Is weaning off Nortriptyline necessary? (3+ side effects)

This article will discuss the importance of weaning off Nortriptyline, the side effects caused by its sudden discontinuation, and how weaning off is safely done for this medication.

Is weaning off Nortriptyline necessary?

Yes, it is necessary to wean off Nortriptyline. Nortriptyline is a medication commonly prescribed for the treatment of depression. It can also be used to address neuropathic pain, prevent migraines, and help to quit smoking (1).

Nortriptyline helps balance the chemicals in the brain to improve symptoms of depression. However, Nortriptyline may not work for everyone and some people may experience side effects like nausea, acid reflux, nightmares, dry mouth, constipation, etc which may make some people want to stop taking this medication.

However, Nortriptyline should not be discontinued abruptly because of how it works. The effects of this antidepressant on the brain make it dependent on the medication, and the body may experience withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly stop taking Nortriptyline.

Weaning off, which is similar to the tapering of doses, refers to the process of gradually reducing a medication dose until it is eventually discontinued. This process could help the body adjust to the declining levels of Nortriptyline in your system, thereby minimizing the risk of experiencing possible side effects or complications.

What are the side effects associated with sudden Nortriptyline discontinuation?

Sudden discontinuation of Nortriptyline may cause unwanted side effects known as withdrawal symptoms, which include (2):

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness

Side effects may vary for each person depending on the dose being taken by the patient, treatment duration, and how abruptly the medication was discontinued. To avoid experiencing withdrawal symptoms, consult your doctor first before making any changes to your regimen.

How do you wean off Nortriptyline?

Weaning off Nortriptyline should always be done under the guidance of your healthcare provider. The method for weaning off medication is usually individualized based on the person’s needs and medical condition to make sure that the medication regimen is appropriate.

Typically, Nortriptyline is gradually reduced by 25% to 50% of your daily dose each week (3) before stopping it completely. The exact schedule and dose adjustment will be based on your body’s response to the regimen, so make sure to monitor your symptoms throughout the process.

If you experience any symptoms of withdrawal or worsening of your condition, immediately consult your doctor.

Along with the medication regimen, your healthcare provider may also recommend non-medical management such as lifestyle modifications by having a healthy diet and regular exercise could help improve your mood and overall well-being.

Alternative management of symptoms in the form of counselling and therapy can also help during the weaning process.


In this article, we discussed how weaning off Nortriptyline is necessary to prevent experiencing unwanted side effects associated with its sudden discontinuation.

We also discussed how weaning is done gradually to help the body adapt to the sudden change in the levels of medication in the system and the importance of closely observing your symptoms during the process of weaning.

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Medline Plus. Nortriptyline: MedlinePlus drug information [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US); [updated 2017 August 15; cited 2023 September 14]. Available from:


Merwar G, Gibbons JR, Hosseini SA, et al. Nortriptyline – StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 [updated 2023 June 5; cited 2023 September 14]. Available from:


Hilmer, S. et al. Deprescribing Guide for Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCAs) [Internet]. NSW Therapeutic Advisory Group Inc.; 2018 [updated 2021 January 13; cited 2023 September 13]. Available from:

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