Weening Off of Ativan For Sleep

Posted by pastore @pastore, Dec 27, 2018

Has anyone been prescribed Ativan for sleep, been dependent on it, and then weened yourself off of it and been given something else to replace it and/or been able to get off of it completely? I have been on 1 mg Ativan for 3 months due to the inability to fall and stay asleep due to what I have now determined was a botched nasal surgery. I have been tapering off of it for this last month and have gotten down to .125 mg, but am unable to get over the last hump, because it at least gives me a couple hours before I am jolted out of sleep from not being able to breathe. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what to do?

Good Morning, After I received my CPAP I thought that it would cure all of my sleeping problems. When I asked my Sleep Doctor why I still could not sleep even after gettting adjusted to the CPAP, he said you have two problems: Sleep Apnea and insomnia, and the only way to cure insomnia is medication! My problem is I can go to sleep for about 2 hours. Then take Clonazepam which helps me sleep for another 3-4 hours. He said that I will need medication for the rest of my life. And, I hate being dependent on medication, but that extra few hours sleep, helps me make it through the day. Good Luck!

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@sleepy0

Good Morning, After I received my CPAP I thought that it would cure all of my sleeping problems. When I asked my Sleep Doctor why I still could not sleep even after gettting adjusted to the CPAP, he said you have two problems: Sleep Apnea and insomnia, and the only way to cure insomnia is medication! My problem is I can go to sleep for about 2 hours. Then take Clonazepam which helps me sleep for another 3-4 hours. He said that I will need medication for the rest of my life. And, I hate being dependent on medication, but that extra few hours sleep, helps me make it through the day. Good Luck!

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Did he literally say that you will need medication for the rest of your life? Hypnosis is said to help some people, others (me for example) have been helped by mindful meditation. The Benzodiazepine group of drugs including Clonazepam are widely used but have so many documented side effects (and the risk of tolerance developing) that although they sometimes have to be used (hopefully short term) for certain indications such as panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and social anxiety disorder I thought they were drugs of last choice for sleep disorders?

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O No, he thinks I can get off of ambien. He wants me to log sleep info, and get up at the same time every day. Also going to be going for overnight sleep study next month. I really want off of it, but have tried so many things myself, and nothing has worked so I am asking for help from Mayo. I found this connect group and thought I would start a Ambien discussion.

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@sleepy0

Good Morning, After I received my CPAP I thought that it would cure all of my sleeping problems. When I asked my Sleep Doctor why I still could not sleep even after gettting adjusted to the CPAP, he said you have two problems: Sleep Apnea and insomnia, and the only way to cure insomnia is medication! My problem is I can go to sleep for about 2 hours. Then take Clonazepam which helps me sleep for another 3-4 hours. He said that I will need medication for the rest of my life. And, I hate being dependent on medication, but that extra few hours sleep, helps me make it through the day. Good Luck!

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I know exactly what you are experiencing.i too have sleep apnea but have never been able to adjust to it. How can anyone sleep with an apparatus on your face. Come to find out I'm also suffering from insomnia. Take lorazapam .1 mg every night and sleep pretty well. Also have RLS and take .75mg and Gabapentin 300 mg for nerve pain. Have 4 nerve root impengements on lower back due to scoliosis and spinal fusion. Before lorazepam I tried Ambien for 3 nights and still laid awake all night.

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Hi, @rachel123 – how are you feeling about the overnight sleep study?

@rensacb – if you do want to read others' experiences on CPAP machines at any point, here is a discussion about them https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/cpap-and-sleep/. Are you doing something else for the apnea, then?

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I have also been on Ambien and want off of it. It started because I was given Prednisone for a blood disease. which in turn led to not being able to sleep. I have been on Ambien for over 10 years and I panic if I do not have any. I have tried every over the counter sleep medication and nothing works. I was also given different prescription sleeping pills and they don't work either.

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@kdel

I have also been on Ambien and want off of it. It started because I was given Prednisone for a blood disease. which in turn led to not being able to sleep. I have been on Ambien for over 10 years and I panic if I do not have any. I have tried every over the counter sleep medication and nothing works. I was also given different prescription sleeping pills and they don't work either.

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Hi, @kdel, and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. Having so much trouble sleeping and trying so many over-the-counter medications with nothing working would be very frustrating.

You might check out this discussion, specifically on tapering off of zolpidem (Ambien) https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/weenoff-ambian-with-melatonin

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Thought I'd check in on some of you all who have shared about insomnia and trying different medications or other strategies to deal with it. It would be great to hear an update.

@pastore – how did your taper end up for the lorazepam (Ativan)? Are you taking something else now for sleep, or using another tactic?

@sleepy0 – I noted that you talked about trying clonazepam and your doctor telling you about a trial and error process with finding the right medication for insomnia. Have you found something that is working effectively for getting some more sleep?

@rachel123 – you mentioned going for an overnight sleep study. How did that go?

@kdel – what have you tried lately for your sleep? Is anything working well for you?

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@lisalucier

Thought I'd check in on some of you all who have shared about insomnia and trying different medications or other strategies to deal with it. It would be great to hear an update.

@pastore – how did your taper end up for the lorazepam (Ativan)? Are you taking something else now for sleep, or using another tactic?

@sleepy0 – I noted that you talked about trying clonazepam and your doctor telling you about a trial and error process with finding the right medication for insomnia. Have you found something that is working effectively for getting some more sleep?

@rachel123 – you mentioned going for an overnight sleep study. How did that go?

@kdel – what have you tried lately for your sleep? Is anything working well for you?

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My last appointment the doctor said to take a Cloneazepam when I go to bed and another when I wake up which is usually 2-3 hours, then restless the rest of the night. He said to try this for six months and if it does not work we will try something different.

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How did you get off the last .125 mg. You tapered from 1 mg to .125 mg in a month?

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@rachel123

O No, he thinks I can get off of ambien. He wants me to log sleep info, and get up at the same time every day. Also going to be going for overnight sleep study next month. I really want off of it, but have tried so many things myself, and nothing has worked so I am asking for help from Mayo. I found this connect group and thought I would start a Ambien discussion.

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Hi Rachel,I'll tell you my story.Have been on ambien for 16 years and no trouble.But recently my primary care doctor decided that I had to wen off it.Well she cut the amount from 30 to 27 to 24 and so on.I was to take 3 mg of melatonin for 2 weeks,thenn 5 and finally 10.Well it was terrible.I felt nore unsteady than ever.I then went to see a 'Sleep doc" and pulmonologist who thought I could stay on ambie, after I did a documentation for 2 weeks prior to my visit.He was very ingormative and said I could if I wante do a sleep study,which i will do after the Covid surge is less.On my next visit to my primary care doctor she went back to prescrbing my monthly dose,5mgand said Dr.Lee had told her it was all right.So maybe,because I recently turned 85 ,she was worried.I was angry with her because she never once in all those previous years suggested weaning off ambien.So i hope that you can settle your problem.

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mare12, so approx. 8 years ago my PCP retired. The new PCP was young and had been told what to do with older people who had been on ambiem for some time. She perscribed one of the NEW medications THAT ADMINISTRATION TOLD HER TO DO TO GET PEOPLE OFF AMBIEM! FOGOT THE name now but it has been on MayoConnect a month or so ago. Anyway she switched me over to it without going off the ambiem! Within 10 days I was having horrible headaches and other side effects! I stopped and told her what I was experienceing. She said to stop which I already had, as I was out of town on business!
When I got home I was ok the first night. The second night we don't know what happened to me but during the night I got up and blacked out and fell down 20' of stairs and suffered a TBI, Trumatic Brain Injury, a brain bleed.
They did not see the brain bleed with the first set of xrays, but 8 days later I had seizures and went into a coma for 7 days!
My point to this is that don't let them tell you it is bad for you or addicting! Yes, you have been on it for 16 years as have I! That was one of the lessons I have learned in the last 8 years.
WE ALL NEED TO BE OUR OWN ADVOCATES! WE NEED TO STAND UP A ND SAY NO TO THEM! I.m sorry but at my age,75, what the hell difference does it make if I am "addicted" to it! What if I still drank liquor, would they take me off of it!
Hang in there lady and stand your ground!
Sundance(RB)

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