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lusia (@lusia)

Weaning off zolpidem (Ambien)

Sleep Health | Last Active: 6 days ago | Replies (328)

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I have been taken Ambien since Sept. 2001. Like many of us, I had problems falling asleep after the events of 9/11. I have struggled with insomnia for most of my adult life. Initially, I was taking 5 mg of Ambien as needed but after a few years, I was prescribed 10 mg which I have been taking every night for the last ten years. I saw both a neurologist and a sleep specialist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester for an episode of Transient Global Amnesia (not related to Ambien use). Both were concerned about the DOSE of Ambien but not its frequency; the FDA has recommended a dose of less than 10 mg for women. Not one of my many doctors has suggested stopping the Ambien entirely. I also take Effexor and Wellbutrin for chronic depression; both enable me to get out of bed in the morning and live a relatively normal life.
Best of luck,

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Replies to "Hi, I have been taken Ambien since Sept. 2001. Like many of us, I had problems..."

Hi Helen:
Thank you for taking the time to tell your story. I sometimes feel that I’m the odd one out having to rely on both antidepressants and ambien at the same time. After reading many posts here at Mayo Clinic Connect, I am realizing that I’m not such an odd duck. My doctors also don’t discourage me from taking the ambien, but my family doctor has suggested that I begin lowering my Effexor dosage and has been helping me with the process. I’ve been taking Effexor for 15 years and I am willing to cut it down or get off of it entirely just to see how I do without it. I always had a problem with insomnia but didn’t realize that there was a drug out there that would make such a difference in my quality of life. In 2001, my first husband died of cancer at age 54. I was his caretaker and held down a full time job at the same time. Sleep consisted of an hour or two before I had to get up to tend to my husband. Then I would try to get back to sleep for a while before it would start all over again. I was a hot mess before I ended up at the doctors office. He made sure I understood how important it was for me to sleep and prescribed ambien. I was lucky enough to have my mother in law spend some time helping me and I was able to try the ambien. It was right then and there that I realized that I didn’t know what a good nights sleep was. I’ve been taking it ever since. I wonder if I could live without the ambien now, but I am so afraid to try. They say, if its not broken, don’t fit it, but in this case does that still apply?

I have had that thought twice in my adult life about my anti anxiety medication. Let’s just say I am lucky to still be happily married to the same woman after being dumb enough to attempt something a second time that turned out so poorly the first. I am definitely a person who lives better through chemistry, as well as those who love me and would prefer that I stay at least slightly lovable.

Hi, I have been taking Ambien since 1995. I also take Cymbalta and Wellbutrin. My Dr. doesn't want to prescribe Ambien for me anymore and while I have signed up for a Sleep Study and some CBT to get more information about my sleep, the thought of not having Ambien to ensure a few hours sleep makes me panicky. Is this some new trend with Drs to not prescribe drugs that are proven to be effective? Is this part of the Opioid witch hunt? Very Frustrated. RR