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Tips for tapering off Z drugs for sleep (Ambien, Lunesta, etc.)

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Nikki

Too funny Barbara :D


Intro: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1902-nikki-hi-my-rundown-with-ads/

 

Paxil 1997-2004

Crossed over to Lexapro Paxil not available

at Pharmacies GSK halted deliveries

Lexapro 40mgs

Lexapro taper (2years)

Imipramine

Imipramine and Celexa

Now Nefazadone/Imipramine 50mgs. each

45mgs. Serzone  50mgs. Imipramine

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rapunzel2

I'm asking advice for somebody else. Since I'm talking a lot about withdrawing, people are coming to me to ask for advice. I didn't find information about how to taper sleeping pills from the forum - it this information is here, could somebody refer me to it?

 

The situation with her is such - she is clean from other drugs and does not have depression or anxiety. She has had trouble with sleeping though, and is now addicted to Lunesta, which also isn't helping very much, because she says that she still wakes up in the middle of the night and then the sleep doesn't come. 

 

Question is, how to taper off Lunesta and what natural products to suggest to her? melatonin? inositol? Niacin? GABA? she already takes small amount of tryptophan + mg + B6. 

 

thanks for the help!


in 2002- 0,5 tablet cipramil for half a year, ended it uneventfully. in 2006 - citalopram for half a year, ended in horrific state, ditched the drugs CT. 2007-2008 not feeling well but drug free. in 2008 prozac 20mg + quetiapine 25mg. 2009 tried to stop, ended up in hole after couple of months, started zoloft. 2009-2011 zoloft 50mg. went to 25mg in 2011 summer, it resulted in half a year horrible suffering. reinstated, changed drugs, nothing happened. by 2012 beginning suddenly felt great and CT meds. after 4 months came suddenly most horrible human suffering that's possible. was started on prozac and questiapine. started tapering slowly, GFCF diet and Hardy Nutritionals vitamins in 2013 summer. 

current medications: 1) fluoxetine and quetiapine since Aug 2012; 2) Daily Essential Nutrients by Hardy Nutritionals 7 capsules / since May 2013 + omega3; 3) Gluten-free-casein-free diet since june 2013

 

Started withdrawing slowly since april 2013. Mostly around 10% cuts. 

April'13 - March'14: fluoxetine 40mg -> 19,5mg; quetiapine 50mg -> 40mg
April'14-March'15: fluoxetine 19,5mg -> 14,4mg; quetiapine 40mg -> 22mg

April'15-March'16: fluoxetine 14,4mg -> 7,4mg; quetiapine 22mg -> 15mg

April'16-March'17: fluoxetine 7,4mg -> 5,0mg; quetiapine 15mg -> 7,25mg

April'17-March'18: fluoxetine 5,0mg -> 4,0mg; quetiapine 7,25mg -> 0 (as of 1st Feb 2018)!!!!

April´18-March´19: fluoxetine 4,0mg - > 2,3mg

Finished my taper on 23 July 2019!!!!!! ZERO drugs in my system!!! jumped off from 1,4mg fluoxetine which was unfortunately too high jump-off point for me. suffering severe withdrawal since. delayed onset came 4 months after jumping.

 

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Petunia

We don't have a topic specifically for tapering off Lunesta/Zopiclone or other z drugs but they work in a similar way to benzos, so a benzo tapering protocol can be used. See the topics pinned at the top of our benzo forum:

Members-only benzo tapering discussion

Vitamin B6 can sometimes be activating and cause sleep disruption, your friend might want to try leaving that off for a few days and see if that helps with the night time waking.

 

See :

Important topics about symptoms, including sleep problems

for natural methods of improving sleep, you need to scroll down to the sleep section.

   

I'm not a doctor.  My comments are not medical advise. These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I've learned. Please discuss your situation with a medical practitioner who has knowledge of tapering and withdrawal...if you are lucky enough to find one.

My Introduction Thread

Full Drug and Withdrawal History

Brief Summary

Several SSRIs for 13 years starting 1997 (for mild to moderate partly situational anxiety) Xanax PRN ~ Various other drugs over the years for side effects

2 month 'taper' off Lexapro 2010

Short acute withdrawal, followed by 2 -3 months of improvement then delayed protracted withdrawal

DX ADHD followed by several years of stimulants and other drugs trying to manage increasing symptoms

Failed reinstatement of Lexapro and trial of Prozac (became suicidal)

May 2013 Found SA, learned about withdrawal, stopped taking drugs...healing begins.

Protracted withdrawal, with a very sensitized nervous system, slowly recovering as time passes

Supplements which have helped: Vitamin C, Magnesium, Taurine

Bad reactions: Many supplements but mostly fish oil and Vitamin D

June 2016 - Started daily juicing, mostly vegetables and lots of greens.

Aug 2016 - Oct 2016 Best window ever, felt almost completely recovered

Oct 2016 -Symptoms returned - bad days and less bad days.

April 2018 - No windows, but significant improvement, it feels like permanent full recovery is close.

VIDEO: Where did the chemical imbalance theory come from?



VIDEO: How are psychiatric diagnoses made?



VIDEO: Why do psychiatric drugs have withdrawal syndromes?



VIDEO: Can psychiatric drugs cause long-lasting negative effects?

VIDEO: Dr. Claire Weekes

 

 

 

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rapunzel2

thank you, Petu, I will look into those!

 

one more question. since the drugs half life is only 6 hours, is it possible that she is suffering also from interdose withdrawal? where can I read more about this? are there any other sleeping pills with longer half life, maybe it would be wise to switch to one that has longer half life before starting tapering?


in 2002- 0,5 tablet cipramil for half a year, ended it uneventfully. in 2006 - citalopram for half a year, ended in horrific state, ditched the drugs CT. 2007-2008 not feeling well but drug free. in 2008 prozac 20mg + quetiapine 25mg. 2009 tried to stop, ended up in hole after couple of months, started zoloft. 2009-2011 zoloft 50mg. went to 25mg in 2011 summer, it resulted in half a year horrible suffering. reinstated, changed drugs, nothing happened. by 2012 beginning suddenly felt great and CT meds. after 4 months came suddenly most horrible human suffering that's possible. was started on prozac and questiapine. started tapering slowly, GFCF diet and Hardy Nutritionals vitamins in 2013 summer. 

current medications: 1) fluoxetine and quetiapine since Aug 2012; 2) Daily Essential Nutrients by Hardy Nutritionals 7 capsules / since May 2013 + omega3; 3) Gluten-free-casein-free diet since june 2013

 

Started withdrawing slowly since april 2013. Mostly around 10% cuts. 

April'13 - March'14: fluoxetine 40mg -> 19,5mg; quetiapine 50mg -> 40mg
April'14-March'15: fluoxetine 19,5mg -> 14,4mg; quetiapine 40mg -> 22mg

April'15-March'16: fluoxetine 14,4mg -> 7,4mg; quetiapine 22mg -> 15mg

April'16-March'17: fluoxetine 7,4mg -> 5,0mg; quetiapine 15mg -> 7,25mg

April'17-March'18: fluoxetine 5,0mg -> 4,0mg; quetiapine 7,25mg -> 0 (as of 1st Feb 2018)!!!!

April´18-March´19: fluoxetine 4,0mg - > 2,3mg

Finished my taper on 23 July 2019!!!!!! ZERO drugs in my system!!! jumped off from 1,4mg fluoxetine which was unfortunately too high jump-off point for me. suffering severe withdrawal since. delayed onset came 4 months after jumping.

 

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TexCB

I've been an insomniac most of my adult life.  I'm 42.  I've been taking Ambien for 3 years now.  I'm prescribed 30 10mg pills every 30 days.  I like to take 12.5 mg for optimal effect and to create a 24 days on and a 6 day off cycle.  I basically cut up some pills into qtrs. and take 1 and 1/4 pill each night.  This way I never get physically addicted.  I have trouble sleeping the 6 days I'm off so I have to use Tylenol PM and Melatonin in combination on those days (which is what I did for years before I got on Ambien).  I don't sleep as well but I manage it.  I'm not a doctor, but this is a safe way "for me" to get good quality sleep for a good 24 days and an ok sleep for 6 days.  I think without the 6 day break, Ambien would lose it's effect on me.  I don't experience any physical withdrawal this way.  The first night off is more of a mental thing, but I start early with the Melatonin (6pm 10mg) and then at 8pm a Tylenol PM.  I'll get to sleep by 12pm and get up a 5am.  It gets a little better as that week goes on.  With Ambien, I can dose at 9pm on an empty stomach and will be asleep by 10pm and will sleep till 5:30 am.

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Altostrata

Thank you for that information. I do not think your strategy eliminates the possibility you may become physiologically dependent on the drug.

 

That you have difficulty sleeping for the 6 days when you skip it indicates you may be physiologically dependent on Ambien and experiencing withdrawal symptoms, which are reversed when you start up the drug again. ("Addiction" implies a psychological dependency -- a craving for the drug -- as well as a physiological dependency. In your belief you need it to sleep, you may also be psychologically dependent.)

 

Also, from what we see here, going on and off neuroactive drugs for a long time tends to sensitize the nervous system, causing odd reactions. Sometimes the drug stops "working" (tolerance), sometimes tolerance is accompanied by withdrawal symptoms, sometimes it goes paradoxical (causes alerting rather than sleep).

 

I am glad taking Ambien has not had an ill effect on you so far (other than physiological dependence). I caution you not to be complacent in taking it long-term, and to gradually taper off rather than attempting to manage it by skipping doses.


This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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Betsy

I have a friend who wants to taper off 12.5 mg of Ambien CR. But she says they only come in solid pill from where she lives. She wants to use the scale and shave off something like .001 grams or so per day. Maybe she should make this # higher?

Betsy


2003-Tried most ADs. Paradoxical.

March- July 40 mg Remeron. C/Ted off it.

2003-2014 3-10 mg of Kpin. Partial C/O to 70 mg Valium. Have 6.5 mg of K to taper. C/H 5% every 14 days.

Micro taper @ .625 mg.

April 2015: 150 mg Trazodone; 100 mg Seroquel;  132 mcg Levothyroxine.

2016 C/T 700 mg gabapentin.

Dec. 21, 2015: Klonopin Free.

2015 Off cigarettes.

At 13 mg of Valium from 70.

2019 20 mg Lipitor 

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Altostrata

Betsy, I moved your post here. Please read the first post in this topic. There's also good information in the other posts.


This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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csm2014

I have a friend who wants to taper off 12.5 mg of Ambien CR. But she says they only come in solid pill from where she lives. She wants to use the scale and shave off something like .001 grams or so per day. Maybe she should make this # higher?

Betsy

 .001g = 1mg which is 8.00% of the starting dose to taper from. Although I don't have experience with tapering Ambien, in my opinion from all that I've been educated and read on this forum, that is too much of a cut to start with - and certainly NOT to cut that much daily! I would start at no more than 5.00% (.625mg) and hold for at least 7-10 days before re-evaluating the next cut. I would highly recommend using the scale like the one I posted upthread, if possible. Also, I don't know how to deal with tapering a slow release med; if you break it up of pulverize it, then it will deactivate the slow release components and make the taper that much more problematic I would think. Maybe better to C/O gradually to immediate release Ambien and get acclimated on that first before commencing the taper.


MEDS SUMMARY:

1) Valium: 10mg avg prn from 09-06-14 to 10-20-14
2) Xanax: 0.75mg avg prn from from 09-19-14 to 10-16-14
3) Lexapro: 5mg q.d. from 10-06-14 to 10-16-14
4) switched immediately to Clonazepam: 0.5mg average/day for 2 weeks (10-17-24-10-30-14); titrated to 1mg (0.5mg bid) on 10-31-14 to present; started microtaper @ .625% (.0031250mg x 2) from 08-09-15 to 08-15-15; .800% (.0038750mg x 2) from 08-16-15 to present; destabilized 08-19-15 (due to change from original tablet); reinstated, on day 54, and have tapered a total of 14% as of 09-30-15 with zero symptoms (knock on wood)!
5) Lamictal: 100mg q.d. from 10-23-14 to 12-04-14; started tapering 12-05-14, 25mg every 2 weeks; destabilized 01-15-14; reinstated 01-22-15 at 25mg q.d. from 01-24-15 to 02-19-15; cut approx. 3-4mg every 5-10 days until 03-22-15, then cut 2mg every 5-6 days until 05-12-15; holding at 4mg q.d. from 05-13-15 to present.
Detailed Analysis - Lamictal history: https://app.box.com/s/rnermghleue9aemyhd57l1a00gsk2i4u

6) Also taking meds for blood pressure (Coreg @ 6.25mg b.i.d. and Losartan @ 50mg b.i.d.) + for blood clot I had back in 2012 (Xarelto @ 10mg) + for hypothyroidism (Armour Thyroid @ 1grain q.d.)

 

HISTORY & SUPPLEMENT LIST: https://app.box.com/s/mc9mch8za2lbizgs9z8j4mzhz2oswn8l

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Altostrata

Thanks, csm.

 

Please note a 12.5mg Ambien tablet most likely weighs a lot more than 12.5mg, which refers to the amount of active ingredient in the tablet, not its weight.

 

To taper, you'd weigh a whole tablet and take a percentage relative to how you want to taper. If you wish to taper by 10% and the tablet weighs 31mg, you would remove 10%, or 3.1mg of the tablet, leaving 27.9mg. (Alternatively, you could calculate 90% of 31mg to get the amount you want to take: 27.9mg.)


This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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csm2014

Thanks, csm.

 

Please note a 12.5mg Ambien tablet most likely weighs a lot more than 12.5mg, which refers to the amount of active ingredient in the tablet, not its weight.

 

To taper, you'd weigh a whole tablet and take a percentage relative to how you want to taper. If you wish to taper by 10% and the tablet weighs 31mg, you would remove 10%, or 3.1mg of the tablet, leaving 27.9mg. (Alternatively, you could calculate 90% of 31mg to get the amount you want to take: 27.9mg.)

Oops, if anyone should know how to calculate this, I should, as I spent weeks creating a spreadsheet calculator devising all this :wacko:


MEDS SUMMARY:

1) Valium: 10mg avg prn from 09-06-14 to 10-20-14
2) Xanax: 0.75mg avg prn from from 09-19-14 to 10-16-14
3) Lexapro: 5mg q.d. from 10-06-14 to 10-16-14
4) switched immediately to Clonazepam: 0.5mg average/day for 2 weeks (10-17-24-10-30-14); titrated to 1mg (0.5mg bid) on 10-31-14 to present; started microtaper @ .625% (.0031250mg x 2) from 08-09-15 to 08-15-15; .800% (.0038750mg x 2) from 08-16-15 to present; destabilized 08-19-15 (due to change from original tablet); reinstated, on day 54, and have tapered a total of 14% as of 09-30-15 with zero symptoms (knock on wood)!
5) Lamictal: 100mg q.d. from 10-23-14 to 12-04-14; started tapering 12-05-14, 25mg every 2 weeks; destabilized 01-15-14; reinstated 01-22-15 at 25mg q.d. from 01-24-15 to 02-19-15; cut approx. 3-4mg every 5-10 days until 03-22-15, then cut 2mg every 5-6 days until 05-12-15; holding at 4mg q.d. from 05-13-15 to present.
Detailed Analysis - Lamictal history: https://app.box.com/s/rnermghleue9aemyhd57l1a00gsk2i4u

6) Also taking meds for blood pressure (Coreg @ 6.25mg b.i.d. and Losartan @ 50mg b.i.d.) + for blood clot I had back in 2012 (Xarelto @ 10mg) + for hypothyroidism (Armour Thyroid @ 1grain q.d.)

 

HISTORY & SUPPLEMENT LIST: https://app.box.com/s/mc9mch8za2lbizgs9z8j4mzhz2oswn8l

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Altostrata

:)


This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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freespirit123

Any suggestions on tapering from 3mg of Lunesta? Been on since Sept, every night. Most talks are about Ambien so would love to hear about Lunesta

 

Heard you can't cut pills in half. So they come on 1mg 2mg and 3mg

 

Was thinking I'd need to add in something natural to help with the sleep. Anyone use Calm Forte by Hylands?


In 2015- had UTI put on Microbid. Stopped sleeping & had a nervous breakdown! Was put on Seroquil, Trazadone, Klonopin, just to name a few! Got off all drugs except Celexa until May of 2018. 

 

Update as of 1/19- reinstated Celexa 20mg. Drinking wine nightly along with a slew of meds/supplements to try and get to sleep. 

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Altostrata

Hi, freespirit. Please read this topic from the beginning. Go to the Symptoms forum and use search to find discussions of Calms Forte.


This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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freespirit123

I've been taking Lunesta 3mg every night for about 5 months! I know it's not suppose to be taken every night but my insomnia started back in Aug and I was thrown into Lubesta, Seroquel and Celexa

 

Anyways now I'm off of Sero., I'm waking up after like an hour or two with the Lunesta.

 

Most posts are about Ambien but I'd like to chat with the ones you tapered successfully off of Lunesta.

 

The pills come in 1,2,3mg. I heard you can't cut it up either


In 2015- had UTI put on Microbid. Stopped sleeping & had a nervous breakdown! Was put on Seroquil, Trazadone, Klonopin, just to name a few! Got off all drugs except Celexa until May of 2018. 

 

Update as of 1/19- reinstated Celexa 20mg. Drinking wine nightly along with a slew of meds/supplements to try and get to sleep. 

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Skyler

Hello FS.  Please open a thread in the benzo subforum to talk about this.  As you may know, Lunesta is referred to as a Z-drug and they are close cousins of the benzos.


As always, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! A proud supporter of the 10% (or slower) rule.

 

Requip - 3/16 ZERO  Total time on 25 years.

 

Lyrica: 8/15 ZERO Total time on 7 or 8 yrs.

BENZO FREE 10/13 (started tapering 7/10)  Total time on 25 years.

 

Read my intro thread here, and check the about me section.  "No matter how cynical you get, it's almost impossible to keep up." Lily Tomlin

 

 

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rapunzel2

Is zopiclone water soluble? where could I find information about it?


in 2002- 0,5 tablet cipramil for half a year, ended it uneventfully. in 2006 - citalopram for half a year, ended in horrific state, ditched the drugs CT. 2007-2008 not feeling well but drug free. in 2008 prozac 20mg + quetiapine 25mg. 2009 tried to stop, ended up in hole after couple of months, started zoloft. 2009-2011 zoloft 50mg. went to 25mg in 2011 summer, it resulted in half a year horrible suffering. reinstated, changed drugs, nothing happened. by 2012 beginning suddenly felt great and CT meds. after 4 months came suddenly most horrible human suffering that's possible. was started on prozac and questiapine. started tapering slowly, GFCF diet and Hardy Nutritionals vitamins in 2013 summer. 

current medications: 1) fluoxetine and quetiapine since Aug 2012; 2) Daily Essential Nutrients by Hardy Nutritionals 7 capsules / since May 2013 + omega3; 3) Gluten-free-casein-free diet since june 2013

 

Started withdrawing slowly since april 2013. Mostly around 10% cuts. 

April'13 - March'14: fluoxetine 40mg -> 19,5mg; quetiapine 50mg -> 40mg
April'14-March'15: fluoxetine 19,5mg -> 14,4mg; quetiapine 40mg -> 22mg

April'15-March'16: fluoxetine 14,4mg -> 7,4mg; quetiapine 22mg -> 15mg

April'16-March'17: fluoxetine 7,4mg -> 5,0mg; quetiapine 15mg -> 7,25mg

April'17-March'18: fluoxetine 5,0mg -> 4,0mg; quetiapine 7,25mg -> 0 (as of 1st Feb 2018)!!!!

April´18-March´19: fluoxetine 4,0mg - > 2,3mg

Finished my taper on 23 July 2019!!!!!! ZERO drugs in my system!!! jumped off from 1,4mg fluoxetine which was unfortunately too high jump-off point for me. suffering severe withdrawal since. delayed onset came 4 months after jumping.

 

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scallywag

A google search yielded this information about zopiclone's solubility:

Quote

From my understanding, zopiclone is not water soluble.
But is it soluble to other substances like milk or alcohol (vodka especially i'm guessing, considering it's almost pure alcohol) etc.

 

Try dissolving half a tablet or capsule in water and the other half in milk. Please let us know what you discover.

 

If you're wanting to switch to liquid formulation, start by taking part of your dose as liquid and increasing that proportion every 2 weeks rather than switching from solid (tablet or capsule) to liquid overnight. For more detail, please read the first post of this topic.


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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