Weaning off zolpidem (Ambien)

Posted by lusia @lusia, Dec 9, 2017

taking 5mg ambian for 20 years can melatonin help to ween me off

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Sleep Health Support Group.

@dj0751

I've been taking zolpidem 10 mg for about 18 years and I sleep great but I hate the idea of dependence. I should be able to sleep without it. I don't even remember why I started!! There HAS to be an off-ramp to take that is safe. I am otherwise very healthy. I am 72 years old and still working as a psychotherapist! I have never had to increase the dosage but recently I have been doing stupid sh*t after the zolpidem starts working, like calling people – emailing/texting people at midnite, buying stuff from amazon and having NO memory of doing it. I have read that chronic use of zolpidem puts one at higher risk of developing Alzheimers. Please …is there anyone who has successfully weaned off zolpidem without going to a residential addiction center????? My doctor says don't worry about it. He doesn't "get it"

Jump to this post

I had good luck coming off ambien, and of course everyone is different, but this is how I did it.

1. I found a place in the house to sleep alone. You could use earbuds or headphones if that isn’t possible. More comfortable to fall asleep without anything on or in your ears.

2. I left myself 15 tablets. I did this because I didn’t want to initially worry about having none. Maybe you could wait until 15 days before your next refill if you don’t want to throw any out.

3. I cut my dosage in half. Then I took half of that to get to sleep. I took an antihistamine as well. I knew I could take the other quarter Ambien tablet if I woke up. That was reassuring.

3. I put on a pleasant audio book and set it to automatically stop in an hour. This was the key for me because it occupied my mind with something benign and stopped the other ruminating I often do at bedtime just like hypnotics like ambien do.
If you’re still awake in an hour set the book to stop in another hour.
4. I always eventually got to sleep if only for a few hours but pretty soon, within a week I was sleeping without the ambien. Still used the book and antihistamine for a while or when I was having trouble falling asleep.

5. Hardest part- get rid of your remaining ambien and stop your prescription. If it gets refilled, if you’re like me, you’ll miss the simplicity of instant sleep and start again.

My biggest problem was that ambien would upset my digestion. That went away and that was a life changer.

Good luck. It can be done. It may be easier than you think.

REPLY

let me know what the neurologist tells you, ok?

REPLY
@john55

I had good luck coming off ambien, and of course everyone is different, but this is how I did it.

1. I found a place in the house to sleep alone. You could use earbuds or headphones if that isn’t possible. More comfortable to fall asleep without anything on or in your ears.

2. I left myself 15 tablets. I did this because I didn’t want to initially worry about having none. Maybe you could wait until 15 days before your next refill if you don’t want to throw any out.

3. I cut my dosage in half. Then I took half of that to get to sleep. I took an antihistamine as well. I knew I could take the other quarter Ambien tablet if I woke up. That was reassuring.

3. I put on a pleasant audio book and set it to automatically stop in an hour. This was the key for me because it occupied my mind with something benign and stopped the other ruminating I often do at bedtime just like hypnotics like ambien do.
If you’re still awake in an hour set the book to stop in another hour.
4. I always eventually got to sleep if only for a few hours but pretty soon, within a week I was sleeping without the ambien. Still used the book and antihistamine for a while or when I was having trouble falling asleep.

5. Hardest part- get rid of your remaining ambien and stop your prescription. If it gets refilled, if you’re like me, you’ll miss the simplicity of instant sleep and start again.

My biggest problem was that ambien would upset my digestion. That went away and that was a life changer.

Good luck. It can be done. It may be easier than you think.

Jump to this post

Its good to hear that it is possible to get away from it. thank you for posting

REPLY
@robbinr

I’m up to 10 mg. I also supplement the Ambien with a couple of other “sleep inducing” drugs because it doesn’t work like it used to, but without it, I cannot get to sleep at all! It is kind of a chemical soup right now, but I am getting at least 5 hours a night. RR

Jump to this post

Hi. I am the same way. With Ambien, been on it 20 years now, I get some sleep. If I don't take it I get NO sleep. But I really am done being held prisoner to his drug. I want to stop it. I'm barely sleeping so why bother. Plus it opens the door for me to try other non-addictive options if I'm off Ambien. I'm just trying to figure out how to wean off properly. I've gone from 10mg to 5 mg. How do I wean from 5 mg now? 20 years on his drug is a very long time so I need to be careful. That I know. Can anyone advise?

REPLY

Hi. With Ambien, been on it 20 years now, I get some sleep. If I don't take it I get NO sleep. But I really am done being held prisoner to this drug. The doctors tell me I'm not addicted but that it's habitual. I tend to disagree. My body is surely addicted. I really just want to stop it. I'm barely sleeping so why bother. Plus it opens the door for me to try other non-addictive, OTC or even CBD options if I'm off Ambien. I'm just trying to figure out how to wean off properly. I've gone from 10mg to 5 mg for several months now. How do I wean from 5 mg now? Do I try to cut half in half to get approx 2 mg or do I skip nights to wean? 20 years on his drug is a very long time so I need to be careful. That I know. Can anyone advise?

REPLY
@ccruth

Hi. With Ambien, been on it 20 years now, I get some sleep. If I don't take it I get NO sleep. But I really am done being held prisoner to this drug. The doctors tell me I'm not addicted but that it's habitual. I tend to disagree. My body is surely addicted. I really just want to stop it. I'm barely sleeping so why bother. Plus it opens the door for me to try other non-addictive, OTC or even CBD options if I'm off Ambien. I'm just trying to figure out how to wean off properly. I've gone from 10mg to 5 mg for several months now. How do I wean from 5 mg now? Do I try to cut half in half to get approx 2 mg or do I skip nights to wean? 20 years on his drug is a very long time so I need to be careful. That I know. Can anyone advise?

Jump to this post

Are you seeing a sleep medicine doctor? If not, maybe that would be a first step.

REPLY
@ccruth

Hi. With Ambien, been on it 20 years now, I get some sleep. If I don't take it I get NO sleep. But I really am done being held prisoner to this drug. The doctors tell me I'm not addicted but that it's habitual. I tend to disagree. My body is surely addicted. I really just want to stop it. I'm barely sleeping so why bother. Plus it opens the door for me to try other non-addictive, OTC or even CBD options if I'm off Ambien. I'm just trying to figure out how to wean off properly. I've gone from 10mg to 5 mg for several months now. How do I wean from 5 mg now? Do I try to cut half in half to get approx 2 mg or do I skip nights to wean? 20 years on his drug is a very long time so I need to be careful. That I know. Can anyone advise?

Jump to this post

I would call your pharmacist for advice on weaning off Ambien. There's also lots of info on the web you could search for. Good luck.

REPLY
@bernese53

I have been taking 10 mg of Ambien for the last ten years. I have tried melatonin but it did not work for me. I understand that it is important to be under a doctor’s supervision when you cut back on Ambien. Anyone here who has been successful in terms of cutting back/quitting Ambien?

Jump to this post

I just changed Drs. UT Health.
My Dr. is at true end of his career. Let’s just say he is Bidenesque.
I took my prescription bottles and he did not look at them. He just took my written prescription list.
I was out of Ambien and the nurse said you know that’s a Schedule #}# Med don’t you.
I didn’t get smart with her but I’ve been taking Ambien 23 years so I know more than she does if she doesn’t take Ambien. Last night I ran out of my Ambien.
By 4:30 I could not sleep. I tried to call them but their line went to answering service.
So tonight another restless night.
I don’t abuse this medicine, i’m fact I had two expired refills on tbe bottle. I dont need to all time but when I need it I need it

REPLY

I have been taking 5 MG Ambien for 15 years. My doctors are encouraging me to get off it, and I am in process of tapering down. Have had a course of CBT which was helpful. Now taking 3.5 MG alternating with the 5 MG. I am able to sleep, but experiencing some things which I wonder about; maybe side effects. Namely: palpitations, slight nausea,
feel like crying, slight headache, and fatigue.
Has anyone else experienced this, and hopefully have some advice on easing this process? Thanks

REPLY
@arachel

It’s good to know that others have no qualms about continuing on Ambien. Have you had to increase your dosage at all during that time? I’m always afraid I’ll build up a resistance to the drug and it will stop working.

Jump to this post

I had no qualms about continuing on ambien and out of all the drugs I’ve tried it was the best. I was on 10 mg. for around 15 years. But you will build up a resistance to it in time. My sleep time got less and less over the years. One night it simply didn’t work anymore but I still continued to take it for a while hoping that it would work again but it didn’t. After 2 nights without sleep, I took 2 ambien; that didn’t work either so I stopped it entirely with no side effects. Then I tried taking more of my anxiety medicine (Clonazepam) which worked for a while but then it stopped too. I had been up to 3 a night but didn’t want to take anymore than that. So now I’m on nothing. I’ll go without sleep for a long time. Then I’ll be watching TV and just shut down for 3 to 4 hours. I’m totally unconscious. Then I’ll go without sleep for another long period (like 2 days) and repeat the shut down. I watch night time TV all night. I’ve tried every legal RX there is; all the sleeping pills, then psychiatric meds being used off label per the doctor’s instructions, etc.; melatonin and the other over the counter drugs do absolutely nothing. I don’t know what to do.

REPLY
Please sign in or register to post a reply.