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hi my gp as cut my zopiclone down by half ..does anyone know of anything else i could take to sleep..worried

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  • Posted

    what does a controlled drug mean
  • Posted

    yes Horlicks....I know this sounds odd , but thats what I used ..I came of 22.5 Zimovane using this method it helps ...needs to be made with milk two table spoons of Horlicks and one of sugar ... best of luck 
    • Posted

      quovadis. what are zimovane are they a controlled drug like zopiclone
    • Posted

      Zimovane is the same as Zopiclone. The controlled aspect part is that the doctor has to write the prescription by hand and not allow it on a ongoing repeat ...this insures that you and the doctor are fully aware of what is being taken, when, dosage, and for an agreed time ie a month......this is where the controlled aspect comes from ... IF YOU CAN...keep away from these .... they nearly destroyed me !!!!!
  • Posted

    i think Night Nurse is an over the counter cold/flu medicine--i never heard of it in the US, looked up the ingredients--it has the pain/fever medication that's in Tylenol (acetaminophen, or paracetamol), it has an antihistamine which is the same as Phenargan and i think that's the main sedative in Night Nurse--i've know a few people on the zopiclone forums here who have said that Phenargan helped them get off of zopiclone, helping them sleep. And the third ingredient is dextromethorphan, which is a cough suppressant, again, over the counter. The ingredients aren't narcotics or controlled drugs.  

    Personally, if i were going to use something like this, and i do expect to try it--i would just use phenargan, the sedative.  That's because while these are not addictive medications, they can be harmful for some people, especially if larger than the recommended dose is taken.  The pain ingredient, paracetamol, can be very toxic to the liver if larger doses are taken. It can make a person sick and need hospital. If enough is taken, permanent liver damage can happen. i knew someone this happened to.  She had migraines, she was a teenager, and she was taking more and more Tylenol, her mother was giving it to her, i knew her mother, i actually didn't know the kid, and the mother said that the girl began getting really sick, vomiting, and was taken to the energency hospital, and they were told she had taken too much Tylenon and poisoned her liver. So if you don't have pain or a fever, why take it?  that's my thinking (it's also an anti-pyretic and lowers fever).

     Dextromethophan, the over the counter cough suppressant, can be used to get high on in larger doses. It doesn't do this in recommended doses, but again, if i don't have a cough, i don't want to take it.  The only ingredient of the three that is good for sleep for some people is promethazine, or Phenargan is a brand name.  After what some people have reported on these forums, i do want to try that one.   You can google these ingredients and read the wikipedia articles that explain the adverse effects.

    The prescription sleeping medication i take instead of zopiclone is zolpidem (brand Ambien, Stillnox). it works well for getting me to sleep.  But it's addictive in the same way that zopiclone is, they are in the same drug family. Personally, having taken  both, i prefer zolpidem.  It's shorter acting and it gets me to sleep but it doesn't keep me asleep--there is a longer acting version of it, extended release, but the reason i started taking zopiclone was after taking zolpidem for about 19 years, it finally wasn't keeping me asleep very long, i had some zopiclone in my drawer that i had tried years before and didn't get much of an effect from but i decided to try it again and i found that it kept me asleep longer than zolpidem did, for a while. It's longer acting than zolpidem. They are both relatively short acting medications, compared to most benzodiazapines. They are not benzodiazapines but they are similar. They are just a little milder and they are targeted for sleep, while benzos also have other effects such as anti-anxiety and anti-seizure as well as sleep.  

    One thing i didn't like about zopiclone compared to zolpidem was that the next day i would feel groggy and hung over to a point where it was too hard to do my job, so at first i only took it on weekends, but eventually it got a little less strong for me and i was taking it all week. I switched it for my zolpidem extended release, but after a couple of months, it wasn't working as well (i've been taking these kinds of meds for so long, i guess i'm just very tolerant to it) so i added the bedtime zolpidem ER back in, though only half what i was taking before. So i was taking both zopiclone 7.5 and zolpidem 7mg at bed time, and then when it would wear off and i'd wake up around 4am. i'd take 10mg zolpidem to get a little more sleep. Because it's short acting, i could take it at 4 or 5 or 6am and still wake up in time to go to work without an alarm clock. Af first i only took 5mg, then 7.5 and eventually 10.  10mg still works for me taken in the early morning like that. 

    After combining zolpidem with zopiclone at bedtime, i started getting some side effects i never had before, weird stuff, waking up in a very bizarre state of mind, not being able to figure out how to do things like making breakfast, and one day (that i know of, there may have been more), i completely blacked out, a plumber came to my house for an appointment and i told him i didn't need a plumber. I have no memory of doing this, his boss called me on the phone to make sure they had the right address and when the guy came back he said he was there and that he saw me that morning and saw my dog and that i told him i didn't need a plumber. I did need a plumber and i have no memory at all of him coming earlier on that day.  Very distressing.  

    In early January this year, i started tapering off the zopiclone, by one quarter of a pill at a time. i was really scared to try to go off it, but as it turned out, i was able to use the zolpidem and still get to sleep, so i didn't experience any withdrawal symptoms from the zopiclone. i was able to sleep. I took two months to cut each of 4 quarters until i no longer am taking zopiclone. But i'm still taking zolpidem.  I'm happy to be off zopiclone--i took it nightly for 1 1/2 years.

    i'm telling you this because if you are not ready to stop using prescription sleep meds, maybe zolpidem would be something your doctor would prescribe.  If you are not used to it, and if you can sleep OK once  you get to sleep, it's just falling asleep that is the problem, then zolpidem works really well for that.  For many many years, it worked well for me for sleep because once i was asleep i could stay asleep.  That just finally changed in the past year and a half, and now i will only sleep a short time on either of these medications, but i had a good run with it for almost 20 years, and the only reason it got less effective was because i increased how much i was taking (due to some life circumstances).  i still take zolpidem to get to sleep and i have retired from my job so it hasn't really been a problem usually to get only a couple of hours of sleep and then wait until it's been 5 hours since i took the meds at bedtiem and then take another dose and get some more sleep--i wait til it's been 5 hours to avoid becoming completely tolerant causing it to not work at all. But i am up to a pretty high dose, aboiut 15mg at bedtime and another 10mg around 4am.  

    If, like some other people on these forums, you can get sleep with Phenargan/promethazine, that would be the best option. Some have said that they needed to take it a relatively long ttime before bedtime for it to have its strongest effect, and some have reported that they feel groggy the following day from it.  But the advantage is it's not addictive.  

    • Posted

      hello jaw44 wow thanks thats really helped me see i can do this we can do this ...;-) can i ask the doctor for zolpidem do they give them out easy is it a controlled drug like zopiclone is now. you are a star the post gives me hope x
    • Posted

      i think it's likely that it has the same control as zopiclone.   I'm in the US and here, everything is controlled.  Zopiclone has always been controlled.  They are ranked at different "schedules" and this may not be only the US, it may be an international thing.  not sure.  Zolpidem and zopiclone are Schedule IV drugs which means they are classified as mildly addictive, i think, compared to Schedule III drugs, which i guess would be opiates, maybe barbiturates.  

      Maybe you could tell your doctor that you have learned that zolpidem is a shorter acting medication and easier to get off of because it's eliminated from your system so fast, and you would like to try using it to help you get off the zopiclone and/or to replace it.

      Actually the shorter acting medications are thought  by some (but not all) medical experts and meds users to be harder to get off of than the longer acting ones--addiction medicine specialists use the long acting benzo, diazapam to help people get off the short acting Z drugs like Zopiclone and zolpidem.  

      i went to an addiction medicine specialist and that's what he advised me to do.  He said it usually only takes a couple of weeks to taper off the diazapam after making the switch. So, i did that, but i am sorry i did it.  Many people have success doing it and are happy with that method.  My case is different.  Now i'm on diazapam and zolpidem although i'm not supposed to be. I was supposed to switch, which i did, i switched, overnight, from 27mg a night zolpidem, to 10mg a night diazapam, and it totally worked, just like that, 20 years of zolpidem, over, but diazapam is stronger and very long acting. i slept all night for the first time in years, but i had an awful hang over the next day--why get all that sleep if you're just going to feel terribly tired the whole next day?  So i was eager to taper off the diazapam, and after one week on it i started cutting down by one milligram a week. i got as far as 8mgs but then i couldn't sleep on 7mg, so i used my abundant supply of zolpidem to supplement, to just get me to sleep. Then the diazapam kept me asleep.

      But now, i have built up some tolerance to the diazapam, i've been on it a couplf of months, and i'm back to taking zolpidem twice a night again, and now, i'm on two medications again like when i was on the zolpidem. i do plan to use the zolpidem to help me taper off the diazapam though i'm sure my doctor won't like that.  

      I think the reason things got messed up and thrown off course is because i discovered i have a serious health problem, and my doctor is very supportive about it, as far as how the sleep medication is prescribed, he is strongly against anyone going cold turkey, though for me personally, i think it will be OK, but i can't do it now because of this health problem.  i must've had it for years but it just got worse this year and finally was diagnosed. it's an insulinoma, which is a really small tumor on the pancreas that secretes insulin into the blood stream all the time, so it lowers your blood sugar and that has all kinds of weird and some dangerous effects. It's almost never malignant and the symptoms are curable by surgery to remove the tumor, but this certainly complicates my sleep/meds situation.  

      Back to zopiclone and zolpidem--three years ago, i ended up with a doctor who was very supportive of helping with my insomnia, he would prescribe what i asked for, and in the last year,  he was prescribing zopiclone 7.5, zolpidem 10mg and zolpidem ER, all three every month. Still that wasn't enough for me and about every two months i would buy more zolpidem 10mg from an overseas pharmacy that doesn't require a prescription.  

      I know that zolpidem and zopiclone are Schedule 4 medications and have been all along, which means they are are controlled for sure.  But it seems something new has happened in the UK, where zopiclone was not considered as serious until recently, and doctors are freaking out.  This seems to vary from doctor to doctor, judging from what people are reporting on these forums. Some have been cut off from zopiclone while others are still getting their usual prescription, though with some increased friction.  

      I don't know if switching to zolpidem would work for your doctor--you could try, tell him you have learned it's milder, shorter acting, easier to come off of, and would like to switch.  Maybe because it's not something that has just happened recently with zolpidem, there might not be as extreme a reaction . but i really don't know.   If zolpidem is controlled at the same level, they would probably have the same rules about prescriptions. i think they can only prescribe for one month at a time but they can do repeat prescriptions.  

      i think that if a patient goes to a doctor with a plan for reducing the medication over time, the doctor can document that in the chart, and this will cover their behind so that they are not just ignoring the problem that has been raised about the medication. It will depend on the doctor, but as long as there is an ongoing conversation about plans to taper slowly off the medication, at least they can feel that they have a treatment plan which involves addressing the problem, as opposed to not having one and seeming to be ignoring it.  One month you might say you want to switch to zolpidem. another month, you might say you are going to add phenargan and see if it will help you reduce the zolpidem faster  The problem is, without a supportive doctor, it makes an already stressful problem worse.

      you have my sympathy because it seems your doctor is fearful or uptight. At my doctor's office, i would often get an appointment with the physician's assistant instead of the doctor sinice it was just for a refill, and she let me know that writing all those prescriptions made her really nervous, and the last time i saw her, she said she did not want to continue to prescribe them. Actually on that occasion, she was very happy becaues i told her i was off the zopiclone. But i still wanted the two kinds of zolpidem and i could see she is worried about her license, from what she said. And she took a lot of time documenting why she was prescribing it. But my doctor wasn't like that at all. He was always totally laid back, even though i was always nervous about it because after all, that is a lot of meds.  And the pharmacy made complaints about it, told me they couldn't fill it, but then they would get it sorted out, that if the doctor prescribed it, they had to fill it, it wasn't their decision.  i can't tell you how happy i was when i got off the zopiclone, just knowing i wouldn't be being judged at the pharmacy for the first time in a long time.  i was excited that i would be going off the zolpidemm next and i would save myself all that money, because not all of it was covered by my insurance, including the zolpidem 10mg i was buying from the overseas pharmacy.  But then, this health problem came up right at the point when i was going to start going off the zolpidem. I am going back to my doctor for the first time since April to get another prescription for zolpidem 10mg, i had so much left over from when i switched over to diazapam and went off it, and i was hardly taking any, but now it's going back up.  sigh.  i really look forward to getting off it and getting rid of the related stress. but not sure when that will be.  i'm glad to have the overseas pharmacy. But that's stressful too.

    • Posted

      hi jaw sorry its taken so long to get back to you i had a bad day yesterday. i hope ur doing ok ..ive made another appointment with the gp another doctor to whom i seem last time fingers crossed they will help me taper off zopiclone and give me something else..ur post as really helped me thank you
    • Posted

      Hi julie--good luck with that doctor.  Other people on these forums have reported being prescribed mirtizapine to help with sleep and  be taken off zopiclone, some thought it helped, some didn't. It's an antidepressant and one of several off label uses of it is insomnia.  One of the possible side effects that a lot (not all) of people get is weight gain, so that's one reson i wouldn't take it.  I tend to be scared of drugs, and am very reluctant to add another kind of drug into my body, and am determined to get off the Z drugs (and now diazapam, a benzo) without adding more drugs in.  My addiction medicine doctor talked to me the last time i saw him about trying Gabapentin. It's an anti-convulsent that is commonly used off label for insomnia.  First he talked to me about using Trazodone which is, i think, an anti-depressant, which makes some people sleepy. I read up on the possible side effects, and number one was cardiac arrhythmias, so that was out of the question for me. Back in the 70s, my internist prescribed a tricyclic antidepressant for my anxiety and i got a cardiac arrhythmia from that, one of the worst experiences, had it a few times in the 80s, then not since then, won't risk that again.  And anyway, i seriously don't want to put any other kinds of medicine in my body, i want to detox and eliminate all of them from my body. I do not want to take gabapentin either, many potential side effects, but i was humoring the doctor. I would rather not sleep than add those other kinds of medicines in, but i am at that point in my life where i can go through going off sleeping pills, and that may end up meaning cold turkey, my doctor is absolutely against that, and then i found out i have this insulin secreting tumor on my pancreas in the past month, which in lowering blood glucose, really can make you tired, so i'm not in a good place to go without sleep meds or to cut down, first i need to get that tumor removed and get my normal energy level back and not be at risk of some of the serious symptoms of suppressed glucose, and my doctor is on the same page so for now, we are not changing anything, i will continue with 8mg diazapam.  I am also taking zolpidem when i don't fall asleep on the diazapam, my doctor doesn't agree with that but right now, i am just going to insure regular sleeping as much as possible.  I have already bought zolpidem from an overseas pharmacy where i don't need a prescription, to make sure i don't run out.  

      Zolpidem is habit forming, but for me, it's not the medications that are so habit forming. It's sleep, which is only natural.  Everyone wants to have enough sleep at night. But i'm at a point in my life, being retired, that i can go without sleep and i can get myself off of the sleep meds. It wasn't long ago that that was unthinkable, because of my job.  i think that's why my other doctor readily prescribed whatever i asked for, the zopiclone, and the two kinds of zolpidem he was precribing. And still i got more from overseas.  Sigh.  i really needed to sleep for my job.   Good luck with your hopefully better doctor.  As far as the off label prescribing of anti-depressants, they do help a lot of people sleep, i went on a discussion forum for mirtazapine and a lot of people said it knocked them out. They were not people who were being transitioned off of sleep meds. They all were prescribed mirtazapine for depression. i do remember many people complained of weight gain.  But not everybody.

      About Gabapentin, my doctor acknowledged that it's not for everyone and he was suggesting i just try it, but then i got his attention about my low blood sugar and not wanting to confuse things by adding another medication in, since i was already having some really weird symptoms, and he agreed. 

    • Posted

      hi jaw wow we are going through it. they best help me next week had enough now..i was on mirtz jaw i tapering off it 5 weeks ago ..didnt like mirtz felt rotton on it x
    • Posted

      Currently, for sleep, i'm taking 8mg diazapam and varying amounts of zolpidem (10 to 17mg i would say).   The way i got on the diazapam was that i went to an addiction medicine specialist for help to get off the zolpiidem, which was at 27mg a night (in divided doses).  It's common to treat habitual use of short acting sleeping meds like zolpidem and zopiclone  by switching people onto diazapam which is long acting, and tapering them off of that.  The use of a longer acting medication is supposed to be easier to go off of because the gradual elimination from your system is supposed to be smoother than the shorter acting meds.  

      So when i went to this doctor, i did what he said which was just to switch over, stop taking 27mg zolpidem and start taking 10mg a night of diazapam. That worked really well, i didn't miss the zolpidem at all, the diazapam was quite strong and i was able to sleep the whole night. But i hated it because i felt hung over all day, which i never feel on zolpidem--it's so short acting. Zolpidem does a great job of putting you to sleep if you take the right dose, but if you get used to it, over time, it won't keep you asleep.  

      So, i was eager to start tapering off the diazapam. I started tapering 1mg per week. I got down to 9mg, and it was a little hard for about a day, and then it was ok, and then after a week, i went down to 8mg, and that was the same, harder to sleep for one or two nights, but then working fine.  Then, i went to 7mg.

      The lower you get, the bigger percent of what you're taking one milligram is, so it can get harder.  There are people who cut down much more gradually by tinier amounts, and they have doctors that work with them. In the UK, the pioneer of this method (going onto diazapam and gradually tapering off, taking as long as a year, no hurry) is Heather Ashton (you can google her or look up her videos on you tube). She has had a spreading influence and more doctors now know about the medical rationale for tapering slowly off of diazapam.  

      Anyway, when i got to 7mg, i didn't fall asleep on it for 3 nights. The first night, i didn't take anything else, just the diazapam, and i was awake all night, but the second two nights, i took zolpidem to get to sleep. I also decided to increase the dose back to 8mg since that was working fine before.  

      Sorry to make this such a complicated story, but the real reason i didn't stay with tapering off the diazapam is that i discovered i had extreme hypoglycemia which i now know is caused by a tumor on the pancreas that secretes insulin, probably benign but the only cure is surgical removal, whicih i'm in the process of working on, but i talked to my doctor and he agreed to just keep me at 8mg until the insulinoma and its symptoms are cleared up.  

      Because i stopped taking the zolpidem at a time when i had a lot of it left, i had plenty to use on those nights when the diazapam alone didn't get me to sleep.  But my addiction meds doctor who prescribes the diazapam doesn't approve of my taking the zolpidem. The whole purpose of taking the diazapam in the first place was to get off the zolpidem, so i understand where he's coming from. But if it doesn't get me to sleep, i don't want to go through that right now, because of the insulinoma--low blood sugar makes you tired so i don't think i'm in good enough shape to go through going off the meds. I have told him several times that i'm still taking the zolpidem, though not nearly as much as i was taking before switching to the diazapam, and i guess the first few times he didn't hear me because the last time i told him, he was not happy about it, acting surprised.  Now  i'm uncomfortable knowing that doctor doesn't approve. It makes me feel like not bringing it up. But i know that he is extremely against me going off cold turkey so i guess he won't cut me off.  In my impatience to get off it, before the hypoglycemia thing started, i asked him, more than once, about going cold turkey. He doesn't believe in that.  

      I also still have a supply of zopiclone left but i'm not going to use that in the foreseeable future. i would rather get more zolpidem. i didn't like the effect the zopiclone had on me, although now i don't know which symptoms were the zopiclone and which was the hypoglycemia.  I use an overseas pharmacy that i've been using for several months to buy more zolpidem, if i can't get a doctor to prescribe it.  i don't like having to pay for it out of pocket but no prescription is required so i've been using these for many years. 

      i hope your doctor will work with you.  That's so important.  They are most likely to be able to help you in the way they want to if you are working together in a mutually respectful way.  

    • Posted

      thank you jaw. sorry its taken so long to get back to you.. could i ask my doctor for a small dose of diazapan would they give them to me do you think ? i hope u are well x

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