According to the Daily Mail, Doctors who specialise in pain management are recommending that GPs prescribe anti-depressant pills to cure intractable pain.

It was discovered 30 years ago that a side-effect of tricyclic anti-depressants (TCAs) was to block the pain pathway to the brain. However, many GPs remain unaware of this, or are reluctant to use them because of their association with mental ill-health.

Yet specialists who treat back pain say TCAs such as amitriptyline and nortryptiline are excellent when conventional pain-killing drugs fail to work. TCAs seem to increase the brain chemicals seretonin and noradrenaline, which in effect raises the pain threshold, so most pain is not felt.

To work as an anti-depressant, the drugs need to be taken in doses of as much as 150mg a day. For pain relief, they are prescribed normally at no more than 25mg. Experts say that at low doses, and taken for up to six months, anti-depressants are non-addictive and side effects are rare, though some people may experience drowsiness or a dry mouth.

I have been on amitriptyline for a number of years now and have played around with different doses to get the best effect but anything over 30mg does cause a very dry mouth. It was so bad with me sometimes that I could not get my words out properly but it definitely helps you to sleep.



  1. Interesting – that’s exactly what the consultant rheumatologist put me on for fibromyalgia, precisely because it’s good for the pain pathways. I too am on a very low dose.


    • I have found it very good but once my body gets used to it then they tell me to increase it but I just cannot manage any higher than around 40mg as the dry mouth is awful. I am allowed to take 10mg if I wake up in pain in the night and I have found this very useful. Keep to the low dose while ever it keeps working I think gilly. Hope your well at the moment? xxx


      • Would you believe it, after 2 years free of fbm I have had a flare-up in the last 2 months 😦 Must admit I doubled the dose of amitriptylene when it was bad. I’m back down to one now and hoping I’m on the mend |-|

        Hope you’re keeping on top of things, Bar :wave: it’s lovely to see you back – I’ve missed you!! xx


      • Oh no gill, I have found my FM really bad this year – maybe its been all the rain. Hope your on the mend now. It’s nice to be back here. I forgot how frustrating it can get to write comments, grrrrrrr :):)


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