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Antihistamines for withdrawal insomnia (diphenhydramine, doxylamine, hydroxyzine)

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dluv

Diphenhydramine works very well for me (calmed me down and made me sleep on several occasions) 

However now I'm tempted to use it for a few consecutive nights and I'm worried about doing it too much, what would be too much?

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chicken

I have always been able to use Benedryl until I had my withdrawal problems....Just as the warning in the OP indicates...it went paradoxical on me. Now I will not touch it.

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Pzen

Hi guys,

 

long time ago I wrote anything on this forum. Things were going good for a long time, not great, but good. I stopped eating gluten at the end of the summer,  and a lot of my physical symptoms went away, which was really good.

 

But my anxiety and the occasional depression persisted after that. I also got acne on my back, and itching sores on my legs.

 

So my doctor told me to take Atarax (I chose to take 10 mg per day) and it helped a lot with the itching and anxiety. I actually started to like living again and started laughing again and feeling real feelings (albeit a little numbed).

 

But after about a month after starting Atarax i had a really bad night. My legs felt jittery, the zaps started again and the burning skin came back. I ate gluten the same week I must add.

 

So the day after I was really tired and decided to stop eating the Atarax. But the day after that I was really wobbly and also had a lot of nausea. So I decided to take half a pill and it subsided after a couple of hours. I decided to stay on half a pill everyday the week after that, but I felt nauseous all week and all the symptoms I mentioned above lingered.

 

So.... now I feel stuck. Should I keep eating the Atarax (and probably up the dose because I suspect that I have developed a tolerance) or should I taper and risk getting my self into an acute withdrawal phase again?

 

I really dont know what to do, and I feel scared about going through withdrawal again :(

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bhasski

@Pzen

Feeling sorry that you think Atarax is not helping.

But can you tell me more about gluten? Is it true that it acts so bad?

I am vegetarian and don't think leaving wheat is an option where I live with my family...

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Pzen

I think some of us have developed some new allergier/sensitivities after quitting ssris. For me, I def think gluten is one of them. Especially when I felt that all my aches pretty much went away after quitting it

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Timetobedone

I have taken Atarax on and off for the past 5 years. I have found that after a few months, that sometimes it works and sometimes it makes things worse or just doesn't do anything at all. I found that I can't just stop it (which you are supposed to be able to, but that isn't the case). Mind you, I only take from 5-10mg at any given time which some say wouldn't even help symptoms in the first place, but it does for me. When I need to stop taking it, I just cut the dose in half for a week, and then I will take that amount every other day for a week and then stop. I do tend to get some heart palps for a few days after I stop, but it goes away quickly.

 

Good luck! 

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RuthS

I have been taking 12.5 mg of doxylamine succinate, the antihistamine in NyQuil to help me sleep the last three nights.  It has worked great and I experienced temporary relief from anxiety and insomnia.

         Since I reduced my dose to 1ml of liquid Prozac, my anxiety has been really bad.  I increased the dose to 1.5 ml and my anxiety has diminished a little bit, but is still unpleasant.  My question is, is it safe to use an antihistamine short term until the anxiety subsides a bit more so I can sleep?  I do not want to become dependent on it, but it is providing a lot of relief so I can sleep and function during the day.  

        Thank you for your thoughts.

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Altostrata

Hi, Ruth, please see the above discussion.

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Altostrata
On 12/8/2017 at 8:08 AM, Timetobedone said:

after a few months, that sometimes it works and sometimes it makes things worse or just doesn't do anything at all.

 

This is typical of the antihistamines people use for sleep. They poop-out or go paradoxical after a bit of regular use. It's best to rotate these remedies, and to use them at lowest effective dose, which may be a fraction of a tablet.

 

Hydroxyzine has a half-life of about 20 hours, you might feel its effects for a day or two.

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SadDad88

So I tried doing a little research on what this antihistamine actually does receptor wise. I found some articles saying it acts on serotonin. Has anyone else come across this? It has sedating effects and helps anxiety. I'm currently taking it and I feel it does nothing. When I try to stop, my anxiety sky rockets. So I suppose it does do something for me, or has a withdrawal affect even though everything says it doesn't.

 

Thoughts on this med? I tried it last year when I had horrible insomnia from Lexapro the first time around. It worked wonders but stopped working after a couple of months. I found it hard to discontinue and had to taper it over some weeks to months. 

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Scotteves

The problem with benadryl is that it can cause a major setback for benzo withdrawal. Anything with alcohol in it is the devil. I was just considering a normal antihistamine.

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ChessieCat

Posted in a member's topic:

 

50 minutes ago, Altostrata said:

Hydroxyzine is an antihistamine with a half-life of about 20 hours, which means it may be supplying some sedation during the day. I'd reduce it by 25% every few days.

 

It could be the hydroxyzine has turned paradoxical on you, as these sedating antihistamines often do, and your sleep will improve as you lower the dose.

 

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Altostrata

https://www.pharmacist.com/nonprescription-antihistamines-geriatric-considerations
 

Quote


Nonprescription antihistamines are approved by FDA for temporary relief of allergic rhinitis symptoms.1 Diphenhydramine is also an FDA-approved antitussive, nighttime sleep aid, and antiemetic.1 In addition, nonprescription antihistamines are often self-selected for management of common cold symptoms.

 

H1 antihistamines are commonly classified by functional class (e.g., first generation [sedating] and second generation [nonsedating]). With similar efficacy, adverse effects depend on the ability of the H1 antihistamines to block muscarinic, adrenergic, and serotonergic receptors and to cross the blood–brain barrier.2 The first-generation nonprescription H1 antihistamines (i.e., brompheniramine, chlorpheniramine, clemastine, dexbrompheniramine, diphenhydramine) cross the blood–brain barrier and are associated with central nervous system adverse effects (e.g., drowsiness, fatigue, dizziness, impaired thinking and memory, agitation, and hallucinations; children and the elderly may experience paradoxical excitation and agitation).

....

Anticholinergic adverse effects associated with the first-generation H1 antihistamines include dry mouth, dry eyes, pupillary dilatation, urinary retention, constipation, memory defects, dizziness, postural hypotension, and weight gain. Some first-generation H1 antihistamines block alpha-adrenergic receptors, serotonin receptors, and cardiac ion currents, contributing to cardiovascular toxicities such as dysrhythmias, prolongation of the QT interval, and postural hypotension.3

....

 

 

 

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Altostrata

Full text https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/add5/6762ecc52d77c06be6349e56c6baa2f631f6.pdf

 

2012;16(5). Prof Nurs Today.

Antihistamines: a brief review.

Van Schoor J, MPharm. Amayeza Info Centre


 

Quote

 

....

Antihistamines comprise a broad class of pharmacological agents that include the rst-generation, relatively sedating H1antagonists (e.g. diphenhydramine) and the newer, second-generation, less- or nonsedating H1 antagonists (e.g. loratadine).

 

Depending on their effects on the central nervous system (CNS), antihistamines are divided into “classic” or first- generation antihistamines and newer, second-generation antihistamines. Although the second-generation anti- histamines were designed to overcome the sedative e ects associated with the first-generation agents, several of the second-generation agents are not free from sedative effects at higher doses. It is important to emphasise that sedation is not just sleepiness, but also refers to cognitive impairment that may be detrimental to daytime activities, including school and work performance, driving ability and other tasks that require a high degree of concentration and alertness.

 

Other histamine-receptor antagonists, such as cimetidine or ranitidine, work primarily on H2 receptors, causing inhibition of gastric acid secretion, while still other experimental antihistamines act on presynaptic H3 receptors. e term “antihistamine” is normally reserved for histamine-1 receptor antagonists.

....

Some antihistamines, especially the ethanolamines such as diphenhydramine and doxylamine, are used for their sedative effects as night-time sleep aids in individuals who experience occasional sleeplessness or who have diffculty falling asleep.

....

Side effects

 

Central nervous system

H1 receptors are widely distributed throughout the CNS and the first-generation H1 antagonists may cause several effects on the CNS such as sedation, problems with coordination, dizziness, lack of concentration and, paradoxically, agitation and excitability, particularly in children and in the elderly.

 

An important determinant of the potential for CNS adverse effects is the capacity of the compound to cross the blood- brain barrier (BBB). Crossing the BBB depends on the chemical properties of the compound such as lipophilicity and molecular weight. First-generation antihistamines are highly lipid soluble and have a low molecular weight and a high a nity for cerebral H1 receptors, which means that CNS side-e ects such as sedation occur frequently, even at therapeutic doses. Second-generation antihistamines, in contrast, have greater molecular weight, low lipid solubility and low a nity for cerebral H1 receptors. therefore, most second-generation antihistamines at therapeutic doses are devoid of significant side-effects on the CNS.

....


 

 

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Altostrata

J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2002 Oct;22(5):511-5.

Tolerance to daytime sedative effects of H1 antihistamines.

Richardson GS1, Roehrs TA, Rosenthal L, Koshorek G, Roth T.

 

Abstract at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12352276

 

Sedation is the principal side effect of first generation H1 antihistamines, and recent studies have suggested that this side effect should limit the clinical application of these drugs. The sedative effect also underlies the use of these first-generation drugs as nonprescriptive remedies for insomnia. In both cases, the potential for tolerance to the sedative effect of these drugs is an important issue for which there are few objective data. In the study reported here, 15 healthy men age 18 to 50 years received either diphenhydramine 50 mg or placebo twice a day for 4 days in a randomized, double-blind, crossover trial design. Dependent measures included objective and subjective assessments of sleepiness and computer-based tests of psychomotor performance. Both objective and subjective measures of sleepiness showed significantly higher levels on day 1 for diphenhydramine compared to placebo. By day 4, however, levels of sleepiness on diphenhydramine were indistinguishable from placebo. Similarly, diphenhydramine produced significant impairment of performance that was completely reversed by day 4. These data provide the first objective confirmation that tolerance develops to the sedative effect of a prototypical first-generation H1 antihistamine, diphenhydramine. On this dosing regimen, tolerance was complete by the end of 3 days of administration. While other antihistamines and dosing regimens may differ, these results suggest that tolerance to the sedation produced by these drugs develops with remarkable rapidity.

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Altostrata

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/sleep-aids/faq-20058393
 

Quote

 

Is it OK to use over-the-counter antihistamines to treat insomnia? I'd like to avoid prescription sleep aids.

Answer From Eric J. Olson, M.D.

Antihistamines can cause drowsiness, which might help you fall asleep for a few nights — but routine use of antihistamines for insomnia isn't recommended.

 

Antihistamines, mainly used to treat symptoms of hay fever or other allergies, induce drowsiness by working against histamine, a chemical produced by the central nervous system. In fact, most over-the-counter sleep aids contain antihistamines. These sleep aids are intended to be used for only two to three nights at a time, however, such as when stress, travel or other disruptions keep you awake.

 

Tolerance to the sedative effects of antihistamines can develop quickly. As a result, the longer you take them, the less likely they are to make you sleepy. Side effects might include daytime drowsiness, dry mouth and dizziness.

 

Also, diphenhydramine and doxylamine — sedating antihistamines found in various over-the-counter sleep aids — aren't recommended for people who have closed-angle glaucoma, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or severe liver disease.

 

 

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Peachy
On 10/10/2012 at 7:47 AM, GiaK said:

also I would consider micro-doses of lamictal before I took ambien or even over-the-counter stuff...

 

like 1 to 3 mg of Lamictal...remember a normal dose is 200 to 400 mg...

 

it's astonishing but these micro doses can be very effective.

Do you still promote the use of microdose lamictal? I know how hard of time you had with it... 

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GiaK

 

On 5/8/2019 at 12:01 AM, Peachy said:

Do you still promote the use of microdose lamictal? I know how hard of time you had with it... 

 

 

I don't promote anything. I said that I would "consider micro-doses of lamictal" before I took the other stuff...that's not promoting it. I promote people doing what is right for them at any given time and that is a forever changing kaleidoscopic thing that varies hugely due to peoples radically different lived contexts. What is right for me at this moment may never be right for you and in fact may never be right for me again after this moment...

 

the only thing I promote at this point is that we learn to listen to our bodies and follow heed. That is a long process and it takes time. 

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Peachy

@GiaK

sorry, maybe the wording was a bit off. I just meant do you think, and/or do you know of people who micro-dose lamictal was actually a tool in healing, rather than just adding another drug to taper from or cause more harm.

My alerting system/nervous system has been a wreck since before I started my taper, possibly a tolerance to long term Lexapro, possibly caused by adding in a ton of supplements.  I have tapered down to 4.5 in 3 years, but it’s only getting worse. Can’t go up or down at this point. Not stabilizing. My periods are horrendous. My doctor thinks that I should stop tapering for the time being and try .5mg of lamictal to try and calm things down. 

I know that lamictal was very bad for you, and I since I trust your opinion, I would love your opinion?

Not looking to only covering up symptoms, to later have to taper off something else that is equally as damaging? 

 

Thank you! 

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GiaK

actually  @Altostrata is much better situated to answer that question. I only used it very briefly (and it was helpful for a short time...which was often all I could hope for in those days...had to switch it up all the time...I'm still like that actually but now I flow with it because I've learned to listen to my body so well)  In any case I didn't have much experience with others using lamictal either.  It certainly can be helpful for some folks but I really don't know enough about that to give a reliable answer here. 

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lalala
6 hours ago, GiaK said:

actually  @Altostrata is much better situated to answer that question. I only used it very briefly (and it was helpful for a short time...which was often all I could hope for in those days...had to switch it up all the time...I'm still like that actually but now I flow with it because I've learned to listen to my body so well)  In any case I didn't have much experience with others using lamictal either.  It certainly can be helpful for some folks but I really don't know enough about that to give a reliable answer here. 

Hi GiaK I saw you used lactium for sleep I read it affects gaba receptors is that true ? I tried it and I find it also constipating  But did feel the sedation  not very strong .

what are your thoughts?

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Peachy

@GiaK thanks for answering that honestly. I have spoken some to @Altostrata about it, but I just like to get others input. I know we all react differently. I’m just scared to put another psych drug into my body. 

When you say had to “switch it up all the time”, are you referring to the lamictal, Or in general? Can I ask how it helped you when it did? And also how was the tapering off of it process for you? Were the gains worth that? Just worried about having to eventually come off that too. Was coming off the microdose anywhere near the hell of coming off the their drugs?

thank you! 

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Altostrata
15 hours ago, Peachy said:

My doctor thinks that I should stop tapering for the time being and try .5mg of lamictal to try and calm things down. 

 

This sounds reasonable to me. Please confer with your doctor.

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GiaK
19 hours ago, Peachy said:

 

When you say had to “switch it up all the time”, are you referring to the lamictal, Or in general? Can I ask how it helped you when it did? And also how was the tapering off of it process for you? Were the gains worth that? Just worried about having to eventually come off that too. Was coming off the microdose anywhere near the hell of coming off the their drugs?

thank you! 

 

 

switch it up at this point means I eat, drink, go out, and take herbals or whatever in the moment as my body wants/needs (it's the same thing when in alignment, since we've been really dysregulated this amount of flexibility is very helpful.). I don't do anything in a regimented way. Ever at this point. It means I can't make commitments and plans ahead of time but my life is going quite smoothly. I need to rest a lot so when I do it's full on REST...then when I get up I do a lot of physical stuff...I'm getting really strong and healthy AND I still end up in bed a lot resting deeply in between that which I do in the house and community. This is my surrender process. It works for me. 
 

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GiaK
23 hours ago, lalala said:

Hi GiaK I saw you used lactium for sleep I read it affects gaba receptors is that true ? I tried it and I find it also constipating  But did feel the sedation  not very strong .

what are your thoughts?

 

I used lactium for years. I don't anymore. It's by no means heavily sedating but I never reacted to it and that's probably one of the only things I never reacted to while I was using it (seriously)... I used much larger doses at certain times. Taking two at a time every couple of hours at the peak of my use. Anyway...it's a thing of the past now and I actually do react to the fillers in those sorts of supplements now so I wouldn't resume at this point. I stopped using it before I developed that sensitivity. I don't use most supplements anymore. Just herbs and food with a couple of infrequent exceptions. 

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DMV64
On 5/12/2019 at 1:05 AM, GiaK said:

promote at this point is that we learn to listen to our bodies and follow heed. That is a long process and it takes time. 

Yes! yes! I see in your signature you withdrew from a 6 drug cocktail! this gives me hope. I am in the same place and it sometimes feel like I will never get there. I have to do it just one day at a time or I get overwhelmed. I love what you said about keeping your schedule loose. I am not able to totally do that but I do have some flexibility and it really helps.

-D

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lalala
On 5/13/2019 at 4:04 PM, GiaK said:

 

I used lactium for years. I don't anymore. It's by no means heavily sedating but I never reacted to it and that's probably one of the only things I never reacted to while I was using it (seriously)... I used much larger doses at certain times. Taking two at a time every couple of hours at the peak of my use. Anyway...it's a thing of the past now and I actually do react to the fillers in those sorts of supplements now so I wouldn't resume at this point. I stopped using it before I developed that sensitivity. I don't use most supplements anymore. Just herbs and food with a couple of infrequent exceptions. 

Hi GiaK,  I appreciate your response, I thinking you didn't take benzo wnen taking  it? I'm sorry you  can't take them anymore as it  helped in the past ... 

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GiaK
On 5/15/2019 at 5:45 AM, lalala said:

Hi GiaK,  I appreciate your response, I thinking you didn't take benzo wnen taking  it? I'm sorry you  can't take them anymore as it  helped in the past ... 

 

Right, I was already off the benzos...I don't think they would do a damn thing while on benzos, you're right. I would try long slow (or inert) yoga stretches maybe. Look for restorative and/or (gentle) yin yoga videos on youtube....and this article talks about yoga for those of us with delicate nervous systems. 

Yoga tips for those with challenged nervous systems  https://beyondmeds.com/2015/01/15/yoga-tips/

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lalala
21 minutes ago, GiaK said:

 

Right, I was already off the benzos...I don't think they would do a damn thing while on benzos, you're right. I would try long slow (or inert) yoga stretches maybe. Look for restorative and/or (gentle) yin yoga videos on youtube....and this article talks about yoga for those of us with delicate nervous systems. 

Yoga tips for those with challenged nervous systems  https://beyondmeds.com/2015/01/15/yoga-tips/

Thanxs GiaK,  I will look into it!  I have been so tired from little sleep .... I wish I could exercise more as its like  a vicious cycle  I don't sleep enough I do less activity , Is it ok to do moderate  exercise  despite  tiredness ? to say the least

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GiaK
20 hours ago, lalala said:

Thanxs GiaK,  I will look into it!  I have been so tired from little sleep .... I wish I could exercise more as its like  a vicious cycle  I don't sleep enough I do less activity , Is it ok to do moderate  exercise  despite  tiredness ? to say the least

 

 

is it okay to exercise? I don't know. That's your job...you need to learn to hear what your body can and cannot handle. I recommended long slow stretches because that was all I could handle for a long time. Often no more than about 2 minutes at a time. Seriously. Thing is the lymph NEEDS movement in order to move and we need a healthy lymph to move out all the endogenous crap our body produces in stress...as well as whatever is held in our cells from a life-time of not knowing how to listen to our bodies. It's a process...

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lalala
18 minutes ago, GiaK said:

 

 

is it okay to exercise? I don't know. That's your job...you need to learn to hear what your body can and cannot handle. I recommended long slow stretches because that was all I could handle for a long time. Often no more than about 2 minutes at a time. Seriously. Thing is the lymph NEEDS movement in order to move and we need a healthy lymph to move out all the endogenous crap our body produces in stress...as well as whatever is held in our cells from a life-time of not knowing how to listen to our bodies. It's a process...

Yes I  guess it makes sense, this is why  I  try to always  exercise,  I would  like to ask you  other questions but I don't see an option  for  private messaging.. They are short 

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GiaK

Sorry I need to make limits and boundaries right now I've got a lot on my plate. I learned the hard way that I really need to take care of myself I didn't for many years when I took care of everybody else. I always trust that everybody has what they need within them and that's all I ever helped direct people to do in any case look within and trust yourself. It's a practice.

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