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Old 03-14-2011, 07:05 PM
 
1,128 posts, read 2,983,216 times
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I have been on 3 mg of Lunesta for the past 5 years. I've tried many times unsuccessfully to get off Lunesta, but I am extremely dependent on it. I've finally realized that I really need to stop Lunesta for good and have asked my primary care doctor and the doctor who prescribes be the Lunesta for help, but neither of their advice has been helping.

My doctor told me to substitute the Lunesta with Benadryl. The first day I did this I woke up with a huge hangover feeling and the worst headache I've ever had. I tried it for two more weeks, but the Benadryl no longer made me sleepy and I would be awake until 5 to 7 am.

My other doctor told me to use 6 mg of Melatonin plus my normal 3 mg of Lunesta. I tried this once using the Melatonin and only half of my Lunesta and it worked, but I had that hangover feeling and was groggy for the rest of the day.

I'm wondering if there is anything else I can try or any tips that have worked for you guys. My goal is to be 100% off Lunesta once I graduate and start my career in the summer.

Any help would be appreciated, thanks!
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Old 03-14-2011, 09:16 PM
 
Location: Where ocean meets up with the naked land.
324 posts, read 420,691 times
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What happens if you continue to take Lunesta? Are there damaging effects that go along with prolonged usage?
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Old 03-14-2011, 10:15 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bennie Flowers View Post
What happens if you continue to take Lunesta? Are there damaging effects that go along with prolonged usage?
Yes, it's not for habitual use. When I told my primary care doctor that I've been on it for 5 years, he couldn't believe it. He said Lunesta is really only supposed to be used as a short term option and the longest I should have been on it straight was 10 days.

I definitely can't be on it for much longer, plus my parents have really good insurance and it only costs me $2, but when I get a job in May and am on my own, it won't be covered by insurance and 30 pills cost over $200.

It's really not worth being on it any longer.
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Old 03-15-2011, 06:46 AM
 
Location: In a house
13,258 posts, read 34,604,245 times
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There's really no need to stop taking it, IF you are not experiencing any ill effects from it. It isn't intended for long term use, but being "habit-forming" isn't a reason to stop. The problem, is when you DO have bad side effects, and try to stop because of those side effects, and can't - because you've developed a habit. That's why it's not intended for long-term use. Because it's hard to stop IF the side effects warrant stopping. If you don't have them, you can keep taking it.

You have to wean yourself off Lunesta, just like any other habit-forming drug. If you're taking 3mgs per night, then cut the pill in thirds and take 2/3 with a SIP of liquid benadryl. Not a full dose of benadryl, just a sip. Do that for a week.

Then take the 2/3 without the benadryl at all for a week.

Then cut down to 1/3 for a week or two.

Then take 1/3 one day, none the next day, alternating for a week.

You WILL have lousy sleep when you're cutting down. But remember, you were having lousy sleep before you started taking it, otherwise you wouldn't have been taking it in the first place.

You'll wake up feeling like crap, and struggle during the day, and you might even be headachey and nauseated and have jitters and feel exhausted. It comes with the territory of withdrawal of a habit-forming drug.

As long as you taper down slowly and let the doctor know if you're having any *severe* symptoms (heart palpitations, vomiting, fever, chills, etc), you'll get through it.
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Old 03-15-2011, 10:40 AM
 
1,128 posts, read 2,983,216 times
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Thanks! I'll definitely try that! And the reason I want to get off is I am starting to feel side effects and I think my quality of sleep will improve when I'm off sleeping pills.

Thanks for your help
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Old 03-15-2011, 11:21 AM
 
Location: Santa Cruz, California
130 posts, read 790,411 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnonChick View Post
There's really no need to stop taking it, IF you are not experiencing any ill effects from it.
The absence of overt / noticeable side-effects does not suggest that the long term (or short term for that matter) use of a prescription medication is harmless!!!
And any addiction or dependency to a substance (whether physiological or psychological [or both]) is reason enough to find an alternative way to address the problem.
And i dare say that most people are nowhere near sufficiently tuned into / aware of their body and overall system to determine whether or not the drug is having an adverse affect.
There is no prescription medication that is without side effects ... it's a matter of degree and whether or not and to what extent the side effect(s) is more or less problematic than the symptom it's treating.
The inability to sleep well is an indication that the system is out of balance and, imo, it's always better to get to the root of the problem as opposed to solely treating the symptom.
And, also imo, the skillful use of prescription or non-prescription aid can be a good thing in conjunction with the exploration and treatment of the deeper issue or issues.
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Old 03-15-2011, 11:34 AM
 
Location: In a house
13,258 posts, read 34,604,245 times
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"any addiction or dependency to a substance" - is a broad term that has no meaning.

I have only half my thyroid. The other half was surgically removed. I am DEPENDENT on synthetic thyroid to maintain a healthy level.

I am a life-long insomniac. Without medication, I *cannot* sleep properly. I am DEPENDENT on medication to experience healthy sleep.

I have a friend who is clinically psychotic, and is *dependent* on medication to maintain a psychological and psychiatric mental balance.

People can become dependent on certain medications, for all sorts of reasons. This very specific person, posting in his very specific post, about this very specific medicine, for his very specific medical problem, was asking about his very specific situation.

If his sleep disorder is caused by a chemical imbalance in his brain, then he will require something to re-balance the chemistry. In some cases, that is medicine - that you DEPEND on to do the maintaining that for whatever reason, your own body is unable to do. That is what dependency IS.

Addiction is a different story - and Lunestra is not addictive. If you are a life-long insomniac, as I am (and many many people), then you are dependent on medication before you ever even take your first pill. And you will continue being dependent on it, whether you take it or not, until your brain figures out how to do the job it's supposed to do, without medication.

In this very specific situation, with the specific poster, who has subsequently responded, it turns out he IS experiencing side effects, and he IS in tune with his body well enough to realize that he needs to do things differently.

The root of -my- problem is brain chemistry. And so, I rely - depend - on chemistry to do what my own can't do. As long as I am not suffering any side effects, I can continue taking it indefinitely. That is according to one of the top sleep specialist groups in the country, who prescribed my sleep medication to me in the first place, and continues to monitor me.
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Old 03-15-2011, 12:09 PM
 
Location: Santa Cruz, California
130 posts, read 790,411 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnonChick View Post
"any addiction or dependency to a substance" - is a broad term that has no meaning.

I have only half my thyroid. The other half was surgically removed. I am DEPENDENT on synthetic thyroid to maintain a healthy level.

I am a life-long insomniac. Without medication, I *cannot* sleep properly. I am DEPENDENT on medication to experience healthy sleep.

I have a friend who is clinically psychotic, and is *dependent* on medication to maintain a psychological and psychiatric mental balance.

People can become dependent on certain medications, for all sorts of reasons. This very specific person, posting in his very specific post, about this very specific medicine, for his very specific medical problem, was asking about his very specific situation.

If his sleep disorder is caused by a chemical imbalance in his brain, then he will require something to re-balance the chemistry. In some cases, that is medicine - that you DEPEND on to do the maintaining that for whatever reason, your own body is unable to do. That is what dependency IS.

Addiction is a different story - and Lunestra is not addictive. If you are a life-long insomniac, as I am (and many many people), then you are dependent on medication before you ever even take your first pill. And you will continue being dependent on it, whether you take it or not, until your brain figures out how to do the job it's supposed to do, without medication.

In this very specific situation, with the specific poster, who has subsequently responded, it turns out he IS experiencing side effects, and he IS in tune with his body well enough to realize that he needs to do things differently.

The root of -my- problem is brain chemistry. And so, I rely - depend - on chemistry to do what my own can't do. As long as I am not suffering any side effects, I can continue taking it indefinitely. That is according to one of the top sleep specialist groups in the country, who prescribed my sleep medication to me in the first place, and continues to monitor me.
As i said, "There is no prescription medication that is without side effects ... it's a matter of degree and whether or not and to what extent the side effect(s) is more or less problematic than the symptom it's treating."

I'm not dogmatically opposed to pharmaceuticals although the over-use of them is hugely problematic imo.
I was only saying that the lack of overt / noticeable side effects is not an indication that a drug is harmless.
And when i refer to the system being out of balance i'm not necessarily or only speaking about brain chemistry.
And though it may be true that Lunesta is not physiologically addictive it's obvious that the o.p. is dependent on this particular pharmaceutical and, imo, it would be most beneficial for his overall health if he gets off the meds (and not simply replace them with an over the counter pharmaceutical sleep aid) and discover the underlying cause of his sleep issues.
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Old 03-15-2011, 09:05 PM
 
Location: St. Louis
9,457 posts, read 16,404,322 times
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I went off of benadryl a few months ago and discovered to my very pleasant surprise that a half glass of wine before bed is even more effective at getting me off to sleep. On very rattled nights I take some melatonin with it. I take adderall xr, which makes it hard to drop off many nights b/c the meds are still in my system so I need something.
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Old 03-16-2011, 10:33 PM
 
1,128 posts, read 2,983,216 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stepka View Post
I went off of benadryl a few months ago and discovered to my very pleasant surprise that a half glass of wine before bed is even more effective at getting me off to sleep. On very rattled nights I take some melatonin with it. I take adderall xr, which makes it hard to drop off many nights b/c the meds are still in my system so I need something.
I definitely would try substituting wine, but I'm on some medications where I'm not supposed to drink, so I try to limit my alcohol consumption.

Today I tried to buy some liquid Benadryl, but they only had capsules and pills, so I bought it in pill form and am planning on taking 1/2 a Lunesta with 1/2 a Benadryl tablet. Hopefully this will work. Fingers crossed.
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