Changes since stopping long term ambien use.

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Retired Mom
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Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 1753
   Posted 3/3/2012 6:13 AM (GMT -6)   
Hello all,
I wanted to give my last update on the ambien to melotonin change.  The info on the other threads is too long, so please forgive me for starting another.
The transition is completely over now and I do not take any ambien at all.  Pretty much, I wake up between 1:00 and 3:30 AM every day and every once in a while I go back to sleep until 5:30.  It could be worse, I guess.
I'm finding that my body is getting used to the change and I want to sleep much earlier at that could explain the early waking (plus all of the extra stress from the problems with the house). 
Anyway, it seems that my medications are working somewhat differently least they feel like it to me.  I find that I can take my pain meds when I need to during the night and spread them during the day better.  I was afraid to before because I didn't want to take it on top of my ambien.  It scared me. 
Also, my dreams are changing to much lighter dreams (and I have a much more normal response to them).  With the ambien, it was hard for me to wake and tell the difference between dreams and reality for a while.  It was a very strange. 
Lastly, I have completely stopped eating during the middle of the night...which I did not realize was caused by my ambien.  Even if I wake up, I'm not starving like I was when I was taking it.  The change happened actually quickly and was noticable after the third week (when I was taking 5 mg...from the 20 I was taking before).  Now I'm finally starting to loose weight that I could not understand before.  It makes perfect sense to me now.  I am not doing anything differently (except the eating at night on ambien) and I'm loosing several pounds a week.  The weight loss is certainly an unexpected benefit of making the change.
So...for those of you considering changing from Ambien to worked for me.  I did it with my Dr's permission and made the change from 20 mg to none over a three week time.  There continue to be days I wake and can't go back to sleep, but I would still consider this personal experiment to be a success and I do NOT want to go back on the ambien.  I'm positive my Dr will be thrilled with the changes.

Monty's Mom
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Date Joined Aug 2010
Total Posts : 664
   Posted 3/3/2012 1:07 PM (GMT -6)   

I can't write much. My pain is really high today. I wanted to tell you that its great that your change was successful and that it is helping in weight loss. Melatonin works well for me also. Now that I am on nortriptyline for my depression, melatonin is not safe to use. I am having the weight gain, trouble waking, and trouble with vivid and realistic nightmares that can be hard to wake from also. I wonder if that is true of all sleep medications that are deemed safe? Personally, that side effect is hard to live with, as well as the weight gain.

So glad that your change went so well. I am very sorry for your mold and home issues. We are on the search for a home, and have been encountering mold and water issues in many of the homes on the market in our area also.

You are in my prayers for continued success with your sleep and pain and for your home also. Congrats on the insurance coverage!


Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2011
Total Posts : 86
   Posted 3/3/2012 10:08 PM (GMT -6)   
So happy that the switch to Melatonin worked for you. I am taking Ambien and am constantly sleep eating. I am going to talk to my doctor about switching too. Is Melatonin an over the counter medicine?
borderline personality disorder, bi polar II, fibromayalgia, anxiety, depression, chronic pain sufferer, avoidant personality disorder, disectomy C6-C7, bulging disc C4-C5-C7, oseoarthritis in back, hip S1 area, arthritis in neck and right shoulder, degenerative disc disease.

Meds: lamictal 200mg, Pristiq 100mg, Xanax 1mg, Percocet 5/325mg, Robaxin 750mg, Buspar 10mg, Voltaren 75mg

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 256
   Posted 3/4/2012 12:29 AM (GMT -6)   
Monty's Mom, you may want to take a closer look at the basis for your determination that Melatonin isn't safe with Nortriptyline; I can guess as to one of several reasons why you might think so, but in actuality I suspect that the two should be safe together; they do have the potential to interact slightly, but the only significant result seems to be increased sedation -- which if you keep the doses of both carefully moderated, shouldn't be an issue!

I've read many experience reports of people taking these together and having no ill effects of any kind. At most, they seem to have worked together to produce an extra sedative effect stronger than just the sum total of their usual effects added up.

Retired Mom
Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 1753
   Posted 3/4/2012 7:35 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Lynn.
I was just reading your post and saw the question about melotonin being over the counter.  Yes, it is here in the USA.  I can find a good product with the chain stores (CVS, RiteAid, or whatever your community has to offer).  CVS often has products buy one get one free every other week, so that is a good time to buy.
I started w/the 3mg pills since they were the lowest my pharmacy had and I also purchased a 10 mg...that I will likely take back or break in half.  While adjusting my ambien, I took the 3 mg and when I got to the 5 mg of ambien, I found I needed 6 mg of the melotonin to reach the desired effect.  That is the dose I am taking now and I find it is perfect for me.
I have actually slept very well the last two nights....until about 5:30 AM yesterday and even a little later today....with waking up only once or twice for restroom visits and a quick drink of my next project....Diet soda lol
Anyway, I have honestly found this to be a great success for me.  I even started my daughter (who has been having a great deal of difficulty getting to sleep and was VERY upset last night from the teenage school drama we all remember) a half of the 3 mg.  She is about 5'4" and 120  lbs with great muscle tone and low body fat.  She's only 12, but looks about 16-17 (even without makeup).  It was not quite enough to work well for her, so I'm going to try a 3mg for her when she has these sleep issues again.  She is quite stressed right now too and I think that is affecting her more than anything.  It should be short term use or sporadic for her and I will just add mine to the everyday meds I take.
Monty's Mom, I'd ask my most trusted DR about the medications and their interactions and get approval, but you may find this is a good fit for you...especially if those dreams are making life difficult (as they can for so many). 
I have to admit that I feel rested after sleep now, where I never felt rested after an even longer sleep with the prescription sleep meds.
Good luck to any who try it.  I am very happy with the results.

Retired Mom
Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 1753
   Posted 3/4/2012 7:45 AM (GMT -6)   
Just another thought to pass along....
I have had problems during the night with muscle tension like grinding of the teeth and clinching of the jaws, along with clinching my toes and my hands for quite some time.  I never considered the connection and perhaps is it not connected, but I find that I am not doing that anymore since I made the change.  It is strangely helping my back too (since I have a lot of muscle related tension making problems worse).  I'm actually finding that I don't awake to pain in the same way as I did with my back, hands, or feet.
It may be "all in my head" but I don't long as the results are positive.
BTW...I happened upon my psych and his family in TJMaxx yesterday and he came up to speak and be friendly.  I told him I was off of the ambien and he was thrilled.  We'll talk more at my next apt in a couple of weeks, but he was very pleased with the could see it in his eyes.  He was so funny though because he brought his children over to introduce to my daughter.  They are exactly the same age (twins) and they guessed my daughter (without makeup yesterday) to be 16 at least.  I now know why he said he could not get over how mature my daughter is.....they looked like she did when she was about 7.  It was really cool that he came up to me (I didn't actually see him until he spoke) and introduced his family and spoke so casually in the middle of a store.  What a great guy he is!  I'm so glad I found him when I needed him so much!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 1355
   Posted 3/5/2012 10:58 AM (GMT -6)   
RetiredMom I am thrilled your changeover has gone so well, I have been watching because I am withdrawing from a couple of anti-depressants right now and my next step will be the zopiclone sleeping pill. I tried to miss it on sat night and I am still suffering so last night I took half. I am just experimenting to see how addicted I am, just like I was to diet pop. I stopped drinking diet pop and using any aspertame product 1 week ago, this was hard for me but I was up to 5 pop a day plus splenda on cereal and sometimes in my tea.

I wish you continued success and btw melanonin is on the shelves here in Canada is anyone is interested.
Take care

Insulin Dependant Diabetic, Fibromyalgia, Gerd, IBS, Sleep Apnea, COPD, Spondylolistesis, Diabetic Neuropathy, Fatty Liver, High Cholesterol

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 553
   Posted 3/7/2012 11:43 PM (GMT -6)   
Since my daughter and I are both bipolar, we both use sleep aids. I have RA, with the chronic pain that goes with it. She is 13 and takes 3mg of melanonion each night. I take 10-15mg of ambient each night depending on how much pain I am in, how wired I am, and such. Occasionally I will add an additional 3mg of melanonin if I simply am too manic to settle down.
We automatically take the sleep aid since without it we both sleep poorly and it affects the bipolar so strongly. It's smarter to just take the pill than deal with the emotional side effects of sleepless nights later.
My daughter's psychiatrist decided to use melanonin because of her age and that it less likely to cause dependence. He believes that it should work well unless there are other contributory factors later.
On ambien I have noticed that my nightmares are much more vivid, but they don't happen any more often than before. The good dreams are more vivid too, though. I have gained weight, but there is no missing food from sleep-eating (I would know, with a family of five, I monitor what we do and do not have closely). I don't take the ambien until I am physically in bed, though.
I don't blur dreams with waking, but I don't snap awake like I did before. (I don't move that quickly for anything anymore) It takes me a moment to decide to be awake and build momentum to get going.
I've been taking this dose of ambien for about 6 years now, and other than taking closer to 15mg than 10mg more often, I've had no negative side effects that I know of. I would say that there would be more negative effects to not sleeping well for me.
"Life seems a little easier when you remember to breathe"

Dx: Rheumatoid Arthritis 2008
Bipolar 2 2006 (symptoms since 1993)
Fibromialgia 2010
Gluten senitivity 2010
Sleep apneia 2007
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