Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by renae1979, Nov 16, 2005.

  1. renae1979

    renae1979 New Member

    This is a good article about the different types of sleep meds and how they differ, etc. It is from WebMD.

    A Good Night's Sleep, Without the Hangover

    The older classes of sleep medications, particularly the benzodiazepines -- think Valium and Xanax -- do more than just help you sleep. They affect how you sleep, altering your actual "sleep architecture," says Donna Arand, PhD, clinical director of the Kettering Sleep Disorders Center in Kettering, Ohio.

    "They tend to decrease the amount of time spent in certain stages of sleep, particularly stages three and four (the deepest, most restful stages of sleep)," says Arand, who serves on the boards of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the American Insomnia Association. "People also complained of hangover effects from these medications." That's because they tend to have a longer "half-life," which is the length of time the drug stays in your body.

    Non-benzodiazepine hypnotics like Ambien, Sonata, and Lunesta, however, share several advantages over previous generations of sleep drugs:

    They have a relatively short half-life, so you won't wake up groggy the next day. "There are minimal reports of 'hangover' effects with these new drugs," says Arand.
    They have little, if any, effect on sleep staging, allowing you the REM sleep you need. "You spend pretty close to the same amount of time in each stage of sleep as you would without the drugs," she says.
    They are less likely than other sleeping pills to cause addiction, withdrawal symptoms, or a buildup of tolerance (when you require more and more drug to have the same effect).

    Why? The newer medications act only on specific receptors in your brain that are focused on sleep, while older groups of drugs have a more generalized effect on multiple brain receptors. "These new drugs are among the safest medications in medicine," says Thomas Roth, MD, Director of the Sleep Disorders and Research Center at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit.

    But they are not right for everyone. "If you have insomnia due to sleep-related breathing disorders [sleep apnea] or restless legs syndrome, for example, these drugs won't address your underlying problem," says Roth. Pregnant women, of course, shouldn't take these medications. And if you're "on call," frequently getting up in the middle of the night for work or for a child, they might not work for you.

    Here, briefly, are the pros and cons of the new sleep medicines, as well as of the older medicines commonly used to treat insomnia:

    Sonata: Of all the new sleeping pills, Sonata has shortest half-life, which is the amount of time it takes for the drug to be eliminated from your body. Its half-life is just one hour. That means you can try to fall asleep on your own. Then, if you're still staring at the clock at 2 a.m., you can take it without feeling drowsy in the morning.

    Ambien: The most commonly prescribed sleeping pill, Ambien has a medium half-life. It's less than two-and-a-half hours. This means that Ambien is great for helping you get to sleep but, like Sonata, could be less helpful if you tend to wake up a lot in the middle of the night.

    Lunesta: Of all the new sleeping pills approved so far, Lunesta has the longest half-life -- about six hours. This means you may feel groggy in the morning if you take it in the middle of the night, or at a time when you can't get a full night's sleep. On the other hand, this pill could help you if you tend to wake up in the middle of the night a lot. Lunesta is the first sleeping pill approved by the FDA for long-term use to treat chronic insomnia. But it won't be alone for long: another sleep aid designed for long-term use, indiplon, is expected to launch later this year.

    Benzodiazepines: These older sleeping pills (Valium, Halcion, and others) are useful when you want a drug that stays in your system longer. For instance, they have been effectively used to treat sleep problems such as sleepwalking and night terrors, says Arand. "The biggest problem with these is daytime sleepiness, although you also have to monitor them more closely for dependence as well," she says. (Dependence means that you always need the drug to go to sleep.)

    Antidepressants: Insomnia is a common symptom of depression. Thus, some antidepressant drugs, such as Serzone, are particularly effective in treating sleeplessness and anxiety that's caused by depression. "In those cases, the antidepressant helps treat the sleep problem but is really treating the underlying cause," says Arand.

    Over-the-Counter Sleep Aids: Most of these sleeping pills, such as Sleep-Eze, are antihistamines. This means they're somewhat sedating and can cause some drowsiness the next day. They're safe enough to be sold without a prescription, but if you're taking other drugs that have similar effects -- like cold or allergy medications -- you could inadvertently take too much.

    [This Message was Edited on 11/16/2005]
  2. fivesue

    fivesue New Member

    That was a good article because it explained the strengths and weaknesses of each one. Very informative.

    I have actually taken all of the above, but I find that if I take a Benedryl with a half an Ambien, I sleep well. This has been going on for a couple weeks or more, now. Sometimes I alter because I don't want to make any ineffective...that happens to me a lot.

    Thanks again....

  3. renae1979

    renae1979 New Member

    I'm very sensitive to sleep meds. Even half an Ambian leaves me kind of groggy when I first wake up. I seem to do okay with 1 Tylenol PM, but I can't take it two nights in a row. So I might ask my doc about Sonata since it has such a short half-life.
  4. renae1979

    renae1979 New Member

  5. fivesue

    fivesue New Member

    I have the opposite problem with meds that you have...need a lot and they become ineffective soon.

    So, I switch around a lot. Last night I only took Benedryl (with my other nighttime meds) and slept fine until I had to use the bathroom, the cat decided I should be up, and my husband was snoring like a sailor. I finally just got up and made everyone happy...well, only my cat, really. Jim was sound asleep and I wasn't very happy about being up at 4:30...

    Guess that's how it goes sometimes. I hope you get your sleeping regulated.

  6. pirtpain

    pirtpain New Member

    Thanks so much for the input!! I am weeding off of Elavil, due to excessive weight gain & craving of sweets. My dr. put me on a new drug. I forgot the name, but I still wake up at night. Maybe I might try switching meds around if the new drug doesn't help. THANKS!


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