is ambien addictive?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by lynnkat, Aug 14, 2003.

  1. lynnkat

    lynnkat New Member

    Stopped going to my pain doc that I had been seeing since November for various reasons and have gone back to my Gp. My pain doc was giving me 10 mg ambien to help me get some decent sleep.

    My gp is taking me off the ambien saying that it is addictive and that the state of Kansas doesn't like people to take it for more than 30 days. Needless to say that I am not sleeping as well without it. The gp has me taking lexapro and elavil now and has upped the doses of these two drugs.

    She tells me that ambien is a "controlled" substance--a narcotic and she won't give me anymore after this month after cutting the dosage back to 5 mg to help me "wean" off of it.

    I'm really confused now since my pain doc said that it wasn't addictive. My gp makes me feel like a "junkie" after asking for the drug. What gives that two docs can have such different mentalities about this medicine??

    Anyone else ever have this problem???

    Take care---lynnkat
  2. marta

    marta New Member

    My experience with long-term Ambien use was not good. At first it was wonderful. I got to sleep and stayed there for most of the night. After taking it for several months I began to feel (more) anxious during the day and it wan't helping me sleep through the night. I had to wean myself off of it slowly using Xanax (in my case) to help me do it.

    Ambien is definitely not a drug you want to be on long-term. Your GP is right, from my experience. As for different opinions from different doctors, this has always been my experience. Very frustrating.

  3. ekobus

    ekobus New Member

    I did not do well with ambien. Everytime I used it I would wake up with migraines. Restiril (temazepam) works best for me. Maybe you can ask for Sonata which is supposed to be non-addictive. I looked at pharmacy websites and it didn't say anything about being addictive. My psychiatrist gave it to me and said it wasn't really addictive. It is kind of expensive, but you can probably ask for some samples. It gave me headaches as well, but that doesn't mean it would for you. Just a suggestion.

    Good Luck!
    [This Message was Edited on 08/14/2003]
  4. RoseSky

    RoseSky New Member

    I, too, have been told that Ambien is addictive. It didn't really work that well for me though so it didn't matter too much. I tried lexapro for about 2 weeks and it made me really anxious so I got rid of it. Right now I am using Trazadone (really old tricyclic antidepressant) and an OTC sleep aid from Tylenol (but without any actual Tylenol in it). Separate neither work all that great, but small doses of both of them together work pretty well for me. It probably wouldn't be a recommended practice by most dr though.
  5. Aeryn

    Aeryn New Member

    I was told that Ambien is psychologically habituating NOT addictive. You think you need it after you no longer do (in a normal person) and have a hard time going off it.

    You should be able to get it as long as you need it, your GP needs to be educated. Get the information on it and then get it back to her. Web searches should help. Ask your pharmacist. He and my pdoc explained it to me this way.

    Good luck!
  6. simka

    simka New Member

    The only sleeping help my doctor has prescribed so far is Ambien. It's worked pretty well for me, and I like that it does not have carry-over effects into the morning, I think it clears from the system relatively quickly, and I like this.

    I noted that it is called a hypnotic in the materials I got with the prescription but I don't think that is the same as a narcotic or controlled substance though I don't have expertise, perhaps a med guru on the board can advise on the distinctions? I read that it is usually prescribed short term but I think for persistent problems like many of ours it is used longer term. There may be a "weaning off" period but this is short term, and I don't expect to wean off for a while unless I'm lucky :).

    It may be some sleeping aids can only be prescribed for so long at a time, I get Ambien filled for 30 days vs. most I get for 90 days. I thought this might be common for sleep meds generally, what do others find?
  7. libra55

    libra55 New Member

    My doctor would only prescribe 2 weeks of it. Because he said it can be addicting, depending on your personality type. I didn't like it any way. At first I slept really well but then I started to get nightmares. I do better on Flexeril, which probably has it's own set of side effects, but it's better than the Ambien.

  8. lynnkat

    lynnkat New Member

    Really appreciate all the responses from everyone! I will ask my doc about the other meds that have been suggested and maybe we will find something that works for me and is acceptable to my doc. Ain't this damn disease a barrel of monkeys? Seems like when you get one thing half way under control something else goes wrong.

    People always say that God doesn't give a person more than they can handle but at times I think he has given me a double helping!!! 'Scuse me for having a little pity party.

    Wishing you all peaceful dreams---lynnkat
  9. toots2

    toots2 New Member

    In my opinion, it is a very addictive medication which should only be taken for a very short while. Have you tried trazadone? Works for so many of us and is very safe to take. Ambien is in the hypnotic class of drugs and something I don't want to mess with. I can see why your dr. has taken you off of it. Toots
  10. Solstice

    Solstice New Member

    Hi. According to the recommendations, we are supposed to take Ambien for 7 DAYS.......for shor term jet lag and the such. I took it for 7 YEARS. Could not sleep with out it. I cursed the day I started taking it. It is a hypnotic. I finally had to go to a sleep clinic, and ended up seeing a psychologist who works there and she helped me to get off of it. I took elavil and upped the dose for awhile while I stopped the ambien. The addiction is very real, not just in your head, as someone suggested. I wouldn't touch the stuff anymore. The other thing that helped me get a regular sleep regular as it is now..which isn't using light therapy in the mornings. Then the brain is more able to go to sleep at night.
    Good luck.
  11. TNhayley

    TNhayley New Member

    It's not addictive and fine for us to take long term. He talked about some study done where they (not sure who did study) *tried* to get people addicted to it and couldn't. I loved Ambien, slept better than I ever had - and it increased the quality of my days as a result. But, I did find that it lost it's effectiveness after about a year. My old Doc says you need to take a break from it for a couple days when that happens - cold turkey.

    I switched to Klonopin when my insurance coverage of it went way up. I had NO problems quitting it at all. More than anything, I was just scared I wouldn't sleep. So, I'd say dependency is a better term to use in correspondence with Ambien. My GP (who is pretty conservative) put it this way when I expressed concerns about addiction: Fibromyalgics can't sleep and take meds for sleep ... possibly for life. Would you take insulin away from a diabetic? Is a diabetic addicted to insulin? No, but they are dependant on the med to function normally.

    "Ambien is a Schedule IV controlled substance available in 5- and 10-mg tablets. A Schedule IV drug has a low potential for abuse relative to the drugs or other substances in Schedule III. A Schedule IV drug has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Also, a Schedule IV drug may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to the drugs or other substances in Schedule III."

    If you go to RXlist you will see that Ambien is a "hypnotic" not a "narcotic". Just had to add my *pro-Ambien* views to the pot. :) Hugs,
  12. JannyW

    JannyW New Member

    I've been on Ambien for just over a year, and find that I don't really sleep well without it. I too was concerned about it being habit-forming (of course, the manufacturer's literature denies that it is). Problem is, I'm not able to sleep well on anything else.

    Jan ^v^
  13. bluebirder

    bluebirder New Member

    My Dr ordered it "for severe isomnia nights only" and that is the way I take it. I take the Ultracet the same way "only as a last resort during the day" , but occasionaly at night with my Paxil & Elavil. Paxil & Elavil is taken only at night.

    Some days are still hard but I try to adjust my day into different possitions.

    Been denied for both SSI and SSDI.....don't live with Hubby anymore (safe house situation) and am in process of divorce.

    Just know I barely get going in the mornings and some days not at all for a few hours then as soon as I get going the chronic fatigue sets in again. Afraid to take more because of fear when driving.

    In fact better catch a rest now so I can drive this evening for a meeting.
  14. Plantscaper

    Plantscaper New Member

    as I experienced withdrawals on it, when I tried to stop it..I would not depend on it for daily use..just for emergencies, as it is highly effective..So I am not against its use, entirely..

    Then, my present physician
    indicated to me that one should not use it on a regular basis..Also, I have found that my other meds don't work at all if Ambien has been taken too much...

    Just my 2 cents worth,