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having a crack at lowering benzo use

Discussion in 'General Treatment' started by heapsreal, Jul 17, 2012.

  1. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    ok, i have been using mostly z drugs like zopiclone and zolpidem for a long time(yrs), the dosage i have used are equal to 5mg of valium on a dosage conversion chart, so it is a low dose plus i have used other meds for sleep with them as well. They have served me well to shift my crappy sleep and sleep cycle into normal life.

    My reasons for reducing my sleep med use is a few nights ago i took my zolpidem and it did absolutely nothing for my sleep and i had a crappy night and again the next night. So why bother taking them?similar episodes have happened to me before and i have just changed to something else for awhile to reduce my tolerance to them and then i would use them again. I avoided pushing doses higher as i didnt see the sense in it and wanted to avoid as much as possible drug dependency and hoping that a time would come that i would come off these meds and lower doses would making it easier.

    My other reason is that i have improved greatly with antivirals and i think its time now to sort my sleep out and i think its something i can handle now my body isnt so broken from cfs/me. Most people that know me here know that sleep is one of my worst symptoms or lack of. This is mostly from cfs/me which is the onset of my sleep problems but also being a shift worker for over 20 years didnt help.

    So the last 2 nights i have had no benzo's, i have gotten by on antihistamines, melatonin and lyrica(which i take for restless legs). Sleep as been ratty but i have slept some, i seem to sleep ok the first 2 hours then i get up for awhile and then go back to bed and get that light dream type sleep which i wake from regularly. The first day my brain felt like it was in a frying pan, which is like any night when i havent slept but i did try something, dextromethorphan(DXM) which is a cough medicine that has NMDA antagonist properties. NMDA is basically a neurotransmitter that keeps us alert and can increase pain etc(good to google it). Now i have just used the dose it says on the bottle, 30mg and it seems to make it more bearable during the day with bugger all sleep. Its supposedly helps reduce benzo tolerance. At the moment im not real sure how helpful it is but thought it was worth a shot.

    After the second night with no benzo's which is now, that brain in the frying pan feeling wasnt there, which is strange, maybe its the DXM?? but i did have a strange type of feeling in my head. It reminded me off when one stopps caffeine and once over the withdrawals which is a couple of days, head sort of feels numb. I have felt abit low in energy today and this afternoon started to feel abit wired, so hard to tell if its just sleep deprivation or no benzo's.

    Tonight for sleep along with my lyrica and melatonin i am using doxepin 30mg and adding just 2.5mg of valium(hoping for abit better sleep). I wont use doxepin all the time but alternate it with other non benzo type sleep aids like antihistamines. The valium at this stage i may add every second or third day i will play it by ear.

    I really dont know how this will pan out. I dont think benzos are a cause of my sleep problems as i think it is cfs/me that causes this sleep dysfunction, i say this as many cfs/me people have horrible sleep problems and never used sleep meds but i do understand that for some, sleep meds may have worsened their situation and im really sorry it has. I dont want this to be an anti benzo thread as i have found them very useful and i think i have used them in an appropriate way for myself with this dam illness. They have allowed me to keep working in some capacity to support my family financially etc etc I think if i never medicated for sleep i would truly have ended up bedridden. I just dont know if i will come off them altogether, i think it just depends on how much damage cfs/me has done to my ability to sleep, so this will help me find out. If i can reduce my tolerance and only need to use sleep meds occassionally, then i will be happy.

    I have 1 more week off work, so the big challenge is when i have to go back to work, mmm.
    My biggest worry is that i have about 7 months left on valcyte and i hope i can maintain this improvement when i finsih. i will stay on famvir to try and keep cmv virus back. I have every finger crossed i dont crash. but sleep is this last thing i have to sort.

    cheers!!!
     
  2. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    slept well last night, the first few hours were hard but i got up and took another 10mg doxepin and then slept 7 hours. Now that i have woken up i feel quite good, i think i just needed some good sleep. Not sure if the small dose of valium did anything but i will see how i go over the next few nights without any benzos again. Once i get to sleep i seem to be doing fine as the other meds are really meant to keep u asleep not help u fall asleep like the zopiclone i was using.

    Lets see how tonight goes when i get to it.

    cheers!!!
     
  3. Nielk

    Nielk

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    Good luck heapsreal with your quest for sleep with as little meds as possible. Yes, sleep is so important for everyone but, especially for us. I believe it is a good idea to change things up so that one doesn't develop tolerance to any one drug.

    cheers!
     
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  4. maddietod

    maddietod Senior Member

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    Good luck with this, Heaps. The 2 benadryl last night worked great.......too bad I can't do that every night!
     
  5. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    thanks nielk and madie. It would be nice to not be reliant on anything for sleep. As i slowly reduce things for sleep we will see how disrupted my ability to sleep is. If valcyte is really getting at the cause of my cfs then one would think my ability to sleep should improve. I wouldnt be entertaining the idea if it wasnt for the improvement i have made. I just really hope i dont crash, its just always in the back of our minds when we are feeling well for awhile.

    cheers!!!
     
  6. jeffrez

    jeffrez Senior Member

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    Good luck with all this. Sleep is so essential, and it's really a great feeling on those nights when you can get a fair sleep & not have taken any heavy meds. I would encourage trying some passionflower caps, they're the closest I've found to the benzos and seem to help even more when you wake up in the middle of the night and gulp a couple down. They can help with onset, too. Relatively mild, but they can assist in weaning off the heavier benzos.
     
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  7. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1

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    Best luck with it :)
     
  8. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    So i have done 2 nights in a row then 2.5mg of valium and now just done 3 nights in a row with no benzo's. I have been using other things for sleep. The most effective thing so far is doxepin and and small doses of seroquel(25-50mg) not at the same time. Most of my problems are with falling asleep which can take me a few hours then i can sleep quite heavily for 2-3hrs then maybe another 1-2hrs of light crappy type sleep. It seems that every second night i sleep better but this is probably because im abit sleep deprived from the previous night.

    While i have been doing this i have been off work. I think its going to be abit harder when im back at work as i have to fit into a tighter sleep schedule. Not sure how im going to do it yet maybe one night seroquel, next doxepin and the next zopiclone and then repeat. Im thinking that when im on days off that i just wont take anything and try and sleep drug free, but will give it abit more time until my brain remembers how to do it, if thats the problem. i dont feel like i need benzos as in im having withdrawal effects etc Im probably lucky that i only use these things for sleep, not for day time anxiety or oversensory issues.

    If anything this break from benzo's is going to reduce my tolerance to benzo's so next time i use them they will be more effective again. Its helped me to realise i dont need them everynight but i am probably able to handle the sleep deprivation better as my overall cfs/me has improved with other treatments. I also think this has shown me that i dont have any major withdrawal issues from benzo/zdrugs(in the short term) and that my way of keeping my doses low over the years i have been using them has helped and hopefully shown others how to use sleep meds in a way to try and avoid tolerance issues with benzo's. I will say that my method of using sleep meds isnt perfect as i have still had some crappy runs of sleep but i think it was the best i could do with what i got.

    My way of using sleep meds is to alternate them as much as u can and have benzo free nights, maybe using just antihistamines. If a benzo sleep med stops working at a particular dose then dont increase it but stop using it for awhile(days weeks months), maybe switch to a different benzo can help. I think the zdrugs are the better option of benzo's for sleep as they have a short half life but i do alternate traditional benzo's with zdrugs also.

    Other non benzos for sleep are antihistamines and there are a few and each work differently i have found.

    sedating antidepressants mostly tricyclics eg doxepin but also ad's like mirtazapine, trazadone.

    Anticonvulsant type pain meds like lyrica and gabapentine can also help with sleep, for me i have found on there on dont help but combined with a benzo that my sleep quality is greatly improved. They are also good for restless legs or pain in general that keeps people awake.

    Seroquel is very good for sleep and the first few times u use it, it can be very sedating and give u a hangover. Many people freak out about it because its an antipsychotic, what one has to look at is how it works. It works as a strong antihistamine and also blocks the effects of dopamine(which can keep people awake). The doses used for insomnia are much lower then used for psychiatric conditions and these low doses also make the side effect profile extremely low, alternating this med also helps greatly reduce the side effects if there is any with this med used this way. But for those who can find anything that helps them for sleep then seroquel good be very helpful.

    There is a long list of natural supps and these are also good to alternate with etc or use on nights when u take a break from meds. It does take awhile to find what works and sometimes some things just wont work. Amitriptyline is a drug i read about causing people to sleep for hours and wake up with a hangover etc and caused weight gain etc, when i used it i got none of these effects, so it shows we all react differently to meds, trial and error is the only way.

    Thats my ten cents worth on how i treat my sleep dysfunction from cfs/me.

    cheers!!!
     
  9. xks201

    xks201 Senior Member

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    Antihistamines knock me out 10 times harder than any amount of benzo.
     
  10. Nielk

    Nielk

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    That just shows how we each react so differently to medications. I used to take a lot of antihistamines throughout the day for my allergies and they did not put me to sleep.
     
  11. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1

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    Hi heaps :)

    I had the same thought as you with that but in my case having a 6-8 week complete benzo break..didnt allow me to lower the dose when I needed to take it again. After the break, I tried to take less and it did nothing at all so I ended up having to take the dose I'd previously stopped. Seeing a couple of months benzo break didnt lower my tollerance back to what it was originally, so I really wonder how long I'd would need to be off these drugs for it to lower..

    Thou Amitriptyline in low dose does help some to get to sleep and may be a good thing for some to trial for sleep...anyone who has has IBS-C due to the ME.. I'd say beware and stay clear from this drug...

    It is my opinion for those who have IBS-C to not even trial it short term as it has the physiological affect of slowing down peristalisis in the bowel so hence is likely to make that issue worst. From my experience, you may not recover from the damage this drug can do.

    A 3 week trial of it.. has caused me bad bowel damage (the drug affecting peristalisis worsened my constipation which I previously had under control, which then made my bowel get a large prolapse. I didnt have any prolapse issue before this med).

    I now are seeing a bowel specialist and its looking like I'll need surgery due to what this drug did to me due to the IBS-C, its completely stufffed my bowel up and left me unable to go to the toilet naturally even with laxitives/fibre etc, (Ive been off the drug now for months and what its done to me.. seems permanent).
    Another person at this site.. this drug has given her a permanently non functional bladder (frozen bladder). So beware.. like most drugs, some serious dangers are there with this drug.
     

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