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Trying to taper off Lunesta

Discussion in 'General Treatment' started by soxfan, Oct 22, 2011.

  1. soxfan

    soxfan Senior Member

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    Once again I am trying to get off the Lunesta since I have been taking it for 5+ years. I am splitting a 3mg into half and have been taking that for 6 nights now with very little sleep. I am tying to combine it with melatonin but that doesn't seem to help. Is there any chance at all I will be able to get off this or at least sleep with half the dose.?

    I want to be totally off and have rushed this before and ended up going back on so I want to take it slow but am not sure my body will be able to ever sleep on the lower dose. I lay for hours and finally sometimes fall asleep around 2 or 3. It has been horrible...The doctor gave me klonopin to supplement if I needed but I don't want to end up getting hooked on that as well.

    I have tried numerous herbals but nothing even makes me drowsy. I don't want to be dependent on these anymore because if I ever ended up not having them at some point I would never sleep...

    Anyone successfully been able to come off either ambien, lunesta or any of the others? I know I will have to go through many sleepless nights but I don't want to go through this all for nothing...Help..sleep has always been my worse problem with either hangover from too many drugs, unrefreshing sleep..no sleep even on pills. I have also tried relaxation tapes...music...everything else you can think of.

    I have read lunesta is not addictive but my body certainly depends on it every night. I haven't had the feeling of real sleepiness since I started on these pills. Help out there anyone?
     
  2. Lou

    Lou Senior Member

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    Hi soxfan,

    ImmunePro, taken in couple ounces of water just before bedtime helped me greatly. For first ten years or so after getting ME my sleep problems were much like yours. Think I'll start a new thread, say more about this, in case you're interested.

    Good luck.
     
  3. soxfan

    soxfan Senior Member

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    I am interested! My sleep problems began after getting ME. Before then I had the best sleep and never had problems. I haven't slept well in over 7 years and out of all the doctors I have seen about this problem none have been able to help..thanks
     
  4. Lou

    Lou Senior Member

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    It could be this only helps a subset. If this does help you, soxfan, would you mind letting me know? Thanks.
     
  5. Andrew

    Andrew Senior Member

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    Where was your sleep before you started Lunesta. Is that a level of sleep you want to get back to?
     
  6. soxfan

    soxfan Senior Member

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    My sleep was awesome...I truly wish I had never started taking the lunesta. I was having some trouble sleeping so the doctor gave me a 30 day supply. I wasn't suppose to take any more after that was up (2005) but at that point I already couldn't sleep without it. I was sent to a sleep specialist who had no problem keeping me supplied.
    I was working full time then and couldn't afford to have sleepless nights so that is how I became totally dependent on it. I would LOVE to be sleeping again how it use to be. ..waking up refreshed and great. Sadly I haven't felt like that since....
     
  7. soxfan

    soxfan Senior Member

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    I will let you know Lou..I am going to look it up now and see what I can find. Thanks...
     
  8. ggingues

    ggingues $10 gift code at iHerb GAS343 of $40

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    Wish you the best!

    GG
     
  9. Andrew

    Andrew Senior Member

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    I assume you asked your doctor and got no solutions.

    All I can think if is

    1. Take Lunesta every other day so you still get some sleep, but also try things like herbal tea and other natural sleep aids on the off nights, even if they don't work well.

    2. Change from Lunesta to something like Restoril and then try to taper off that.

    I guess one concern is what happened to me. When I got CFS I didn't have trouble sleeping for the first 6 months. Then my sleep got worse and worse, without taking any pills. So I wonder if your sleep was starting to go bad anyway.
     
  10. soxfan

    soxfan Senior Member

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    I have asked the doctors and they have tried me on so many things but lunesta is the only one that ever could put me out. I just would become drowsy with any other stuff I took. I am amazed really at how hard it is to come off this. Even taking 1/2 a tablet I can't sleep. Maybe I won't be able to get off them....ever. I can only go for so long with hardly any sleep. Tonight will be night 8 of the taper and you would think by now my body will have adjusted somewhat.

    I am going to take valerian tonight since I found some here at the house which I must have bought at one time. I am seeing my doctor in 2 weeks and hopefully he can give me some other options to try and help me through this. I really don't want to give up since I have already suffered through 8 nights of basically hardly much sleep.
    I might have to give in and take an entire pill again when I go back to work at the end of the week. Thanks for your suggestions..My sleep became bad within a few weeks of having the "flu" which started all this.


    Thanks to you also GG....
     
  11. Nielk

    Nielk

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    This is such a hard topic to handle. I too am hooked but it's not Lunesta - it's Ambien. As soon as I took ill, one of my first symptoms was insomnia. I also went through the gamut of different sleep meds and settled on Ambien which worked pretty well. I have to add that this is in combination with 3mg Klonopin. I have tried a number of times to wean off Klonopin but, my body doesn't allow it. Last week, I spoke to my doctor again, saying that I don't think the Klonopin is doing anything anymore and I really want to get off it. I have read somewhere on this forum that someone got off Klonopin by substituting Neurontin un a grated way/ I was fascinated by that because Neurontin is not addictive so once you are fully on Neurontin for a while, it's probably not too hard to wean off it. I, myself was on Neurontin years ago and had no difficulty getting off of it. In the meantime, Friday night, when I got ready to go to sleep, I realized that I was out of my Ambien. I took my 3mg Klonopin and two Tylenol PMs. I was just laying in bed wide awake no chance f sleep. Two hours later, I took anothrt 2 Tylenol PMs and then fell asleep for two hours! Then I was just laying in bed full awake. I tried to meditate. It didn't help so I took two Benadryls. Like taking water. I was just tossing and turning. Two hours later, took another two Benadryls and nothing. So, with three mf Klonopin, four Tylynol PMs and four Benadryls, I got two hours of sleep! I was so sick yesterday! I had a terrible headache and was so jittery all day. Even though I was so tired, I couldn't sleep. It was obvious to me that besides insomnia I was suffering from withdrawal symptoms of the Ambien which I have been on for 6 years. Now I know that I'm addicted to both Klonopin and Ambien. I want so badly to get off them but, I also know that sleep is so crucial for us. With lack of sleep, all our symptoms worsen. It's a real problem. I don't know what the answer is.
     
  12. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    I dont think its a matter of being hooked or addicted to certain sleep meds, i think even without these sleep meds many of us would sleep just as bad if not worse. The more i keep looking into my own sleep problems the more i see it related to hormonal problems caused from cfs/me and hopefully treating this will help, i dont know if it will ever be fixed but im working on it.

    Progesterone for men and women helps improve gaba receptor sensitivity and has a relaxing effect and also helps with deep stages of sleep. If you have adrenal fatigue going on which most of us do then a process called pregnenolone steel is occurring which shuttles our energy into making cortisol and away from other hormones like progesterone and dhea which can help with sleep, so many with sleep problems will test low for progesterone and dhea. So far my trial of low doses of progesterone have been good, it has definately improved my sleep quality to the point of rarely waking up at night where as before it would be every hour or so, this sleep is restful sleep as well. Sleep iniation is still a problem but im hoping that correcting my dhea levels will help with this. At the moment i still need my zopiclone to get me off to sleep, but i feel like im making good progress in this ugly part of my cfs. I also realise its going to take time to adjust my adrenal hormones and get doses dialled in properly for me, as many cfs/me seem snsitive to these treatments, we need to start low and go slow, but i think this is the way out of insomnia. In the mean time, any sleep is better then no sleep, i think dperiving yourself of sleep could be doing you more harm then good. Maybe you are building a tolerance to lunesta and need to change to another med for awhile, maybe another one in the past u have used successfully before but stopped due to tolerence, having time of can greatly reduce this and you may find them working again for you, also having a break from lunesta for a few months u will find going back on them that they will work like a charm again.

    good luck dude,
    keep searching for answer,
    cheers!!!
     
  13. soxfan

    soxfan Senior Member

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    Nielk- I have decided to try and go without lunesta tonight. The light fragmented sleep I am getting from the taper is worse than not sleeping in terms of how I feel the next day. I am hoping that having nothing in my system might make me feel not as horrible. I have taken all kinds of things one after the other when I couldn't sleep even on the lunesta...I know that is usually never helps but I do it anyway.
    The other night I took the 1/2 lunesta along with 1/2 benadryl and melatonin. When that didn't help finally at 2am I took 1/2 klonopin and that let me sleep for 3 hours. Of course the following morning I felt extremely awful from taking too much stuff when it really would have been better to just have not slept. I do have the klonopin but I am not about to get my body addicted on that as well.

    I don't even know if I actually need sleep meds anymore. It has been years and maybe I am able to sleep without them once I get past this. I don't have good sleep even when I sleep with a pill and almost always wake up unrefreshed anyway so that is why I am giving this a try. So for me any sleep really is not better than no sleep at all.
    My husband works nights every other week and during that week he has to take lunesta in order to sleep during the day. He says on his weeks off when he takes nothing the sleep is so much better and he wakes feeling much different. I do believe since I am extremely sensative to meds that maybe the lunesta is also leaving me with next day fatigue...I don't know this to be true but I will never know unless I try.

    I know if I ever go to see another doctor other than the one I see now I would never be prescribed any sleeping pills. My PCP is totally against them and I really don't like being dependent on a pill in order to sleep. I think part of this is that a few years ago when my dad was in hospice I went to see him which actually turned out to be his last night. The nurse asked if I would like to spend the night but I couldn't because I didn't have my lunesta with me. I didn't know this would be his last night alive but it has continued to haunt me...that the pill was the reason I didn't stay that night.

    Lunesta will still knock me out and I get a great nights sleep but it is unrefreshing and I always wake up tired....have to give it a true try no matter how horrible this is. If I can't stick it out then at least I gave it a good try....
     
  14. August59

    August59 Daughters High School Graduation

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    Use Benadryl for 4 or 5 days!
     
  15. soxfan

    soxfan Senior Member

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    It doesn't help! I have tried it many times but thank you for the suggestion!
     
  16. Grampus

    Grampus

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    I didn't want to take Ambien anymore, so my Dr. gave me Lunesta instead. Neither of these seem to work on me, as I generally wake up after one or two hours. I have been adding some melatonin, Benadryl, and a special night-time supplement from Vitamin Shoppe. I can't remember the name of the supplement, but it has 5-HTP, valerian, hops, GABA, and some other things in it. I get the most sleep if I take my vitamins with dinner, then add in in the Lunesta, melatonin, Benadryl, night-time cocktail. Unfortunately though, I still wake up feeling like someone has been beating me. Oh well, I will settle for 5 or more hours of sleep and a slight hangover, as opposed to two hours and a severely grumpy demeanor.
     
  17. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    I dont know if sleep will ever return to normal without fixing the underlying causes, whatever they are, i think stopping sleep meds and hoping normal sleep will return will be almost fruitless. Alternating sleep meds and mini drug free holidays can help improve drug tolerance and many need a combo of meds to sleep. We all would like to sleep without having to take anything but i just cant see it happening. It would be interesting to see if the Norwegians who recovered in the rituximab study who had sleep problems had their sleep improve as well ie no sleep meds needed.

    cheers!!!
     
  18. HTree

    HTree

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    Soxfan, all,
    I have same sleep issues--and like Heapsreal says, it's definitely not totally solveable with a drug I think unless the underlying problems are solved...

    I took ambien for a while off and on, just to try to shift my cycle....helped a little, but the i tried taking it consecutively and after 3 months stopped, since wasn't really improving anything... at just 5mg...had AWEFUL weird neurological/dizzy/symptoms for weeks after. It's like it made me OI much worse...not sure, but my CNS/HPA-Axis etc took a lONG time to readjust and get rid of the aweful dizziness (couldn't walk at all, hardly sit up, which is not normal for me).

    So, though it helps a little at times, I too am staying off ambien/lunesta etc.

    One things that helps me readjust and sleep: Get VERY bright sunlight during the day. It takes a few days but I notice it. If you don't live somewhere sunny, get a huge bright light (kind used for sleep regulation, also treats Seasonal affective disorder i think--which i don't have-- But I sit in front of this light when i first get up--just smack right in front for 20 min up to an hour, and also get outside and walk i real sunshine when available. Eventually this did help me-- at least a little bit.
    Worth a try!

    Best of luck, keep us posted.

    Htree
     
  19. soxfan

    soxfan Senior Member

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    I am not sure I even have sleep problems anymore because I have never given my body a chance to try and sleep normally. I have successfully come off the sleep meds several times in the past 5 years. Ambien I will have to say was very difficult coming off but I did that one cold turkey and didn't taper. Last summer I was sleeping great on only 1/2 lunesta and nothing else.
    Maybe I will have to take something for the rest of my life but I am going to try this. Yes..it is hard and not fun but I am going to stick this out. Last night I took 1/2 a klonopin only because I really couldn't go another night with fragmented/light sleep and I actually slept great. I know I am trading lunesta for klonopin at the moment but I definately feel much better this morning than when I use to wake up after taking lunesta. I never felt rested or refreshed on that.
    I have been reading on sleep disorder boards and I can tell you there are thousands of people that have sleep issues who don't have CFS...some sound actually much worse off than me. It was really an eye opener to the types of problems people have with sleep/sleep meds/etc. Many can't even sleep on any medications and I just felt so sorry for them because at least I can sleep...I realize many people with CFS have sleep disorders but many have pain as well and that is one symptom I don't have so maybe not everyone with CFS needs prescription sleep meds. I am trying to be positive and hopeful that I could be one of them.

    Thanks for the tips on the sunshine/bright lights. I live in the Northeast and daylight savings is coming up so it will be getting dark much sooner. I do try and walk outside everyday or at least sit on the deck. Maybe I will have to buy myself a light box for this winter. I know I have low serotonin which I am taking 5HTP without anything added and hopefully that will help too.
    I plan on keeping up taking only the 1/2 klonopin (0.5) for now since I have to work this week so I can get some sleep. I am extremely happy though that I actually managed to fall asleep without the lunesta even though I substituted it. I honestly feel much different this morning. I am hoping my doctor will have some other suggestions for my sleep as I don't want to become dependent on the klonopin...I will keep you posted.
     
  20. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    It is hard to know if its the medication or not but having a go at stopping can help you assess if it is playing a role, best of luck. Many find using a slow taper with valium better to withdraw from sleep meds, worth looking into.

    cheers!!!
     

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