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About AmbienDiscussion forum about the side effects of Ambien. Share your experience and opinion about Ambien. What would you tell your best friend about this product? Please remember that we do not give medical advice. That is for your local health care provider, who is familiar with your medical history.
Insomnia has increased
I've had moderate to severe insomnia for at least 5 years and have taken relatively tiny (1-1.5mg "slices") from 5-10mg tablets of ambien off and on for at least that long (sometimes for up to 3 weeks straight). I've been taking ambien more and more as my insomnia has increased (though I've tried to do most everything recommended as good sleep "hygiene"). Most nights the last 9 days I awaken at 2:00am and resign myself to take the drug (since I rarely fall back to sleep). For 2-3 days, I've noticed otherwise unexplained, very brief anxiety attacks as well as seen a grouchy side of myself confined to past PMS bouts (long since past).
I've never looked at your site until today and feel that, combined with my own experience, the input provided by others is very helpful and has made me decide not to take ambien -- hopefully ever again. Not sleeping for nights in a row (or 2-3 hrs a night) feels like hell and can make a person incredibly miserable and grouch. But experiencing uncharacteristic, negative feelings like I have lately (especially after having a reasonable night sleep) is truly frightening.
One last comment: I heard that lunesta was recently tested and found "safe" to take "long term." Ambien has not. My doctor told me that ambien was "nothing" and that the doses I'm taking are "baby doses" yet, why aren't doctors getting the information (from drug companies, where ever) to let them know that long-term safe use of the drug hasn't even been tested, no less proven?
AskDocWeb: The manufacturer of Ambien, Sanofi-Aventis, has defined this drug as a short-term treatment for insomnia. The patient information clearly says that Ambien has been proven effective for up to 35 days. It says nothing about use beyond that time.
The scary part of all this
I am a guy with multiple physical ailments. I have a hard time getting sleep due to them. Nine operations over the past 10 years has made it very hard to get comfortable in any position to sleep. I have tried several things that have initially helped but did not last. I recently took Ambien and that too initially worked until once awake I could not go back to sleep. I am currently taking other pain medication to cope with my condition and did not have any serious problem with anything but some anxiety, irritability and sleep.
These mood swings would have a big impact on my relationship with my wife and two girls. They have been coping with me for a long time in this condition. Just the other night I took some Ambien again so that I could get some sleep only to end up in the hospital and then in jail. The scary part of all this is that I don't remember anything but a few bits and pieces. It really scared me.
After returning home the next day my wife began to tell me what had happened the night before and I could not believe it. She said that I was having conversations with people that weren't there, I had physically abused my father-inlaw who came to help my wife deal with me, and that I threatened to kill them and burn down the house. I also said things that I wouldn't normally say to people. She had no choice but to call the police. My wife said that she knows that I wasn't trying to intentionally hurt anyone, but the look that I had she said I was definitely not me. It had scared her and my children beyond repair. She has since left me for fear of her and my children's well being. She says that she wants to help me but she can't stay with me.
I would like to let others know that Ambien is a very dangerous drug no matter how well it may or may not work for your sleep. I am glad that nothing more serious has happened and hope that anyone who has had any adverse reaction to Ambien will stop taking it immediately. Doctors should do a lot more research on all side effects before even considering prescribing it.
In closing, my specific effects were hallucinations, blackouts, violence and uncontrolled speech. Not only can you hurt someone with violence but what is said cannot be taken back either. The damage is permanent. I cannot find it in me to forgive myself for the trauma and pain that I have put my family through and sorry isn't even close to being enough. Maybe God can. But for what it's worth I am truly sorry! I hope that people don't think that I am a Liar. To my wife, HoneyBee I Love you!
Cut my long hair into short shaggy mess
I have taken Ambien for over 8 months now and appreciate the sleep it has provided. I too have memory problems and have experienced some pretty wild things when I first started taking this medication because I didn't go to bed right after taking it. I even woke up one morning and found that I had cut my extra long hair into a very short shaggy mess! If used appropriately it is a good medication for insomnia but if there are other physical ailments that go untreated because you get the sleep you desire on the Ambien it is not such a Blessing---at least not for long.
I would recommend getting a sleep study done before taking any type of hypnotics for sleep. My husband also takes Ambien for insomnia and is normally a very shy man but one night while in front of the computer he began to serenade the family (and he never sang for us in over 12 years before this) and when we asked him what he was doing he just smiled and ignored us and kept singing. He woke the next day with no memory of this and was very embarrassed.
Using Ambien long term
The product is wonderful and does the job well with minimal side effects that I can tell. Especially the CR is helpful with waking at night during menopause. My problem is with the short term usage. What are the side effects of using Ambien long term BESIDES dependency. Does it effect the liver, memory, or cognitive ability and concentration? For my husband it's either take it and sleep or lose his mind from lack of sleep. We've both taken it for years and don't have any side effects...yet. I think its cruel to offer a drug that helps people with a chronic condition but tell them you can't take it for more than a few weeks.
AskDocWeb: Although Ambien may help with chronic insomnia that is not its intended purpose. It is clearly labeled as a short-term treatment for insomnia although many doctors prescribe it for much longer periods of time. There doesn't seem to be any serious safety concerns in terms of taking it long-term but stay tuned, sometimes things do show up later.
Sleep specialists agree that if you are still using sleeping pills after a month and have trouble falling asleep without them then it's time to consider other options. Spending a few sessions with a sleep therapist can usually teach you techniques that you can refer back to again and again for years. And there is no charge for reusing these techniques once you learn them.
Ambien and alcohol
I have been using Ambien on and off for several years. I am a consultant and need to be very sharp at work. I usually have never had a problem falling asleep, but rather staying asleep. I was waking up at 3 in the morning and not being able to fall back to asleep until before my alarm went off. I went off Ambien but now have been on it for over a year. I was in Australia before that and did not take it for 6 months, so my doctor said I was not addicted to it. Recently, I have been taking it every night and feeling completely out of it the next day. I have the 10 mg but usually cut it in half.
I also sometimes drink on it. Can drinking on it the night before, cause drowsiness and the fog like side affects the next day. I really want to get off of Ambien, mostly because I don't want to be addicted to anything. The times I have not taken the drug, I usually sleep pretty well. I sometimes wonder if this is really a psychological drug? I am going to try and wean myself off of it starting this weekend. I am not working on a project right now and it may be a good time. I would love to know of natural remedies that have worked for most of you that have quit. Any recommendations? Thank you so much!
AskDocWeb: The patient information says that drinking alcohol can increase the side effects.
My husband of twenty eight years was prescribed ambien he started acting very strange would get up in the middle of the night and not remember. He wasn't acting like himself at all. He was getting night sweats and have to change his shirt three times a night. He would say I don't feel right I don't like this feeling I have. The morning of September 23rd after taking ambien for only two weeks, we had breakfast together talked about what we were going to have for dinner after his dental appointment he read the morning paper did the crossword puzzle took a shower got dressed went in the livingroom and shot himself. He never would have done that if he wasn't on ambien. It is an awful awful drug that should be taken off the market. I lost the man I loved and who loved me because of ambien. He was only 52. Please don't take this drug.
I know three people who use this drug. One just finished rehab for abusing it, and the other one should be dead soon, as she wishes to continue buying them on the street and taking 30 a day. Yes 30 a day. Every time she ends up in the hospital, they try to send her to a outpatient rehab. It is way too serious for that.
HORRIBLE memory problems
I am so surprised at the number of people reporting memory loss from Ambien. I've taken it daily for the last 6 years. (If I miss a dose, no sleep at all, which makes me very agitated!) I also take clonazapam (Klonopin) for Restless Leg Syndrome. I've been on this med for about 10 years. I was diagnosed with this after having a sleep study for sleep apnea (it was confirmed and used CPAP and BiPAP with no success. Had surgical intervention to modify my soft palate and that worked).
I too have HORRIBLE memory problems. I have to ask people over and over to repeat phone numbers, dates, etc. It's become a joke among my friends, but it really isn't funny to me. I also teach school and simple spelling and mathematics can sometimes elude me. (I have 2 post graduate degrees in education!) Talk about embarrassing! If this is a side affect of the Ambien, I need to find a way to get off it, I've tried not to take it for a couple of days over holiday periods, but then I go without sleep for those days.
I've added the supplement Melatonin, which helped a little. OTC sleep aids and antihistamines have never had a sedative effect for me. I've done the relaxation tapes and behavior mod programs without long term relief. I've recently asked about switching to Ambien CR, but I'm doubtful now after reading some of the earlier posts. I've become so tolerant and really scared to increase my nightly dose just to sleep 6-7 hours without interruption. Will I be able to ever get off this drug???
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