was not affected at all being in the car. I had major improvement of symptoms on my own and then it came back in December and the intense motion sickness came with it.

I’m already thinking the worst-like I’ll never be able to vacation with my kids again because I won’t be able to handle the transportation. It really is so hard to deal with this.

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Bless you. Please try not to be so hard on yourself, I know it’s extra hard when you’re a parent as well. It’s very early days with the medication. When I started amitriptyline I was taking other medication as well and only went down to just the amitriptyline a few months ago. From what I can remember, it took a good few weeks to have an effect. So hang in there and give it chance to work. If it doesn’t settle, perhaps another call to your doctor to discuss if it’s the right medication for you. But things will and can get better. I couldn’t even walk around my garden unaided back in August 2019 and now I’m back in work three days a week. It’s so hard in the beginning, but you’re doing great xx

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I took some eye sickness therapy and it helped me a lot

Like vision therapy?

Only guessing but I suspect so. There is a school of thought there exists a syndrome called ‘See Sick Syndrome’. Symptoms appear similar to MAV. You can Google it. I don’t intend to link articles relating here because despite describing symptoms they are very advertising based towards the generators of the website in question and I have no wish to be misconstrued as ‘recommending’ them in any way. In essence their content is similar and often linked to symptoms of ‘Vertical Heterophoria’, plenty elsewhere on this site on that one! Visual Training is always suggested as the remedy for both conditions these sites having been generated by people practising that art. It’s always worth investigating any pathways out of any illness however if you have already been given a definite diagnosis by a specialist be very careful. Symptoms may look similar but migraineurs have very sensitive brains and such training is best attempted once MAV is stabilised. I know what I am talking about here. I was sent, indeed pushed, down the Vision Training route and then subsequently down the VRT route long before I ever heard of MAV or had a diagnosis. Btw it could be that the VR you are undertaking is making your system more sensitive to motion because your condition has yet to stabilise.

Which proves it is a trigger.

Very interesting. Oh, I am certain that car motion is a trigger for me. I wasn’t sure if vision therapy was typically a part of VM treatment. I recently read an article about a woman who had severe motion sickness and was unable to work. She did vision therapy and it completely took away her motion sickness; however, she did not have VM. I realize it probably would not work alone in the treatment of VM induced motion sensitivity.

I looked up vertical heterophoria. I actually had a family member suggest that I look into that before my neuro said “vestibular migraines”.

How do you rule it out? My symptoms are very similar to both conditions.

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No vision therapy isn’t a typical MAV treatment. I’ve have my attention drawn to the list if symptoms See Sick Syndrome covers and it can resemble many peoples experiences of VM that’s for sure. I’ve often wondered if many MAVers tackled it not knowing their true condition. It’s quite the new kid on the block and only recently become more widely known. It works most particularly on young children who have a diagnosis of various eye alignment difficulties. I have heard it also can work for adults similarly affected.

Oh I have read similar articles on various wonder ‘cures’ but long since got passed the age of believing most of them. Could well be that lucky lady has continued with her exercises and is managing just fine. I am not saying they are lies. I am sure most are ‘correct at time of going to press’ as they used to say. I could certainly find at least three VM Complete or Near Complete Success Stories that have appeared in the national press (not on here) that subsequently went pear shaped one way or another. So these days when I read that type of story I was say ‘And what happened next please?’. Could well be that lucky lady keeps doing her exercises, keeps her eye muscles in tip top form and is doing just fine. VIsion Therapy can be gruelling (/I did some, I know) it’s far from a doddle but VM is A different ballgame altogether or certainly is for me.

How do you rule it out?. It’s easy enough to visit an eye specialist who can run tests to check your eyes for misalignment or other dysfunction and if you have seen a neuro-otologist or a neurologist they can give you a good idea. And don’t forget to check a complete list of your own symptoms against those for See Sick Syndrome. It’s very easy to come to an incorrect conclusion cherry picking symptoms. Of course all avenues are worth exploring. Misdiagnosis unfortunately isn’t unknown. And anybody who can find a definite root cause is on a winner in my book because otherwise VM is an elusive beast to tame.

Actually as I was unable to find any of the sites where I’d previously read about SSD I read a few much more recent ones and by the look of most it seems to me they are identifying what I would term ‘Visual Vertigo’ as a condition in its own right which they call See Sick Syndrome.

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Thank you for explaining. I read a little bit about See Sick Syndrome and of course some of my symptoms overlap. The one that stands out is that I have constant eye floaters that started when all my other symptoms started 6 months ago. I had my eyes examined twice (6 weeks apart) by an ophthalmologist to rule out a retinal detachment and he said my eyes were fine and therefore the floaters were “coming from my brain” and mentioned “ocular migraines”. I then saw a neurologist who said vestibular migraines and explained the eye floaters as an “aura”, but when I told him that they never go away, he was stumped and had no explanation. From my understanding auras are not constant for 6 months straight. I’ve since found that many others with VM have constant eye floaters as well so it must just come with it.

Unfortunately that neuro was not very helpful, as he gave me a diagnosis of vestibular migraines but then referred me elsewhere for treatment. I went back to him and asked him to trial me on a medication while I wait to see the “headache specialist” he referred me to.

If I’m being completely honest, getting a proper diagnosis overwhelms me to the point that I feel like my head might explode. It might overwhelm me more than my symptoms even. I don’t know where to begin or if I’m taking the right steps. A lot of sufferers say to look for any underlying causes because you don’t have a good shot at getting better unless you treat any additional triggers.
I know hormones are a trigger for me but some say don’t even bother looking into hormone imbalance because you don’t want to start messing with synthetic hormones.
It all makes my head spin, more!