Just started ami- panic and lightheaded-advice please!

Hi everyone,
I just saw my gp and she prescribed 10mg of ami. I just took my first dose about 2 hours ago. About an hour after taking it I feel terrible, not vertigo but my sense of balance is worse than ever, lightheaded, eyes feel funny, panicky, and generally feeling like I’m on the verge of getting the spins, but am just holding on, oh and completely wired. I thought that it was supposed to make me drowsy and at least take some anxiety away - the opposite is occurring. Has anyone else experienced this and if so did the side effects go away after awhile?I don’t want to give up, but this is awful. I don’t want to take it tomorrow. It was such a small dose???

Just to update on my previous post, I will not be taking the amitriptyline again. My husband had to call the pharmacy twice because my behavior was so off (along with the horrible physical symptoms). They adviced us to go to the ER (I was extremely agitated, full of panic- it was horrible, I actually now have some understanding what someone with true mental illness feels like since th drug messed with my mind so much, my logical brain kept reminding me its just the drug, but wow did it ever set me off). I remember reacting similar to an IV drug they gave me in the hospital for dizziness (it started with an s but it was so long ago I can’t remember) that threw me into such a state of agitation that it took all my strength not to rip my IV out and go running away from the hospital. When I told the doctor he just kind of looked at me and was like - oh really, this drug is generally sedating. Haha apparently not for me! So anyway we decided to just wait it out at home (vs sitting in an ER waiting room), it took about 6 hours for me to “come down” off the ami and I fell into a fitful sleep. Anyway, I feel better now (my emotional brain is back to normal), and actually my physical symptoms are not feeling too bad. Just feeling disappointed that it didn’t work (or I just couldn’t tolerate it) and I’m back to square one again.oh well, hopefully the next drug will work better!

Hi Ellen

Sorry you had a bad experience with Amitriptyline.

However, do you think there’s any chance you could chalk your symptoms down to anxiety or panic attack? Rather than actual side effects of Ami?

Starting a new med always brings a sense of anxiety with it and I wonder if this anxiety took over and manifested itself in that way.

I would hate for you to have not tried Ami for the wrong reasons- it can be a real help. For me, it was the difference in me being off sick from work for 18 weeks, and going back to the office.


I agree with MM- it is common to have side effects on these drugs especially in the beginning of treatment. Even though it sucks and is really uncomfortable you really should try and power through it- otherwise you may work your way through all the drugs and end up with nothing. From personal experience, my first drug was Ami- I was on 10 mg for 3 weeks- every single day I woke up with the nastiest headache- after 3 weeks I just said enough I can’t stand this. But I regret doing that because Ami might have worked and the headaches may have gone away but now I won’t know (2.5 years later of med trials). At this point I would rather live with a constant headache than with constant unsteadiness. I would encourage you to try it again- also I would try taking it right before bed- that way you may lessen some of those start-up effects.

I recently started Norvasc, and for the first 2 days I took it in the morning- it made my balance much much worse- but then I started taking it right before bed (not an hour before but minutes before sleep) and I am doing a lot better with it.

Hey MM- not sure if you reading this- what symptoms did ami help with? do you have trouble walking and do any of your meds help with that?

I started on Ami and started at 5mg. I would feel wonky for a couple of hours and never really got “sleepy” on it. I moved up to 20 mg in 5mg and even 2.5 mg steps…so I wouldn’t say for a migraineur that 10mg is such a small dose. A lot of people here have super strong reactions, which usually means you need to start slower. Especially if you noticed any improvement the next day. I’m not sure off the bat what the half life is, but I’ll repost once I find out.
Something to try and make sense if this helps…if you can imagine how our pupils react in a dark room…they are looking for the littlest bit of light to help us see. Having low serotonin (which I believe one of the, if not THE biggest culprit for a lot of this stuff) means that our receptors are trying like mad to find some sero…once you take a med that is serotonergic (increases serotonin) the receptors go a little crazy with excitement…hence feeling anxious. Then once we are on the lookout for a side effect from a med we are most likely nervous about taking anyway…then we start to really concentrate on that anxiety and then it multiplies and sends us into a bit of a tailspin and we attribute it to the med being no good.
Many doctors will prescribe a benzo during the beginning stage of taking any serotonergic med…it calms the brain enough to let the body get used to the med, and then all starts to settle down…
Some people just are hyper sensitive to any serotonergic med and therefore these meds don’t help. I am not sure if you have ever been on an antidepressant, or if you are willing to give it a go on a lower dose, but wanted to share some info with you.


Ami really messed with me when i first started it too, but you have to persevere. I would start on 5mg - sometimes 10mg is just too much - i had to stay on 5mg for 3 weeks before going up to 10mg and i was agitate and had very bad nightmares, but this only lasted for a week or so. My symptoms also got alot worse for a week or so when i started and with every up-dose but now it’s worth it as i am much sturdier on my feet and hoping to improve more with my next dose up.

— Begin quote from "sarahd"

I recently started Norvasc, and for the first 2 days I took it in the morning- it made my balance much much worse- but then I started taking it right before bed (not an hour before but minutes before sleep) and I am doing a lot better with it.

— End quote

Hi Sarah. I have been taking 10mg Norvasc (amlodipine) for high blood pressure for a year or two. I kind of got the feeling that my headaches were better after I started taking it but as I was so ill with benzodiazepine withdrawal I couldn’t really tell. I have had chronic daily migraine for a very long time years and, recently, a few days after I went to 15mg Norvasc, the pains stopped.

It’s still early days on this med for me and it takes something like a week for the serum levels to plateau, so it’s too early to tell how this is going to work out. I have had no side effects at all from 10mg and none from 15mg either.

Although it has a long half-life and takes about 6 hours to reach its max, I got the feeling that it has a good effect sooner than that so I split my 15mg into three doses. Maybe I’m being too fussy!

I’d be interested to know your own experiences with Norvasc.


Wexan has it helped with your vertigo at all? I have only been on it 1 week so far.

— Begin quote from "sarahd"

Wexan has it helped with your vertigo at all? I have only been on it 1 week so far.

— End quote

Hi Sarah. My vertigo is less chronic and now occurs when I am having a spell. (When I was in benzo withdrawal the dizziness was much more frequent.) Norvasc has reduced some of the head sensations.

What dose of Norvasc are you on?

I’m on 2.5 mgs- it has made me sway a little when I walk in a way that I didn’t before- it has also given me these fleeting sensations of vertigo that I never had before. The first 2 days were the worst but things have settled down a bit from there. It seems like we are the only people on this forum who take this med!

I felt VERY dizzy when taking my first dose of nori, but it went away after a few days and I think the med has started helping the vertigo. Id suggest trying a lower dose.

i’m on the lowest dose they make right now. That’s great you are feeling better darren!!! what symptoms is it helping with? how long have u been feeling better?

Hi everyone,
Thanks for all your replies and encouragement. I’ve decided to shelve ami for now, honestly to tell the truth my brain literally went nuts, if my husband had not been home I’m not sure what I would have done, plus I’ve read about how it’s hard for some people to come off of, so it’s not for me right now. I want to try something else and if nothing works there’s always the chance that I’ll try ami again at a lower dose with very close monitoring. I live on a farm in rural Canada, which I love but makes things difficult as the nearest city is 45 minutes away (when youre suffering with this it seems so far), also my nearest neighbor is quite a distance away. I had taken the ami when I was home alone with my daughter (she was in bed), I texted my husband to come home (he was working late in the city), but I spent a ver scary hour waiting for him to get home then more hours trying to come down. So, anyway just wanted to give you an idea of the context (isolation) of my life. My husband has been talking about moving to the city, but I want to see if I can stabilize before we make any drastic moves. Anyway, my intention isn’t to scare anyone, I’ve always been an anomally when it comes to medication, my mom reacts the same way to Demerol (after surgery she ended up ripping her IV out, and attempting to run out of the hospital,which didn’t help her incision), so I think there’s a genetic component. I know after my chiari malformation surgery it took awhile to get a good medication fit. Anyway, I have been feeling pretty crappy these past few days so I don’t know if it’s due to the brief changes the ami did in my system. Has anyone else had experience with coming off of trying ami?

Have you tried any other meds? Even a benzo like xanax or klonopin?
I had no trouble coming off Ami…as long as you wean yourself, most of these meds can be stopped without too much problem. The problem is usually people coming off too quickly.

I do have a prescription for Xanax, but I try to take it only occasionally (if I allowed myself I’d be on it all the time, haha). But, usually I use it to help me sleep. I find evenings the most stressful/anxious so getting to sleep is hard for me, as is sleeping in general, I jut find I can never relax (which I know is part of the problem). I can’t escape from feeling dizzy/off balance and no matter how tired I am I can’t seem to be released from my constant vigil (both conscious and unconscious)- “oh I feel more off balance is vertigo starting?” “nope, ok for now” one second later “oh I feel more off balance is it coming now?” “nope just try to breath” one second late “starting now?” and on and on, haha…gotta laugh :smiley: