Weaning off zolpidem (Ambien)

Posted by lusia @lusia, Dec 9, 2017

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

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@peajayiam

Looking for information on how to stop taking Ambien as I've been taking it for about 18 years. Anyone have any ideas?

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I had been on Ambien on and off for roughly 15 years. I was so addicted that I went to a primary care doctor who was truthfully not very good, but I went to her because she gave me Ambien. I had no problems with Ambien in the begining. However, I began to get these stomach pains if I took the Ambien for more than a few days straight. Sometimes I took the Ambien and dealt with the stomach issues because I needed to sleep I had to work. I told a friend at work about my insomnia and she suggested I try marijuana. She gave me some; and I found that it helped. I then started using it and it helped so I only took Ambien when smoking didn’t work. When I moved to another state It was more difficult to get the Ambien, and I was having more and more tummy issues and when I had an episode where I woke up one morning with a frying pan and the left overs from last nites dinner and potato chips in my bed I knew it was time to stop and I did. I smoke nightly to sleep, And once in a while I will take an Ambien. It’s not a perfect solution, But at least I get some sleep; which I need in order to help me with my Hypothyroidism, IBS, and Srogens That’s pretty good for hard-core insomniac like me.

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Never helped me, but you might as well try and see if it helps you. Everyone is different.

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I will chip in..my Doctor is balking at prescribing it for me. It is a monthly struggle to get her to provide the prescription. Robbinr

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I also have taken Ambien for years – in the beginning i was told that it was the most commonly used sleep aid for the elderly because it was so safe. It really changed my life, I take 1/2 of a 10 mg. when I go to sleep, and if I wake up again at 3 I take the other half. However, in the past few months I noticed that I was running out of my 30 day prescription a few days early – eventually I ran out 4 days too soon. This could only mean that I was often taking another half ad didn't remember. when I ran out four days early I just had to suddenly do without, it was a horror show….I didn't sleep for three days or nights, I hallucinated, I did sleep in fits and starts by the third day but never left the house. Eventually, I started taking little bits again as I was still have so much difficulty falling asleep. The entire experience made me realize how dependent I am, and that if I were suddenly cut off it would be a nightmare. Throughout this I also have realized that I have begun drinking another glass of wine each night as a kind of soporific.

I came on this site looking for a way to quit or at least get by on 3 or 4 a week, and I decided today that I will try supplementing with Melatonin and see where that takes me, based on others' comments. This was very helpful.

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Hello @lpole, Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. I'm glad you found this thread on Ambien and transitioning to melatonin. Sorry to hear you have had troubles with sleeping but also glad you can connect with others that are here on the search to unite with people in the same struggle.

I'm interested in following your journey- would you mind keeping us updated on how you are doing? Did you pick up your Melatonin today?

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I have tried melatonin, magnesium, otc, nothing really worked but ambien. I read a lot about it's addiction and the prescription is supposed to be only for short term. I am concerned about side affects, like daytime confusion, grogginess, depression. I am not a pill taker but truly need something to help me sleep. It scares me to take this long term. Does it cause symptoms like dementia, Alzheimer's?

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@findrest

I have tried melatonin, magnesium, otc, nothing really worked but ambien. I read a lot about it's addiction and the prescription is supposed to be only for short term. I am concerned about side affects, like daytime confusion, grogginess, depression. I am not a pill taker but truly need something to help me sleep. It scares me to take this long term. Does it cause symptoms like dementia, Alzheimer's?

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I am getting off 15 mg for 20 years. It does work well but try to take it short term. What about St John’s Wart ?

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@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?

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I was taking Ambien for almost 15 years…no problems..Started having bad side effects such as bringing food into bed and not remembering a thing, bad pains in my stomach with nausea. . Stopped it cold turkey. Tried anxiety meds, melatonin, chamomile tea, but didn’t do anything to help. Smoking MJ helped in the beginning but it’s not helping much now. I’m desperate. The only thing that knocks me out is Ambien but I’m afraid.

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I have gotten off Ambien a number of times. Tried the holistic route.essential oils, deep breathing, prayer plus all kinds of other sleeping pills. The only thing that worked, was Ambien, which gave me some sleep—never 7/8 hours but at least I slept. It’s so frustrating I wish I was normal. People sleep through all kinds of horrendous situations, war, medical issues, homeless and sleeping on the streets. Living in refugee camps, in freezing conditions or sweltering conditions, prisoners in concentration camps, and I can’t sleep in a nice comfortable bed.
I

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Be gentle with yourself. I have been taking Ambien since 9/11. I can’t sleep without it and have decided that it is okay to continue to take it. You may reach a different conclusion but please be gentle with yourself in terms of thinking about your insomnia.

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@bernese53

Be gentle with yourself. I have been taking Ambien since 9/11. I can’t sleep without it and have decided that it is okay to continue to take it. You may reach a different conclusion but please be gentle with yourself in terms of thinking about your insomnia.

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Thank you. I just cut it by 25 percent and will see how it goes. I agree beating yourself us causes more anxiety. Again thanks for the help.

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Iam weaning off ambien. 15mg for 20 years. I am going to start small does of Trazodone with smaller does of ambien. Cleared with my doc. I am having anxiety and depression. I think as the Trazadone builds up that should help. If I still want ambien at the end, I will only take occasionally. Just want to see if I can .sleep without ambien. Not going to pressure myself. Tried it and I felt terrible. Be kind to yourselves everybody.

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My concern is that Ambien has been associated with Alzheimer’s in more than one study. Trying to taper.

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@melissa15

My concern is that Ambien has been associated with Alzheimer’s in more than one study. Trying to taper.

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I have tapered to 30 percent less and starting to sleep more deeply. I hope I can get completely off ambien. Doing it slowly because I tried cold turkey and it was not pleasant. Also think I was emotionally addicted, even more of a reason to go slow. Try meditation it is helping enormously. Good luck.

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Hi, @melissa15 — welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. Sounds like you've been doing some research on zolpidem (Ambien), which is wise.

Here is some Mayo Clinic information on this medication you might find useful:
– general information about zolpidem (Ambien), https://mayocl.in/2nZkT0L
– article @kanaazpereira mentioned several months ago in this discussion by a sleep medicine specialist on whether dependence on zolpidem (Ambien) is possible and potential side effects, https://mayocl.in/2OSZxxi

How are things going with your sleep as you are tapering, @melissa15?

@maryshipley — wondered if you'd share more about what you said about thinking you were emotionally addicted to zolpidem (Ambien)?

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