I have successfully come of Zopiclone after a long time

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I wanted to come off as they were not working and I couldn't sleep with them all that well and was permanently wide awake. I had tried all the weaning off methods but nothing worked. I went for

another review and the GP at the time took me off zopiclone and gave me a prescription for

PHENERGAN which is an antihistamine. I was amazed that when I went to bed I actually fell asleep and slept quite well, no intense dreams or waking up early. I carried this on for a week and really look forward to going to bed now. The sleep I have had is refreshing unlike with the Zopiclone. I have now been able to sleep without taking any medication them. I am still amazed that it has been so easy after all this time.

I can't thank my GP enough.

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  • Posted

    hi matrix -- congratulations, how wonderful to be free and to sleep!   I am going to ask my addiction meds doctor for a prescription for phenergan--unless i can buy it over the counter.  What milligram dose do you take?  How long were you on zopiclone for?  how much were you taking?  How long since your last dose of it?  Are you saying that you are sleeping ok without the Phenergan now?    thanks so much for sharing your story.
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    • Posted

      Hallo jaw444.  I started taking zopiclone in 2008 at 7.5 mg.  As is the pattern with them, gradually they don't work properly and you need more so I doubled up and eventually this didn't work.  As I mentioned, none of the trials of stopping zopiclone worked,  ie, 3.75 mg (half a dose) or 7.5 mg on alternating days.  

      The generic name for PHENERGAN is promethazine hydrochloride and comes in 25 mg packs.  I stopped the zopiclone and  started taking 1 x 25 mg phenergan  on the 27 March 2014, but an adult dose can be 1 or 2 per night, but 1 was sufficient for me and I slept that night and from then on with them.  The only side effect I had was a dry mouth when waking. I stopped taking them just over a week ago and l am able to fall asleep.  

      My GP prescribed them as he knew they were another sleeping aid.  I was rather dubious. They are an antihistamine and can be used for allergies, travel sickness or short term sedation.   The instructions say that it can be bought over the counter but as the GP seemed to know about its use as a sleeping aid, I would rather get it on prescription.

      I stopped taking them as it said it is not really advised for long term use and was pleasantly surprised that it had done it's job.  Also my mouth isn't dry any more.

      I hope this has helped you, I don't know if they will do the trick for you, but they certainly worked for me.    

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    • Posted

      thanks matrix--anything not too toxic is worth a try.  i was taking both zopiclone (7.5mg every night) for a year and half, and zolpidem for 20 years (in the end, up to 17mg at bed time and another 10mg in the early morning when the first dose would wear off).  I tapered off of zopiclone beginning early January 2014 and finishing on 2/26/14, a quarter tablet at a time.  Because i was taking a fairly high dose of zolpidem throughout the tapering, i didn't have any insomnia reaction from cutting down the zopiclone. I continued on the zolpidem until one week ago, my doctor (addiction medicine specialist) switched me from the 27mg zolpidem to 10mg diazapam, can take another 2.5mg diazapam if i wake and can't go back to sleep.  This has worked well so far.  Most nights i am sleeping beter than i've slept in years, some nights, shorter, like 4 hours, but that's a lot longer than the hour or hour and a half i was sleeping on zolpidem.  The goal, once stable on the diazapam, expected to be in a week or two, is to taper off of it at whatever speed works for me.  I expect to come to a point where i will be at a low dose of diazapam which will not work to get me to sleep, and that is the point at which i would want to stop the diazapam, or rapidly taper it, and then try the phenergan.  

      My daughter used to take zolpidem for sleep, for a few years, and then found herself needing more, and more was working less, so she tapered off of it and since then she takes the antihistamine Benadryl as needed for sleep, not every day. So maybe an antihistamine will work for me, once i stop the addictive sleep meds. My doctor said as i go off the diazapam, he would prescribe Trazodone for sleep, i think it's an antidepressabnt, he said it was a backup plan.  But i won't take it.  Those meds are even more toxic than the Z drugs, and are also addictive and require gradually weaning off.  There are a variety of side effects, some which are bad enough that the risk is unacceptable to me. i prefer not to sleep, if those are the only choices. 

      I am happy for you and happy to hear of your example of success.  It's easy to feel pessimistic.  thanks thanks for the good news

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    • Posted

      Hallo jaw 44.  I actually asked the GP about using diazepam to come off zopiclone and he said ,,diazepam was too addictive.  I have to say that I feel more calmer now and not so anxious during the day. 

      I will be interested to hear how you eventually get on.

      Good to hear about your daughter.    

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    • Posted

      matrix--absolutely agree with your GP, diazapam is as addictive as anything else, if sleeping is important to you and it doesn't come that easy, then there is a serious risk of addiction. If i understand right, the reason for switching onto diazapam from short acting meds like zolpidem and zopiclone is that because they're short acting, it's believed to be hard on the body, on the system, the neurochemistry, to be going on and off, on and off, on and off all day long, and diazapam has a very long half life, (zolpidem's half life is 2 hours, diazapam's half life is approx. 100 hours, so it's a huge difference) and because diazapam isn't eliminated quickly from the system the way zolpidem and zopiclone are, because it stays in the system over a period of days and there aren't gaps between ups and downs, on and off, this is supposed to be easier on the body, easier on the neurochemistry, things go smoother, it is believed, and it's a fairly commonly used treatment for this reason.

      It would only be used for people who are very motivated to stop the drugs. Such a person is already addicted to the zopiclone but they are having a rough time tapering off it because, the theory is, (and clnical observation) that the preson has erratic withdrawal symptoms, where as with diazapam, it's observed to be a smoother process. Its possible to taper off the diazapam slowly so that there won't be very harsh withdrawal symptoms.  

      I became quite addicted to diazapam in 1993, where i was taking more and more and it was doing nothing to me, having no effect to help me sleep, so i didn't see any point in taking it and i just stopped. And on the second day, as the day went on, i felt increasingly wired and i got all kinds of symptoms, nerves twitching, feeling irritable and edgy, very little sleep though i did get a little, i didn't have any no sleep nights, which i thought was amazing, i had expected not to sleep for days. Then there was sweating, a lot of sweating. it was very intense, but it only lasted less than a week, except for the sleep problem.

      i did not regain an ability to sleep, i never tried antihistamines.  I was getting about 3-4 hours of sleep for 6 out of 7 days and was distraught about it, wanting to see some progress, and my doctor (back then) prescribed zolpidem, which he said was new and very short acting and not very addictive. i've been taking it ever since until a week ago.  

      i do not think zolpidem is a very strong drug.  The addiction is not so much to the drug for me, but to wanting to have control over going to sleep.  I need to let that go and i am ready.  When i went off diazapam, i had a very grueling stressful full time job and was a single parent of a 9 year old, but now i'm simply retired and i am sure that i can ride out the amount of time it takes for my system to adapt to being on its own for sleep.  Back in 93-early 94, i was seeing progress.  The periods of sleeping adequately got longer and longer, the periods of poor sleep got shorter.  in the beginning, in the first year or so, i was only taking zolpidem maybe 4 times per month.  i really was happy to be off the diazapam and didn't want to be on anything else.  So, my system was making progress.  Better late than never.   smile

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    • Posted

      Haha what a coincidence. Just saw this thread and I have been writing about my Zopiclone addiction in a nother thread. I recently got something called "Lergigan" from my doctor to help with my withdrawal. And I read this thread and saw that u wrote that your anti histamine was called promethazine hydrochloride so I had to check my bottle of Lergigan, and it's the same thing, same substance but is called Lergigan here. :-)

      Congrats on getting of the Zops. Im working on it right now.

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