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Old 01-09-2011, 01:43 PM
 
1,253 posts, read 1,525,169 times
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Default Ambien problems

I have to use Ambien every night to sleep, 5mg. Occasionally I have to use a little more. I've tried to wean myself off it, but I couldn't. I also tried Vicks or Excedrin PM but they didn't help.

I've tried two doctors but they would only prescribe enough for 30 days. But since I sometimes have to use more, there is a gap, and I can only get one refill every 30 days. I wonder what else I can do, apart from asking different doctors if they can prescribe more.

I had one idea: Valium, which I've never used before. Is it possible that would help?
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Old 01-09-2011, 02:47 PM
 
Location: Wallis and Futuna
11,218 posts, read 15,465,313 times
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Ambien is refillable. There's no reason why the doctor would refuse to allow you to refill your prescription rather than having to get a new one every 30 days. Depending on your health insurance, you should be able to get *up to* a 90 day prescription, refillable twice. Some prescription plans don't allow for that much, and some only allow it if you use their mail order system. Also you should be getting the generic; it's much less expensive.

I was able to explain the insurance issue to my doctor (they're usually clueless about this stuff), and he wrote my prescription out for the 10mg pills, which I break into pieces and use less than a full pill. That way, I get what I should get, but it lasts longer, and costs the same co-pay as if I was only getting 30 of the 5mg.

As long as you're not continually needing more and more over time, there's no reason your doctor should be rationing your meds so strictly.

Valium is not a sleeping pill, nor are Exedrin PM or Vicks. Ambien is -specifically- a sleeping medication. Things that are not specifically intended for sleep disorders, should not be used to treat sleep disorders. Valium (and its modern counterpart Xanax) are often prescribed to people who are taking antidepressants, to help them sleep because the antidepressants can cause anxiety and/or restlessness as a side effect.

You need to sit down and talk this out with your doctor. One of you needs to be educated on this; it sounds like you are both lacking information; him on the "what do patients have to deal with when they get prescriptions" problem, and you with the types of medicines that are appropriate for sleep disorders.
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Old 01-09-2011, 03:02 PM
 
Location: SW Missouri
14,716 posts, read 16,896,658 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robertpasa View Post
I have to use Ambien every night to sleep, 5mg. Occasionally I have to use a little more. I've tried to wean myself off it, but I couldn't. I also tried Vicks or Excedrin PM but they didn't help.

I've tried two doctors but they would only prescribe enough for 30 days. But since I sometimes have to use more, there is a gap, and I can only get one refill every 30 days. I wonder what else I can do, apart from asking different doctors if they can prescribe more.

I had one idea: Valium, which I've never used before. Is it possible that would help?
Have you tried to determine WHY you cannot sleep naturally? Certainly, there are many natural alternatives to sleeping pills that are very effective. Instead of masking the symptoms and becoming dependent upon a chemical that, by all accounts, is NOT good for you... (from Ambien Side Effects | Drugs.com)

Side Effects of Ambien - for the Consumer

Ambien
All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome when using Ambien:

Diarrhea; dizziness; drowsiness (including daytime drowsiness); "drugged" feeling; dry mouth; headache; nausea; nose or throat irritation; sluggishness; stomach upset; weakness.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur when using Ambien:
Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the hands, legs, mouth, face, lips, eyes, throat, or tongue; throat closing; unusual hoarseness); abnormal thinking; behavior changes; chest pain; confusion; decreased coordination; difficulty swallowing or breathing; fainting; fast or irregular heartbeat; hallucinations; memory problems (eg, memory loss); mental or mood changes (eg, aggression, agitation, anxiety); new or worsening depression; severe dizziness; shortness of breath; suicidal thoughts or actions; vision changes.

You might want to look into something that is not harmful but is effective.

20yrsinBranson
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Old 01-09-2011, 03:11 PM
 
Location: Northern NH
4,551 posts, read 6,058,653 times
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Sometimes a Dr. will not refill an Ambien because they do not want you taking it every single night. My doctor is cutting me down on it and I need to make 90 pills last six months Ambien is a schedule IV med so it can be refilled five times in six months assuming that your doctor ok's refills.
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Old 01-09-2011, 03:11 PM
 
Location: Wallis and Futuna
11,218 posts, read 15,465,313 times
Reputation: 16460
It depends on the medication and the patient and the reasons why it's prescribed. The potential side effects of taking Ambien, are the SAME side effects as those of severe exhaustion caused by chronic insomnia.

So if Ambien is preventing those insomnia problems from occurring, and not causing any of those problems (or even causing some of the milder side effects and none of the severe or dangerous ones), then Ambien should be considered a very valid, and MUCH safer method of treatment than - for example - allowing the patient to simply not sleep. Or medicating them with something that isn't working. Or medicating them for a disorder they don't have. Or giving them supplements that don't address the insomnia.

Some people (like myself) get insomnia, because our brains are lacking the "on/off valve" that tells our thoughts to shut the heck up so we can fall asleep at night. Ambien does a great job of addressing that deficiency.
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Old 01-09-2011, 03:44 PM
 
7,244 posts, read 8,512,619 times
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I have found Ambien works for me only if I DON'T take it nightly. Most of the time I can sleep using 2 of the Kirkland 25 mg sleep aid tablet (doxylamine succinate) along with 2 melatonin, 3 mg tablets.
If for some reason they don't do the trick more than a couple of nights in a row, then I'll take the Ambien again.
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Old 01-09-2011, 05:41 PM
 
Location: NJ
7,106 posts, read 13,260,676 times
Reputation: 3792
Quote:
Originally Posted by robertpasa View Post
I have to use Ambien every night to sleep, 5mg. Occasionally I have to use a little more. I've tried to wean myself off it, but I couldn't. I also tried Vicks or Excedrin PM but they didn't help.

I've tried two doctors but they would only prescribe enough for 30 days. But since I sometimes have to use more, there is a gap, and I can only get one refill every 30 days. I wonder what else I can do, apart from asking different doctors if they can prescribe more.

I had one idea: Valium, which I've never used before. Is it possible that would help?
Yes valium will work but good luck getting a script. Most will not because its addictive. My pain management doctor won't give it to me for spasms. Its the only thing that works when they are bad. I'd love to have a weeks supply in the house just for those days but he refuses.

As far as more then 30 ambien; good luck with that too.
Your best bet is to stick with one doctor who knows your history; they can then bump you up. I don't suggest doctor hopping to get more because your insurance won't cover it. Ask your doctor to give you the 10mg dose or to switch you to lunesta.

My hub takes Ambien or temazepam. The ambien stops working; then he'll switch.

What I normally do is take a 5mg melatonin; wait an hour then take my lunesta if I need it. If that doesn't do it; I will take 1 tylenol pm.
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Old 01-09-2011, 07:58 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
24,685 posts, read 15,826,373 times
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personally I think cronic lifelong insomnia is way worse for your health than ambien.

I took myself off years -over 15- of using xanax for sleep. Doctor never said a word but I bagan to feel so druged in the mornings. I can't believe people can function if they take it during the day.

My new doctor suggested the 10 mg cut in half trick and it is working for me. If she won't give me anymore I don't know what I will do. People without insomnia just have no idea how debilitating it is night after night.
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Old 01-10-2011, 11:22 AM
 
1,253 posts, read 1,525,169 times
Reputation: 393
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnonChick View Post
Ambien is refillable. There's no reason why the doctor would refuse to allow you to refill your prescription rather than having to get a new one every 30 days. Depending on your health insurance, you should be able to get *up to* a 90 day prescription, refillable twice. Some prescription plans don't allow for that much, and some only allow it if you use their mail order system. Also you should be getting the generic; it's much less expensive.

I was able to explain the insurance issue to my doctor (they're usually clueless about this stuff), and he wrote my prescription out for the 10mg pills, which I break into pieces and use less than a full pill. That way, I get what I should get, but it lasts longer, and costs the same co-pay as if I was only getting 30 of the 5mg.

As long as you're not continually needing more and more over time, there's no reason your doctor should be rationing your meds so strictly.
The doctor does allow refills. But the pharmacy makes me wait 30 days between each refill. That's why I run out towards the end of the 30-day period.

I have tried taking 2.5mg instead - it usually isn't enough.

I'm a depressed and very neurotic person - I'm sure this is the main cause of my problem.
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Old 01-10-2011, 12:55 PM
 
Location: Wallis and Futuna
11,218 posts, read 15,465,313 times
Reputation: 16460
If depression and/or neurosis of other types is the "cause" of your insomnia, then treating the depression and/or neurosis is what you need; not a sleeping pill. You really need to find a qualified psychiatrist.

The pharmacy will make you wait 30 days. So have your doctor write your prescriptions out for 45 pills per refill. That way you have a 15-day window to get your next refill.
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