Suggest ways to wean off Elavil inspite of having memory loss

Posted on Wed, 17 Jun 2015 in Mental Health
Question: I have been taking Elavil for a period of 20 yrs. for sleep but earlier like 10 yrs prior I took it for an antidepressant along with another antidepressant for chronic depression and found it help me relax enough to sleep, for those 20 last years I worked as an RN on 12 hr. shifts and my physician suggested I take an SSRI and tried to get me to stop taking the Elavil and I said no because of the sleep issue even though it was not recommended. Now I am 71 and I am experiencing some memory loss and not following some instructions. other than depression I am hypertensive but I zumba 2x weekly and totally have no other physical problems I want to get off the Elavil please tell me what I could take homeopathic for sleep
Answered by Dr. Kathy Robinson 2 hours later
Brief Answer:
melatonin, valerian, cammomile

Detailed Answer:
Hello and thanks for your question.
It is true that elavil has some anticholinergic side effects that can slow thinking and impair memory so I agree that it is a good idea to get off of it if you are having any cognitive impairment.
There are many homeopathic and natural supplements that you can use for sleep. Here is a list for you to try melatonin, valerian, 5-HTTP, phosphtidyl serine (may also assist with memory) and valerian. Some people use 5-HTTP to assist with falling asleep and phosphtidyl serine to maintain sleep. %-HTTP should not be taken if you are on any other antidepressant as it increases serotonin to some extent and this can be problematic if you are also on other medications that increase serotonin.
If you think there is any risk of sleep apnea or restless leg being part of the problem you may want to ask your doctor for a sleep study.
Dr. Robinson
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
Answered by
Dr. Kathy Robinson

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :1989

Answered : 3478 Questions


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