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Trazodone to get off of Ambien
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Trazodone to get off of Ambien

My Dr. gave me Trazodone 50mg to help me get off of ambien. The plan is to take both at betdime and gradually reduce the ambien dosage until I no longer need it at all. The trazodone is supposed to help me sleep when the ambien wears off. He said the trazodone was not addictive and I could easily quit it after the ambien is out of my system.

Does anyone have any experience with this and does it sound like a plan that will work? I've only been taking the ambien for three months. The fast plan has me off of the ambien in a month or less, the slow plan may take up to two months.

If I take trazodone 50mg for two months, will I be able to stop taking it, or will I be looking at another long slow taper? Am I jumping from the frying pan into the fire, or is this a good way to go?
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Avatar_m_tn
Its not an exact science since everyone responds somewhat differently to all the various medications.    From my own experience,  the ambien withdrawl (withdrawal) could cause several restless nights until you wean off of it.   I found the trazodone to be of little help,  its an antidepressant which in theory should help you sleep.    You probably will have to have some kind of taper even with the trazadone though it shouldn't be as severe as from the ambien.     You didn't say how much ambien you're on and thats also a factor in withdrawl (withdrawal).      I never had much faith in some doctors who say this drug or that drug is not addictive.    I feel otherwise.    Sure,  trazadone is less addicting than say xanax or ativan but it is still addicting in its own way.
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Avatar_m_tn
I'm going through some pretty bad withdrawals from methadone. The worst thing for me and many other people is being able to sleep at night. I am being prescribed trazadone and it's the ONLY way I can sleep at night. I've been told by my doctor it is NOT addictive and I know 2 people personally who have had to take it for sleeping issues and have had no issues stopping use once they got through whatever it was that was keeping them awake at night. I trust this information 100%.  
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Avatar_m_tn
How much trazodone do you take? How much did your friends take? Do you know how long they took it, and did they taper off of it or just stop taking it?

50mg nearly made me sick, and *very* groggy the next day. 25mg was better and is much kinder to me the next day, but doesn't get me through the night very well. I'm kinda stuck between a good night and lousy day, or lousy night and so-so day. The thing that bugs me about trazodone is the long list of nasty side effects. I understand that those are mostly seen at higher dosages.

Good luck getting off of the methadone. How long do the withdrawals last?

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1218318_tn?1266812201
Your Doctor knows! Hey, you gotta sleep somehow while you taper off of Ambien. Z-drugs are serious to get off of and your doctor seems to know this (some don't, you're lucky). Follow directions, have faith, you'll do this Zootal.  

The Ambien taper goes on and on for me. It's hell in a pill to get off of. I'm on the final week of 1.25MG Ambien every night, down from 10MG a night. During my taper, which began in March, I've used strictly OTC sleep aids. At bedtime I take 1/2 Valerian, yogi bedtime tea, and sometimes a SleepMD cap (no Ambien). This usually GETS me to sleep! Then I've been taking my small 1.25MG Ambien dose when I wake up 2:30-3AM along with a full Valerian cap. I go back to sleep til the morning 9 times out of 10. Valerian is also a hypnotic, but nothing like the Z-drug "Night of the Living Dead" hypnotics! I will indeed need to taper off of Valerian also, nothing serious like tapering from Ambien though...

I found, for me, that if I follow the taper chart directions without question, use natural sleep aids in moderation (they recommend 3 hits of valerian on the bottle instructions, I take only 1 1/2 hits) I CAN actually sleep on 1.25MG of Ambien every night, but only for a few hours. The short half-life duration promps me to take it in the middle of the sleep cycle, not at the beginning. This seems to stretch it out for me. It works! Remember that when you get down to a low amount per night Zootal.

I'm done in less than 2 weeks. When I'm off Ambien for a full week I will have reduced my Valerian intake down to 1 cap by then, I hope. Calms Forte will also help in the middle of the night as I reduce off of Valerian, which uses the same GABA receptor that Ambien uses. I want clean from everything hypnotic. Then I plan to go without sleep to let my body naturally catch up on it's own, God willing.
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Avatar_m_tn
My Dr. said I could go cold turkey, but it would be a very unpleasant week. I'm not sure what that would do to my mental state, between withdrawals and no sleep for a week.

Other than that, he really wasn't sure what to do to get me off of it. His idea was to use a less addicting sleeping pill to replace the ambien. He suggested trazodone, but I'm not getting along very well with the trazodone. It doesn't carry me past 4am which is when I need something else, but left me really groggy most of the next day. It has a long list of nasty side effects, and I'm sensitive to side effects. Even the ambien is causing problems.

My Dr. suggested I could be off of the ambien in a couple of weeks. 10mg the first week (or so), 5mg the second week (or so), and less to none after that. I'm not sure how realistic that is - if I had something to keep me asleep when the ambien was gone it might be more realistic of a schedule. I think I'm going to have to talk to my Dr. and see if there is anything else I can use - I'm also quite open to going the OTC/natural route like you have done.

How long does it take for the Valerian to take effect? Have you experienced any side effects from it?

You are doing great if you can actually get to sleep without the ambien! Does 1.25 mg actually do anything? It sounds like it would be easy to walk from that low of a dosage. The ambien trains your brain to not sleep at all without it, but there has to come a dosage level where that is no longer the case.

You've been at this since March.  Four months. I'm glad you are approaching the end, that gives me hope. I'm just now starting the taper, and still don't have a good working routine. I slept 4 hours last night, and I can't do this for the next month...
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Avatar_m_tn
PS. Please keep in touch. You are at the end of what I'm starting, I'd like to know how you finish up this journey.
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1351082_tn?1308670949
I dont know if this will help but while detoxing off of hydrocodone and xanax I was put on 100mg of trazadone a night, i first was put on ambien 10mg a night  by a Dr that had no idea what he was doing, it was awful i hallucianted on the ambien and couldnt remember anything the next morning....so while in rehab i was put on trazadone  by my addiction Dr. and it made me very sleepy but at least I slept and I was on it for 7 mths and I had no problem at all getting off it I just cut my dose in half for about a week and then I was done I had no withdrawals at all...its seems very safe and is not addicting if it was my Dr would not of put me on it...we are all different but you should have no problems with this..I wish you the best..
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1218318_tn?1266812201
Why it has taken me so long is the fact that I've made sure each reduction became completely stabilized before moving on to the next. I actually stayed on 5MG for 3 weeks. 5MG was a major hurtle. Believe it or not 1.25, especially at 3 to 4 in the morning, does help me continue to sleep 'til morning. But I've always added a 450MG cap of Valarian along with it. I believe making sure each reduction became completely stabilized prior to moving on has enabled me to get some sleep assistance from 1.25MG.

As far as I know I don't have any problems with Valarian Root side effects. BUT! It's yet another substance that effects the CNS, working with the GABA receptors, and it's not recommended you stop it abruptly. The quick 2-week taper you mention above will work for Valarian.

All and all you've got to be able to get some sleep while you're in the process of getting off of Ambien. It's a long process. Near the end of the process you'll find your small nightly Ambien dose will be a small addition to the sleep formula you and your doctor have settled on to help you sleep through all of this. Just have faith that you WILL get off of the crap.

I will absolutely keep in touch!
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Avatar_m_tn
How long did you sleep on trazodone? Did you have any problems sleeping once you quit taking it? And how were you the next day? 50mg just wiped me out the next day, it wasn't very good sleep and the following day I was pretty groggy. 25mg doesn't bother me much the next day, but nor is it good sleep. The thought of taking 100mg scares me seeing how bad the 50mg was. And the fact that you were able to walk away after seven months helps me a lot!
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Avatar_m_tn
The person I know who was on it was taking 100mg. the nights she couldn't sleep. I'm currently taking 150mg. I know it seems a lot.....It is a lot but I tried taking a lower amount when I first got completely off of methadone. I was still having troubles sleeping. The amount I'm taking now works wonders for me. Several years ago I tried Trazadone for sleeping and the next morning I felt like I was hung over. Since it's been prescribed to me I've not had that feeling. Even if I did it would be well worth getting actual sleep at night. When my friend didn't need to take it anymore, she just stopped and that was it, no issues. I hope this information is helpful to you.....
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1351082_tn?1308670949
When I first started taking it, I have to say I had to be ready for bed then and there I would get so groggy but it got better the longer I took it and yes since I stopped taking it I sleep pretty good I havent had any problems, I will tell you its so much safer then ambien. Just try and do what the Doc says Im not sure about the tapering from ambien I was only on it for 2 wks and my addiction Dr took me right off of it and put me on the trazadone, everyone in the rehab I was at took Traz. so it should get better for you...and u should have no problems getting off it..Sunshine
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Avatar_m_tn
Day three at reduced dosage. 15mg ambien, down from 20 (10 at bedtime, 5mg at 4am or so) and 25mg trazodone before bedtime. Lowest ambien dosage in 6 weeks. Shaky and twitchy feeling, especially when I go to bed. Takes longer for ambien to kick in, and the 5mg in the middle of the night barely seems to do anything.

When you reduce the ambien dosage, how long does it take for any withdrawals to pass and to stabilize?

When you reduce, is there any rule of thumb on how much to reduce? My Dr. said to cut it in half, from 20 to 10, and then the next week cut it from 10 to 5, but I'm not sure I can go that fast - not sure how bad the withdrawals would be if I did that, and I'm still looking for something to keep me asleep past 4am.

I can't take higher doses of trazodone - strangly enough, it makes the ambien less effective. When I took 50mg, the 10mg ambien did not seem to do anything at all, and I was awake for two hours after taking it. On 25mg trazodone, 10mg ambien takes 45 minutes to kick in, the 5mg ambien at 4am does not seem to do anything. It is as if the trazodone makes the ambien ineffective.

Still trying to get the formula down...needs some fine tuning.
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1218318_tn?1266812201
Your doctor gave you exactly what my doctor gave me for a plan of action. The same plan right out the window. He had also put me on Clonidine to help me with sleep. I'm guessing they got this info directly from the "fine makers of Ambien".

My experience: the first week I only cut a quarter off of a 10MG tab of generic Ambien and I had breathing difficulties by the end of the week; one of the many WD symptoms with Ambien. I had high BP and a slow heart rate which caused my problems. I was okay until I did my sport, which brings your heart rate up. I was on the phone with my doctor immediately and we decided on a much slower plan.  Having been all over the internet, studying the subject in depth, I had come across a long, slow, taper. I took it to him, and he's been working with me on it ever since. He just didn't have much experience with Ambien cessation it seems. Everyone's different and needs fine tuning indeed.

I've run into folks who actually stopped cold-turkey and won. So it's my guess that it's the physical make-up of the patient that determines how well it goes on a rapid detox of Ambien. It appears your doc thinks you'll do well.

In answer to your stabilization question based on what I've been through: Expect WD symptoms, especially at the beginning of each new cut. Google and study what to expect. Most symptoms for me are annoying and that's about all now that everything is well under control. When they go away, and they will go away, you will then be fairly stabilized on that particular amount. For me, that's when it always became time for my next cut.

I cling to each cut as forward momentum and as a new freedom. Once you cut NEVER go backwards.

Do expect sleep problems and work something out with your doctor. I got his okay on Valarian and melatonin, we stopped the clonidine weeks ago. Like I mention in my above post, I'm sleeping on 1.25MG of generic Ambien, no more, and about to get off completely. It can be done.
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks for the info - it helps a lot. I don't think anyone out there really has experience with ambien cessation, at least I'm not finding many that have taken it long term and then successfully discontinued.

Did the clonidine help you sleep? It doesn't look like a very pleasant drug, but its list of side effects are very mild compared to trazodone. I've only been on the trazodone for four days, and mornings are still pretty rough. may talk to Dr. about an alternative, and I'm strongly favoring herbal/naturals at this point. I recently tapered and discontinued my blood pressure meds (my blood pressure is still normal - I check it several times a week) and I'm still a bit shaky from the atenolol, but that is another story. I know, I know, still not 100% over the atenolol and here I am tapering off the ambien - maybe I should take a 2x4 and whack myself on the head a few times...but I can deal with it - I am very determined to get over this and it's not that bad. Sorry...rambling...Honestly, modern medicine can be wonderful. It saved my daughters life, and does miracles for so many people. But I personally am disappointed with the limitations of traditional medicine, and the suffering (and money) it has caused me. I'm studying alternative medicines right now to see if I can find answers and help there. My Chiro has done me a lot more good than my primary physician has (and costs less).

I'm surprised going from 10 to 7.5 caused so many problems - that isn't much of a reduction, but then you took it for a lot longer than I did. I was at 17.5mg for only a month, and at 20mg for only a week, so dropping right down to 15mg in one shot has been actually easy for me to do. I take 10mg at bedtime, 5mg about four hours later. Getting rid of that second dosage won't be that hard, and will put me at a 10mg level. That alone will probably clear my head a lot - 20mg stays with me for most of the next day and has a few annoying side effects that I never saw at 10mg or even 15mg. Three days at 15mg and my head is already noticeably clearer. Be glad you never went that far. It's going to take me a few weeks just to get to the point you started at, more or less.

Give me a few months to work my way through this - then maybe we should get together and write a book on "How To Get Off Of Ambien" by people who have been there, done that. We could help a lot of people and maybe make a bit of money also. I know that right now I would pay a *lot* of money for a book like that - real life experiences from people that fought ambien and won. You know maybe better than I do what a hell ambien addiction is - not being able to sleep without it, fuzzy headed the next day, the anxiety, depression, etc. We are not alone...there have got to be a lot of others out there

So thanks again for your comments - they help a lot, and give me hope.
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Avatar_f_tn

  I have been on Ambien for three years.  I took 10mg every night.  My new doctor had me start to cut my pill each night just take off alittle at a time.  For two months I did this.  Now I'm down to 5 mg at night.  I wake up a few times at night, but fall back to sleep.  Now my doctor has started me on trazadone.  I just took 25mg last night at 8:30pm, by 10:30 I had to take my ambien to fall asleep, but I only woke up once to go to the bathroom.  I'm tired to day, but tonight I will increase the trazadone to 50mg and try to sleep without the ambien.  I'll keep you posted
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