I've been using Ambien nightly for several years. I do periodically take a break from it, so that I can stop the reliance on it, but often stay up most of the night when I do that.
I have tried several of the more common sleeping pills, but Ambien seems to work the best for me. When I'm on high doses of steroid, I sometimes take the Ambien CR to get that second dose in to keep me asleep, but usually I only need the first shot to knock me out.
I have had several episodes of amnesia from using Amien, but every time, it was because I stayed up way too long after taking the pill. Those nights, I also stagger a little too - just like if I had been drunk. The trick is to get myself in bed within 30 minutes of taking the pill. Another problem with staying awake too long is that sometimes, I outlast the hypnotic effect and need to take a second pill in order to get to sleep and I'm on the higher 10mg dose. Sigh.
It seems that I have a very high tolerance for meds and almost nothing makes me sleepy. I could probably eat 3 or 4 Benedryl without getting tired. My migraine med, Fioricet, should make me tired, but I could take it and go out dancing (if my joints would let me).
Since my CP began 25 years ago, I've tried almost every anti-depressant out there and haven't found one that did much in terms of helping me to sleep. The only psychiatric medication that helped with sleep at all was an anti-psychotic called Seroquel (quetiapine), that I was given during an acute pain episode after a procedure. I wasn't on it long term, but at least I got some sleep.
My narcotics are great for helping to keep my pain levels within a tolerable range, but I don't ever expect to be pain free and the 40-60 mgs of Oxycontin doesn't make me sleepy at all, even when I add 10-20 mgs of Lortab. This class of meds is not designed to induce sleep. In fact, if narcotics do induce sleep, you are likely overmedicated.
Valium (diazepam) and Klonopin (Clonazepam) have helped to get me off to sleep when the Ambien alone wasn't enough due to the steroids I take, but I've only used them short term.
I take Zanaflex (tizanidine) on a regular basis for muscle spasms and even at twice my dose, it doesn't make me very sleepy at all. My Neurontin is also purported to help with sleep, but again, for me it's useless in that department. At least it does help me with the nerve pain.
Lunesta worked ok at the highest dose, 3mgs, but it wasn't as effective as Ambien and left the most horrid aftertaste which lasted well into the day. Nothing would get rid of it. I brushed, ate and still could taste it. Since nausea is a common symptom for me, the last thing I need is a med which causes a bad taste.
Rozeram didn't seem to help all that much.
So, these are the experiences I've had with meds to help me sleep. I hope you all find whatever works best for you.
Keah a.k.a. Wormy
God helps those who help themselves.
Please help us support this invaluable forum.
Crohn's Forum Moderator