Changing zopiclone for something different

Posted , 6 users are following.

I am fed up with zopiclone. They put you to sleep for around five hours and then you promptly wake up. I can't get back to sleep again.  Why do they have such a short life.

i am thinking of asking my go if I can try something else, but worried he will stop them altogether.

does any one have this problem.

also amytrypilene have been suggested, but do I ask outright for them.  Or maybe suggest the Ashton plan.

just worried I will be cut of and then regret it.

i have been on zops for many years now but they are not what they used to be.

maybe it a case of the devil you know and all that.

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28 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi thought it was only me that had this problem but I'm exactly the same as u except I'm on zolpidem which r basically the same as zopiclone I also am knocked out for 5 hours them awake suddenly around 4am and cannot get back to sleep at all, also I've tried amitryptilyne and it did nothing for my sleep these and zopiclone r the only thing s that got me any sleep at all.
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  • Posted

    Hi Vivien - it's your tolerance to zopiclone which is causing this, I feel - especially after so many years.

    The Ashton Plan is exactly what you need. If your GP (horror) suggests taking you off z immediately, don't go along with that. The withdrawal symptoms are awful, simply because it has such a short half-life.

    Changing to diazepam is the the best thing to do (see Ashton) as it has much more preewcribing latitude and also a much longer half-life. I suggested this once to my GP (ages ago) anad she was horrified and said I was just swapping one addictive pill for another.

    GPs need to learn how to taper people off slowly and safely, but that's a different matter at the moment.

    You may have read some of my other posts, but if you haven't, I'll tell you that I only got the right help from the local refer-yourself drug addiction clinic. They were quite used to sorting this kind of thing out and I was immediately changed to valium (diazepam) and started on a method which this particuilar clinic uses, which is baasically the Ashton Method, with counselling added in, and also allowing me to say if I was ready for the next dose downwards.

    In four monhs I've come down from 30 mg diazepam daily to 26 mg daily. It is working for me, I find I CAN sleep, and now that tht fear has been removed I am happy to continue. I did have a sudden and bonkers relapse about three weeks ago but I've put it behind me. These things happen.

    Amitryptilene is an anti-depressant, and a very old-fashioned one to boot. It does help some people who don't respond well to SSRIs (prozac & co) and it also has use in chronic pain control, but when I was on it I took too much an had hallucinations.

    I would respectfully suggest that you avoid it, unless you actually ARE depressed and haven't got on well with the SSRIs. And also if you can trust yourself not to take more than is prescribed  -  it is actually pretty dangerous stuff to take too much of.

    I really hope that you'll get the help you need and I'm always here if you want to ask me anything, if you think I might be able to help. Sent with love from Tess

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  • Posted

    Hi Vivien I have the same prescription you have and I to fall asleep then wake up 5 hours later and cannot go back to sleep. Wish I could sleep another 2 hours but to no avail. I have been taking zopiclone and amitriptalyne for 20 years and tried stopping cold turkey for 6 months but I can honestly say it was a nightmare. Talked to my GP about it and she's reluctant to give me something else. I don't know what to do anymore I feel like a slave to these damn pills so I know what you are going through. Wish there was a magic solution for sleeping, something that is not harmful to my health. 
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    • Posted

      Hi, thanks all for your replies.

      will definitely think about the drug addiction clinic. Feel a bit foolish going there at my age though.

      do they inform your gp that you are having treatment, I wonder.

      have an appointment to see gp soon, but don't know what to do for the best.  Agree with all you say, Carmel.  Feel like a slave myself.

      dont want to rock the boat and end up with something useless.

      as tess said, they are reluctant to swap one potentially addictive drug for another one.

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    • Posted

      Age has nothing to do with it. I'm almost sixty and they were fine - they just wanted to help me.

      Yes, they do contact your GP, inorder to assist him or her in learning how to taper people off safely, and also to inform them that they are going to be prescribing for you until you're down to a small dose - this will take many months. They only prescribe the diazepaam, though. Your GP continues to be responsible for any other of your usual meds. My GP was delighted that an expert would be dealing with a problem that he knew he was out of his depth in. The doctor at the addiction clinic willanswer all your questions and those of your GP, too, so it's a good thing to get the GP involved. They need to learn, too. And what they learn is uneqivocal - put the patient on to valium in order to taper off slowly and safely. It is not a question of swapping one addiction for another. Good luck and keep in touch, please. I really hope you'll takw that first step. They don't mind you bringing a friend in the first time, either, and all the staff treat you with respect. Love Tess.

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    • Posted

      Hu, Michelle,

      Yes, I live in London. Are you in the UK? Please don't that you age is a barrier to getting treatment. I've actually seen a lot of younger people there and they're very friendly and supportive. Some of them are nearly my age but nobody has said What Is An Old Lady Doing Here? If you see what I mean. The doctor I see is brilliant and so are all the rest of the staff. They really, really just want you to be helped. It's been an eye-opener for me and I'm tapering off on valium easily. The doctor there said, well the first thing to do is to stop the zopiclone and replace it with valium (diazepam) and he didn't thunk it was at all odd that someone of nearly sixty came for help. He was glad.

      And so am I. Keep in touch. x

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    • Posted

      That was incredibly brave of you. Brilliant news. Please keep in touch. We all need to support one another. Can't wait for the next instalment. Write any time. I look at this website daily and I'll always answer. I'm so glad you made that appointment, and so will you be once you find the amount of expert help they will give you. X
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    • Posted

      Hi tess was just considering goin to my local drug addiction clinic to try and get of these damn zolpidem for gud I only take 1 sometimes 2 a nite and have been for the last 18 months wud they class that as been addicted or not and how much diazepam do they start u on I really don't think I will be able to sleep without the zolpidem but really want off these drugs now any advice plzzzz
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  • Posted

    Guess what? (You probably know this anyway) Zopiclone and the other 'Z' drugs were manufactured and promoted as non-addictive ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha didd any of the idiots who invented them try them for a few months then suddenly stop them, I wonder?

    Nope, I really don't think they did........but GPs were thrilled! Yay! A non-addictive sleeping pill at last!  And so started the same old palaver that valium and all the other benzos inflicted on millions of unsuspecting people way back in the 1960s.


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    • Posted

      To be fair tess, they didn't realise at the time, so can't blame gp's entirely.

      but they do need to be educated on withdrawing patients of them safely.

      Do you find you can get of to sleep ok on diazepam.

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    • Posted

      Hi tess.

      do all drug and alcohol rehab centres use the Ashton method, do you think.  Only not sure about the one I am going to next week.

      will soon find out, I guess.

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    • Posted

      Hi Vivien - to take your first point - YES I can sleep on diazepam. I truly didn't think I'd be able to but I was wrong.

      Second point abdout the Ashton Method - I don't know how all the individiual clinics wean people off drugs, but the method used in my clinic is very similar to the Ashton Method. The slight difference is that my doctor at the clinic doesn't push me to take less every time I go (which is once a fortnight) He makes his suggestion, I think about it and together we come up with a plan which suits me. I am tapering off very slowly, because I was taking so much zopiclone, plus zolpidem and diazepam when I first turned to the clinic for help, that the doctor said to start on 30 mg diazepam every night, and we'd decide about when to go down to 28mg per night when I felt ready. He has also been in close conta t with my GP, which is very useful, because if I go to my GP for some other reason they ask how the tapering off is going, and are very encouraging.  Did I tell you I stopped smoking two weeks ago? I'm really proud of that, especially as I have bad asthma and obviously smoking was making it much worse.

      I feel now that all the doctors involved in my care now respect me. Prior to that, there was a clear attitude of "You got ourslef into this mess - get yourself out of it"

      The reality is a little different. I was first prescribed diazepam at the age of ten because I developed School Phobia. That soon went away, luckily, but can you imagine a ten year old child being prescribed diazepam????

      Then, when I was sixteen, my daad died suddenly. At the hospital, my mum and I were both given 5 mg diazepam as a matter of course, and also that evening a friend of the family, who was a GP, popped round with a massive bottle of nitrazepam (mogadon) and told us all to help ourselves!!!

      Finally, when I was a student nurse, on my first stint of night duty, another nurse recommended taking diazepam out of the drug trolley to help me to sleep during the day. (Drugs were not counted at each shift change as they are nowadays.)

      I had a brief first marriage, to an extremely violent man. I headed for the drug cupboard at work to blot this out, of course. Many years later, the internet arrived and then  there was no stopping me.

      Just after last Christmas I sought help AT LAST. It was the best thing I could ever have done. I feel more clear-headed and have a sense of pride in myself. I would never have believed that  this was possible.

      You must write and let me know how you got on at your clinic/ Please stay in touch. Lots of love, Tess.

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    • Posted

      Hi tess. Thanks for sharing that and well done.

      i have been taking every type of sleeping tablet since the sixties. In 1972 I was even prescribed barbiturates to sleep.  Ended up taking an overdose of them and nearly died. 

      Nowadays, I have only been taking 7.5mg a night of zops.

      the thing is, I can't remember a single day that I haven't taken a sleeping tablet since then.  So the idea of changing is scary,

      I am fed up with it though.  As you know, they don't keep you asleep so you end up sleep deprived. 

      Will let you know how I get on, but really hope they use the Ashton plan.

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    • Posted

      They are experts, so they know that decreasing the dose slowly is very important.

      If they don't use the Ashton Plan exactly, it will be something very, very similar to it. My doctor at the clinic thinks the Ashton Plan tries to decrease your dose too quickly. The slower, the better, is his mantra.

      Please keep in touch. I'm so interested in finding out how the clinic you're going to will help.

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