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Withdrawal from Ambien ???
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Withdrawal from Ambien ???

The only thing that I still take is Ambien for sleep at night.  I wanted to stop taking this and try to deal with the sleeplessness problem without any drug intervention.  I have been feeling crappy withdrawal-like symptoms.  I was taking 15 mg of Ambien every night for several months.  I thought that stopping this should not cause withdrawal symptoms.  


My question is this:  Should I expect this to be as bad as codeine / painkiller withdrawal?  How long does withdrawal from Ambien usually last?
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Avatar_n_tn
G'Kar:
hate to tell ya' buddy, but you would best be doing this withdrawl (withdrawal)
under the supervision of an MD. 90% of all MD's are blowfart, ar-
rogant assholes, so this would be the last thing i would tell a
person to do! see we could assume that one drug withdrawl (withdrawal) is pret-
ty much the same as another. opiate withdrawl (withdrawal) usually will not
kill a person, just make you wish you were dead. there are many
drugs whose withdrawl (withdrawal) can be much more troublesome, even deadly.
you've come a long way G'Kar, just to be sure, talk to your MD a-
bout this one. hopefully your MD is fairly knowledgeable of ad-
diction.please trust me on this one, as you can really hurt your-
self coming off most goof balls (sleepers, tranks...)

be careful & keep an angel on your shoulder!
kip

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Avatar_n_tn
I did the same thing with Ambien because the doc told me it was this wonderful new safe sleep aid.  HAH!!  My major WD symptom was not being able to sleep and when I did I had horrible vivid nightmares. I think it's just more poison from our pharmaceutical companies marketed as something we all need.  Seen the TV ads? I don't think you're supposed to stop suddenly - same problems as benzos - but I did. And survived. And flushed the rest of that **** down the toilet.  There are worse things than insomnia.
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Avatar_n_tn
ambien is a really short acting sleep aid (3-4)hours and really does give you a blast of amnesia(some can't remember who they had sex with the night before....or if they had it!  I can't imagine it would be addicting unless you took it all day long...then you'd be mostly asleep and you'd forget all your waking hours.  Reminds me of the narcotics when you get into high doses.  certainly it changes your sleeping pattern, but so will benadryl.  I think ambien is a fairly safe drug if you take it once before bedtime ( bout 1/2 hour and go to bed....don't call your friends or go out and party!), and if you awake at 2am you could repeat your dose and still wake up fairly clear headed. I've found that taking a little piece(1/4) of a 10mg zonks me nicely, and if I need it again during the night I do ok the next day.  I know its not my normal sleep pattern, but I freak out if I have to stay up all night with just myself.  Let me know if anyone has been addicted to this stuff.   Thanks hjp
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Avatar_n_tn
I forgot about the amnesia!!  One night I called three people and didn't remember the next day.  They all told me about it and how funny I was.  All I could think is what if I keep taking more pills cause I forgot I already took them.  So I would take a pill and then put the bottle in a really inaccessible place so if I went after another one I would hopefully be too confused to find it.  Like you, it dawned on me these were not side effects I was comfortable with and I flushed the rest of mine down the toilet and decided staying awake wins hands down over an OD.
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Avatar_n_tn
One thing that really concerned me was the day after I took Ambien, I noticed that I forgot a few hours of teh previous night.  I mean really flat out could not remember it.  Most of the time it was not a problem, but if you happen to stay awake after taking it .... well lets just say I'm glad I was home inb bed!!  I think that this stuff and its effects are understated by our medical community.

I think I'll just deal with staying awake.
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Avatar_n_tn
thanks for your comments, I'll be more careful with my ambien.hjp
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Avatar_n_tn
I took ambien (20mg a night)for three weeks once and when i stopped I didn't sleep for two days, was jittery, had diarhea (diarrhea), saw flashing lights everywhere and was convinced people were talking about me in the grocery store. I think that's pretty serious wd symptoms.  It tells you on the patient handout that it is addictive and not to stop taking it suddenly. This is not an innocuous drug no matter how much the pharmaceutical company wants you to think so and buy it. Their shareholders are more important than your health. Trust me on that one. And the doctors need to be a little more skeptical of what they're told by the salespeople too.
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Avatar_n_tn
I take half of a 10mg of Ambien when traveling - it really helps and then when I get home just don't take it.  After a long trip last year found I couldn't sleep but I knew it was the Ambien and just went without it.  It's worth it to be able to sleep when  traveling.
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Avatar_n_tn
Check your details on ambien, you should not take an additional pill if you wake up in the middle of the night.  Sonata is a competetive sleep aid that is much shorter acting, and can be taken again if the patient wakes up during the night.  Your details describibg ambien sound like you may be confusing the two meds.  As for others who feel the problem lies with the reps and pharm companies, you are partially correct.  Alot of the problem lies in the amount of time we are allowed to communicate with docs.  As someone Posted, 90% are arrogant know-it-alls.  My advice to every patient.  Read the PACKAGE INSERT for any medications you are taking.  Any doctor should have this info available, or it can be found on the internet.  Do this before you take any med.  In the world of managed healthcare, docs can't spend the time needed to educate patients, for our own good we have to rely on ourselves for the knowledge needed to make sound decisions concerning meds.
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Avatar_n_tn
sonata doesn't work for most people, and ambien does.  I'll stick to my guns and say its safe if you stay under 10mg/night. 1/2 at bedtime and another 1/2 during the night if you pop awake.  I can't speak for those who take higher doses.  Because you develop a different sleep pattern on ambien, stopping it will cause disruption of your sleep, possibly for several days, but I don't consider that being addicted.  I don't sell this stuff, but it works pretty well, and it seems to be safe: certainly if you can sleep without it don't use it.
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Avatar_n_tn
Given a 10mg pill, and taken half now half later is fine.  I may have mistakenly thought you meant two 10 mgs in one night.  I use ambien myself and find it works MUCH better than sonata.  Sonata has made me, and a couple of others I know,wake up feeling angry.  And lanas is corect meds are often given in a manner different than label suggests.
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Avatar_n_tn
I'm with hjp--I've often taken 1/2 before bed and 1/2 in the night--I KNOW this is not the way it is prescribed, but it works well for me this way too, as long as I can get at least 4 hours additional sleep after the second pill. (Though I've quit taking it altogether for other reasons unrelated). The bottom line is that meds are prescribed as they should be taken by the general population; I don't think that means that some people cannot take it in a slightly different manner.  I also agree that I am not suggesting taking more than 1 10 mg pill in a night. When I take more, I feel worse the next day.
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If you think that Ambien is an innocuous sleep aid that is safe and effective and non addictive here is some information from the manufacturer:

"Following the rapid dose decrease or abrupt discontinuation of sedative/hypnotics, there have been reports of signs and symptoms similar to those associated with withdrawl (withdrawal) from other CNS-depressant drugs.

Dependence: Sleep medicines can cause dependence, especially when these medicines are used, regularly for longer than a few weeks or at high doses. Some people develop a need continue taking their medicines. This is known as dependence  or "addiction."
When people develop dependence, they may have difficulty stopping the sleep medicine. If the medicine is suddenly stopped, the body is not able to function normally and unpleasant symptoms (see Withdrawal) may occur. They may find they have to keep taking the medicine either at the prescribed dose or at increasing doses just to avoid withdrawal symptoms."

So keep on taking it every night.  As Drug Rep suggested you might want to investigate the possible consequences of such action. Unpleasant symtpoms includes a whole lot more than just "sleep disruptions." Withdrawl (withdrawal) symptoms from Ambien are the same as withdrawl (withdrawal) symptoms from benzodiazapines although it is not classified as a benzo it acts in the brain in the same manner and therefore causes the same disruption of GABA functioning.
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Avatar_n_tn
I appluade your efforts to find out the truth for yourself.  It is my job to keep docs up to date on any info relating to new or existing products.  I don't work with ambien, but do take it.  I have foound success in talking with my doctor about it and folloing his sugesstions.  I know of many docs that give it away like candy.  one  rep I know carries the product.  It should be used for no more than two weeks as an aid to creating a productive sleep pattern.  first goal should be to get to sleep, once you accomplish that taper off.  if it took 2 pills to get to sleep, try 1 1/2 next night then 1 then 1/2 then quarter then none.  I no one doc who wrote one script with 6 refills.  That patient will have a hard time with it.  Anything that effects chemical levels in the brain are going to produce rebound effects generaly in proportion to the premedicated problem and the amount of drug needed to solve the problem.  I am not a doc, but know many of them quite well, woulb be happy to survey a few for opinions if anyone would like.  This would not constitute medical advice, but could answer some questions to help you find answers you may need.
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I don't think this forum is about splitting hairs, but if you'll do a thorough literature search you'll find Ambien has a very short half life=2 hours, cleared by the kidneys(cytochrome p450), and mostly gone before you wake up IF YOU STAY 10MG OR UNDER. Not recommended for addicts of course.  Literature says detoxing off 40mg of ambien daily is equivalent to detoxing off 20mg valium.  10mg of ambien daily detox is equivalent to PLACEBO.  Again I don't sell the **** but I'll bet its safer than aspirin at 10mg/day or under.hjp
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Well, I took it for more than two weeks and guess what?  Like any drug you build tolerance and you're going to be taking more than 10 mg a night or it won't work anymore. If you're at the point that you have to taper, I'd say you're dependent.  I'm not telling anyone not to take Ambien once in awhile to help them sleep.  I'm just saying there's a perception out there that it's completely harmless and it's not. It's an addictive drug. No way around it. I know my doctor gave me as much as I wanted with endless refills so he certainly was misinformed somewhere.

Drug rep, I think it would be great if you could poll some doctors on this.  I think I read somewhere that 60% of the people suffer insomnia once in awhile so I'd bet there's a lot of people taking this. And completely off the subject, ask about Xanax too.  Now there's a drug I beleive has very little therapeutic use, is highly and quickly addictive, and is handed out like candy. That and Ativan.  I've talked with three people in the past week that were addicted to these drugs in only a month by taking the amount the doctor prescribed and they are going through protracted withdrawl (withdrawal) after tapering off. They are completely miserable. I understand there's some kind of class action suit brewing against Xanax.  Sorry, way off topic, but I think it might be interesting to know if doctors are aware of the consequences of prescribing these two drugs.
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Today is Saturday Feb.23,2002 I just drop my brother off to a drug detox.Hosp. in Westport,Conn. He was precribed Ambien 1 yr. ago by his doctor. Let me tell you my family's experience on the subject of Ambien. My Brother was having vivid nightmares and the Doctor precribed Ambien to help him sleep. He was suppose to take 10mg. a day at Bedtime. He started pushing his (us) family away from him and lost 3 of 4 jobs. He is a very intelligent guy and had a very good work ethic. We knew something was wrong but didn't know what. He started lying to us about things that didn't even make any sense. He was arrested last week for forgeing a doctors precription. Come to find out that he has been doing this on a regular basis for the past several months.
I have been in law inforcement for the past 25 years and this is the first time I have EVER seen someone forge a script for AMBIEN
It turns out that he has been taking 60 to 80 mg. of this medication per day for the past several months. My Brother is responsible for his own dicisions and I am sure taken properly that Ambien does good for some people. But as far as I am concerned this is a very addictive drug and can be easily abused.
The Doctor on intake at the Hosp. had never seen someone come in addicted to Ambien, and frankly were not ever sure how to detox it. This has torn our family apart. My brothers health insurance
were not even sure that they would cover the detox because there was almost no documentation they could refer to about addiction to ambien. If I did not get my brother into the Hosp today, I know that in a short time he would be dead either by the misuse of the drug itself or worst suicide. I am not for or against this drug if used as prescribed. But do I think it is highly addictive, YOU BET!! And the scary part is that the drug companys and Doctors praise it and precribe it without fully discloseing it potential for abuse and possibly death. That is my and my family's experience with the Drug called, "AMBIEN".
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I'm taking Ambien post detoxification from oxyontin ... I am still having chills in my feet and a bit of nausea each day ... far after over a month of big league withdrawals from the oxycontin.  I am curious, could this be from the Ambien, or is it probably attibutable to lingering effects of the oxyctontin withdrawal?  Thanks ... Lou
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Jared, I'm sorry you had to learn the hard way that this drug is addictive. It never occurred to me that there wouldn't even be a withdrawl (withdrawal) protocol for it. I would imagine a taper would work.  Make sure your brother never takes benzodiazapines (like xanax, ativan) in the future as he will be susceptible to abusing them.  The docs may use them for a detox but once he's over that he should never take any meds in that class again.

What I think is really amazing is the commericials on TV for this drug: "Ambien - works like a dream."  Yeh, a nightmare.

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hi,this is my 1st time to submit a question.  i've been taking ambien > 4 years now.  i have a degenerative back disease which calcifies my disks thereby temp or perm damaging the relevant nerves.  needless to say, i wake every time i move from pain.  so my Pain Mngt. doc prescribed 20 mg. nightly 4 years ago. i have major depression, stress, & anxiety as i still haven't adjusted from the once athletic, professional, social life that was gone overnight when i woke up w/a crick in my neck in 1997 (severe spondylosis of cerv spine) & that was just the beginning.
i take anywhere from 70-100mg daily for the depression, stress & anxiety & it really helps. but bring it back on...i'm terrified of this drug, & when i try to detox, i have these horrible chest pains & difficulty breathing, nausea, out of body feelings, inability to communicate (i feel like i'm echoing & unfocused).  i've never made it.  i'm scared i'm playing yo-yo w/my heart & or pulmonary & CNS.  i read that there is no known withdrawal / detox protocol - but some time has passed now & maybe someone has found a site?  maybe the drug reps know a site where the literature can be found?  i wish i could go to a doctor, but i can't b/c of my hub's very public med admin/surg center/job in town.  it's a tight community.  thanks for ANY info you can provide.  quiet & desperate, delaney
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It is true there is no detox protocol for this drug yet.  It is a benzodiazapine like drug however and I would imagine that it would be necessary to taper from it.  That said, it is almost impossible to find anyone who knows anything about benzodiazapine detox either. The rule of thumb for a taper is no more than 10% per week reduction.  So for 100 mgs. you would taper 10 mgs the first week.  The second week you would be at 90 and would taper 9 mgs.  You could probably do 10 the second week as well as it's only a fraction of a percent more and much easier than trying to cut 1 mg off a 10 mg pill.  But that is the general idea.  At the end of the taper, you may have to slow down to two weeks between cuts.  Listen to your body, it will tell you if you are cutting too much or going too fast. If you would like more info you can email me at ***@****.
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Please tell me how long your ed symptoms lasted. I took 20 mg a night for 2 weeks and stopped 3 days ago. I haven't slept in 3 days and Ive become obsessed with the idea that my son is using drugs. My 18 yr old son was shocked when I made him take a drug test!! It was negative...and I'm still obsessed with the thought that he's using drugs....I feel like I'm going crazy!!! I will never take ambien again! Desperate woman .
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