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Old 05-20-2004, 05:10 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 4
secor22 HB User
Getting off of Ambien

I've had chronic insomnia nightly for a little over 6 years. I've been taking Ambien (5 or 10 mg) for approx. 3-4 years now. (Prior to that, I tried many different antidepressants, sleeping pills, and tranquilizers without success) My goal is to stop taking Ambien and NOT resort to another pill as long as I live. But any attempt to wean myself off Ambien has resulted in such little sleep that I can barely function in my work or social life. I have trouble getting to sleep, staying asleep, and sleeping late enough. Two sleep studies have shown no physical disorder. No doctor I've seen has come up with any answers. Am I stuck on Ambien the rest of my life? Has anyone taken Ambien for more than 3 years and successfully gone back to sleeping naturally? I have done much research and come up with no success stories to bolster me.

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Old 05-21-2004, 10:00 PM   #2
Senior Veteran
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 934
Lindarella HB User
Re: Getting off of Ambien

Try cutting back gradually. The slower you go, the easier it is. Itís still hard at the end, but really not too bad. Iíd suggest you schedule the week where you actually quit altogether so that you wonít be working, maybe when youíre on vacation or have a long weekend. What happens is, when you take sleep aids, your body slowly quits producing the needed sleep chemicals. If you give your body time to catch up by going slow with tapering off, youíll have much greater success than trying cold turkey.

Here is what Iíd do.

Take 5 mg for 3 weeks.
Then take 5 mg 1 night, and the next night take 2.5 mg. Do this for 2 weeks, alternating between 5 and 2.5 mg. Then drop the 5 mg and only take 2.5 mg for another 3 weeks.

Then take 2.5 mg 1 night and 1.25 the next night for 2 weeks, alternating between the 2.5 and 1.25 mg.

Then drop the 2.5 and take the 1.25 for 3 weeks.

This will be 13 weeks total.

Get yourself some of that Tylenol Simply Sleep. Start taking that on the night you finally quit the Ambien. It will be a little rough the first week or so but rest assured ( ) that you will get tired enough to fall asleep after a couple days. It's really not that bad. You may have a bit of trouble the first month or so. Try to do things during that time that assist sleep like no naps, getting up a little early, no caffine, fresh air, read a book in bed, etc.

You can do it. It's a "mental thing" too, and since you want to quit, that will be half the battle.

Old 05-30-2004, 09:54 AM   #3
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Kansas City, KS
Posts: 79
jeh rpsgt HB User
Re: Getting off of Ambien

This is why Ambien shouldn't be taken for so long. For lack of better term, it's an addiction and the longer you take it, the harder it will be to go back to normal..because to your body, having the Ambien is normal.

For 5 years I worked nights, 4 of them doing 14 hour shifts in a sleep lab..having to go to sleep at 9am and be awake again at 4pm led to some insomnia. I found that taking a melatonin suppliment helped a lot. It's just a synthetic version of the melatonin in your brain (which naturally makes you drowsy). I had absolutely no problems while taking it and recommend it. This may be a good temporary replacement for your Ambien.

It's not going to be easy but I wish you luck!

Old 06-02-2004, 02:53 AM   #4
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 4
secor22 HB User
Re: Getting off of Ambien

Thanks to Lindarella and jeh rpsgt for your responses. I am trying to taper off, but suffer much stress and multiple health problems, so when they strike, the dosage goes right back up again because I have to have a minimum amount of sleep to work every day (I support myself on a low-salary job which I am hanging onto by a thread because of the insomnia and other problems).

As for melatonin, is there a key dosage to take? I tried melatonin years ago as one of the first things I tried, but it had no effect whatsoever. Maybe I wasn't using it optimally.

Old 06-02-2004, 04:23 AM   #5
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Kansas City, KS
Posts: 79
jeh rpsgt HB User
Re: Getting off of Ambien

I think the average dose is 300mg depending on what brand you get. I also think the quality of it can vary. It may not be for everyone, but it worked great for me.

Old 06-03-2004, 03:46 PM   #6
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 5
leeder HB User
Re: Getting off of Ambien

try 3mg of time release melatonin it seems to work better over the course of the night i use the GNC brand but i'm sure there are many others. good luck

Old 08-08-2004, 07:04 PM   #7
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 4
secor22 HB User
Re: Getting off of Ambien

Update: I have now been off of Ambien for almost 5 weeks. I did it by taking .5 mg. of Xanax a night, then tapering that to .25 mg. of Xanax per night. My sleep has been fractured and I only get 5-6 hours a night, but it is a natural sleep and I am very happy to be off of the Ambien. If I am only going to get 5-6 hours of sleep, I prefer it be with no drugs than with an addiction to Ambien. I hope this helps some who are also trying to stop taking Ambien.

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