How long for nortriptyline drowsiness to reduce?

I’ve started taking nortriptyline 10mg at night. It is making me drowsy in the day.

Will this drowsiness go and how long would it take?

I’m inclined to split the tablet and take only 5mg and build up to 10mg. Is this a good approach?

I’ve been on 10mg for a week and this has just started to stop, felt pretty out of it until yesterday. Try and push on, and for most this side effect will decrease.

I’m on amitriptyline which is from a similar class. I lost all my sleepiness around day 3 although I am not med sensitive at all. I take 35mg and Im about to go up to 50mg and I have very little side effect from this. Keep going and the side effects should wear off for you hopefully.

I’ve been on 25mg for about 2 weeks. I found a marked drop in the drowsiness around 7-10 days.

Strangely I never found any drowsiness from being on Nortriyline, in fact if anything it made my sleep worse so I now have to take a sleeping tablet to get a decent deep sleep - I guess we’re all different. Amitrptyline on the other hand made me extremely drowsy such that I gave up on it after a week.

i had no drowsiness until i got to 75mg and then i was a zombie for 3 weeks but literally at the 3 week mark all drowsiness disappeared- it can take 3-5 weeks my dr said

I have tried 10mg of nortriptyline for a week but I get noticeably reduced urine flow. It’s slow enough to be a problem.

This seems to be due to its anticholinergic effect. Would 10mg amitriptyline be even worse for urine flow?

oh i get that too- in order to fully empty my bladder i have to focus on relaxing and it takes forever for me to go the bathroom it is so annoying! i dont know if ami would be different?i think its called urinary retention?

Seems like everyone is different. I have been on nortriptyline 2.5 months now, but I went up pretty fast to 50 mg and have stayed there. For me the problem was not drowsiness but just fatigue, heaviness. I think it took at least a couple of weeks, maybe more, after getting to 50 mg before the extra fatigue seemed to dissipate.

But it’s hard to tell, because fatigue is just part of my life anyway.

Good luck and hang in there. I do think the nortriptyline is going to work for me–I have definitely felt a lot less dizzy. Now I wish I had tried it years and years and years ago!


I’ve now been on Nortriptyline for almost two months. 10mg for a month, which was fine, though no effect on symptoms. 20mg for three weeks now… and I’m washed out, drowsy and lie down a lot. I’m waiting for the drowsiness to pass, but so far it hasn’t! Also, still no effect on symptoms. Currently furloughed off work, because of COVID. If I’m still this drowsy next week, when we return to work, I’ll have to take Nortriptyline down again or just come off it. Can’t function properly like this!

Dave just gonna really stick my neck out here. You are obviously med sensitive. Nortriptyline lists tiredness as a prominent symptom and I appreciate your difficulties. However do I recall you are also trialling a diet? Vegan is it? Might not be all the fault of the Nortriptyline you know. This is an old drug and they tend to work better with food, proper food and most work better on protein. From my own experience with Propranolol the less decent food I ate yesterday the more likely I am to wake up tomorrow feeling totally stoned. Indeed if I want to wake up in the morning rather than be a zoomie is well into the day these days I eat supper.

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What time are you taking it in the evening? Part of the benefits of this drug is it calms the brain down a bit. Drowsiness is part of the point. Better to take it earlier so you wake up with less of the impact in the morning.

You could try Amitriptyline instead which may have a bigger effect on your symptoms (it’s a stronger vestibular suppressant I believe) but won’t be any better wrt drowsiness I suspect. I used to take Ami as early as 9pm. If I fell asleep early, well so be it.

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Timing? Good point which reminded me of what my own GP told me when I toyed with idea of taking Amitriptyline. She said to take it exactly 12 hours before you wanted to get up next morning. Had completely forgotten that.

Agreed Ami is the stronger of the two by far. Much more anticholinergic so could well make tiredness worse.

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Good thinking, but I already take it at 6PM!!!

However Helen’s post strikes a chord with me… I failed to go fully vegan but I cut meat out and significantly limited dairy… but actually yes, this drowsiness is weirdly coincidental with those dietary modifications. Right, then: meat, then Ben and Jerry’s for dinner!

It’s so easy to miss the obvious. Thanks guys.


Blimey! Hope you’ve got a comfortable armchair! :smiley: :zzz:

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