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Abovethestorm: Beginning Taper of Zolpidem (Ambien)


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Hello, my name is Abovethestorm and I'm a 68 year old husband of 46 years, father of 2 wonderful grown men and grandfather is 2 teenagers. I am so blessed.

I chased health problems for minimum of 10 years. Now I sincerely believe it was mostly, if not all, tolerance w/d from Klonopin. I have been off K. (please see details in signature) for 98 days. My sxs are so horrible (as only you who have experienced them understand) that all the coping techniques and distraction and prayer seem to not help. With different sxs arriving almost daily it is by far the biggest challenge I have ever had.

I fortunately get 4-6 hrs. sleep/nite by taking Zolpidem 10mg. I've read that it is inhibiting my GABA receptors and probably slowing my recovery so I began a very slow titration on Nov. 4, 2016. 5% per 14 days. I know God has a big plan for me in His Kingdom. Very well could be helping others in w/d and recovery. I am so excited to be part of a forum that welcomes believers.

May God bless each of you in your journey.

12 years on Klonopin 1mg. (Until Aug. 1, 2016)

6 years on Zolpidem 10mg. (currently titrating)

Titrated Klonopin (5%/14 days) 10 month titration

Finished Klonopin titration (Aug. 2016)

Began Zolpidem taper Nov. 4, 2016. 5%/14 days

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Abovethestorm -- Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants (SA)
Thanks for taking time to post and to create a signature.
It's good that you started with a small dose reduction of Ambien.  I'll post links to a few topics that are relevant to your situation:
Tapering -- what you need to know
Why taper by 10% (or less) of my dosage?
Tips for tapering off Z-drugs, Ambien, Lunesta, etc.


I hope the 2 week hold after a dose reduction works for you. If not, symptoms are a better guide than the calendar. You may find it helpful to record your symptoms on paper. Here's a post (from Tapering-what you need to know) that details a useful format for a daily log:

Take notes of doses and symptoms

It's clear from your post that you are a person for whom faith is important. You'll find others who share that value in several topics in our Finding Meaning forum


This is YOUR introduction topic -- the place for you to ask questions, record symptoms, share your progress, and connect with other members of the SA community.


Please let us know how things go for you.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.
1997-1999 Effexor; 2002-2005 Effexor XR 37.5 mg linear taper, dropping same #beads/week with bad results

Cymbalta 60 mg 2012 - 2015; 2016: 20 mg to 7 mg exact doses and dates in this post; 2017: 6.3 mg to  0.0 mg  Aug. 12; details here

scallywag's Introduction
Online spreadsheet for dose taper calculations and nz11's THE WORKS spreadsheet

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I am a 68 year old husband (46 years), father of 2 grown men, and grandfather of 2 teenagers. I am very, very blessed.

Thank you so much for the welcome to the forum and the info links.


I have been off Klonopin 1mg (that I took for approx. 12 years) for 31/2 months. I did a 5% taper. I never felt well before or during the taper. I was probably in tolerance w/d for several years before I began taper and didn't know what was going on.

Every day since my last dose of the Benzo (110 days) my symptoms have gotten worse and worse. Weight loss and muscle loss are probably the most scary. 40 lbs. lost and almost no muscle tissue left. Joints beginning to ache and pop. The other sxs are too numerous to mention. I am trying very hard to not have health anxiety over all the stuff going on, but as you all know, it is a constant psychological battle.


I started titration of Ambien 10mg (5% reduction every 14 days) on Nov. 4th. The "sleep" I get from the Ambien is approx. 3-6 hrs/nite.

It is the only relief I get from these horrid sxs.


As the hours of the day progress... my symptoms increase in intensity. 4am- bad, 10am- worse, 1pm- worse still, 4pm- really bad, 7pm- really, really bad, 9pm- absolutely HORRIBLE. This pattern has repeated itself for 3 months.

Question: Is this ramping up of my symptoms, (a) Just recovery from the Klonopin .. or (B) Interdose w/d from the Ambien.. or © A combination of the two.


Any feedback and/or encouragement is greatly appreciated.


12 years on Klonopin 1mg. (Until Aug. 1, 2016)

6 years on Zolpidem 10mg. (currently titrating)

Titrated Klonopin (5%/14 days) 10 month titration

Finished Klonopin titration (Aug. 2016)

Began Zolpidem taper Nov. 4, 2016. 5%/14 days

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  • Moderator Emeritus



welcome to SA.  I usually just hang out on the benzo forum,so if you want to find me, that's where I'll be.  I just happened to see your post.  Here is my opinion.


Getting worse before you get better is pretty typical for benzo withdrawal, but now that you are in withdrawal from clonazepam and your CNS is sensitized, you are more sensitive to the daily fluctuations of the short acting Z-drug.  I think your intuition is correct that a combination of both is at play.


I'm sorry that you are so sick and have lost so much weight.  When I was in the worst of it, I ate high calorie food, just to get the calories, including chips, but mostly I ate nuts.  I know what you mean about the joints hurting and popping.  I was fortunate to have access to a warm therapy pool where I was able to get some exercise and get some muscles back without putting stress on my aching joints.  

I do not have a medical background, any opinions are my own.


I took zopiclone ( z-drug) for situational insomnia. Three weeks later I was having panic attacks. I was given Benzos, A/D, anti-psychotics, "mood stabilizers" and I kept getting worse and worse. I got very sick.


I have been off all drugs now for over 5 years and I'm healing nicely.

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