Just Updosed on Valium to get off Ambien

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i have been on Valium for over 20 years and was sucessfully tapering from 5 mg to 2 mg when my sister became sick with lung cancer! I took care of her for ten months and that is when my sleep--- never good -- went over a cliff. I took ambien 10 mg for about three months when I started my taper. It was a nightmare of symptoms so I crossed over the last 3.6 mg of ambien to a total of 4 mg Valium. Added 2 mg of Valium. It has been over a month and I am so symptomatic still-- extreme dizziness,terrible benzo bloating,head pressure.  What should I do. Updose more and then taper,wait to see if I get less symptomatic, or start my valium taper?thank you to those out there who can offer an opinion!  Lily

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  • Posted

    Hello Lily,

    just seen this and thought I would drop you a line or two.    I can't be any help with regards the ambien,   I have not taken that nor know what it is,  or for.   

    With regards your taper for the valium,   I took it for over 30 years,  then in 2013 my doc said I was to come off it,  well I have been off for just over a year now.  The only advice I would give you is to listen to your body just now,   you have been through quite a lot of distress and need to be a little gentle with yourself until you feel strong enough and able to continue with the withdrawal.    The dose you are taking now,  it does seem as if you are not comfortable with it,   it could be the mix of the two drugs,  I don't know.   You have done well coming down to 2mg before your sister took ill,  how were you feeling then?     Could it be that you would feel better if you went back up to 5mg of V and stayed with that until you feel well in yourself and are able to start the taper again from there.   The added stress you are going through will also take time to settle,  you can't just stop grieving,  that in it's self will take time  and I do think you should be in a good happy positive frame of mind before starting to reintroduce the taper.

    You have not made mention of any time factors,    you know the taper will have to be slow,   also take into account how long it has been since you lost your sister,  give yourself a goodly amount of time to get  -  I can't say over,   time to adjust to your loss.    If you would feel more able to relax and get your life back in order by upping the dose a little,  in the long term this will not hurt,  it may indeed be what you need to get into a better frame of mind.     You could try it for a week and see how you feel,   maybe stay on that dose for a couple of months and then restart your taper.

    It is hard to know what to do for the best,   just look after yourself right now,   try to  do what will make life easier for you so that you regain strength and the will to go for the taper knowing you are going to stick with it right until you are off altogether.

    I am not good with words Lily,   I just wanted to offer you support.     I can tell you it will not be an easy journey,  but,    taken slowly and  feeling good about what you are doing will give a good result,  it will be worth it,  you will feel like a new person.

    Take care of yourself 

    warmest regards

    Jessie x

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    • Posted

      Dear Jessie, I can't thank you enough for your kindness in replying. I was doing very well in my taper--no symptoms at all reducing from 5 mg of valium to 2 mg. Then I stopped because I was on call for my sister's care.After I started taking ambien, I became dizzy but no other symptoms until I started to taper--maybe too fast under the advice of stupid doctors who don't know about benzo wd. I was tapering off ambien ever so slowly during the last 8 months and then crossed over to valium per Ashton protocol because valium has a long half life. I thought I would feel less symptomatic! I feel so afraid of updosing because what if I keep having to updose to feel well? What is the upper limit? Did you ever have to updose and what dose did you take if I may ask? Also were you symptomatic at all? It seems like you have had a fortunate easy time of getting off! At least withe the Ambien I was reducing by 5 per cent every three weeks and more and was so symptomatic! Hope to hear from you soon and again, thank you for your ideas! It does give me hope that maybe I can get off hearing about your success!  Lily
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  • Posted

    I'm so sorry for your circumstances, Lily.

    My own tapering is going OK, with the odd lapse... smile

    There are a couple of things that I have discovered recently that may be of a little help to you though: the first is promethezine (Navigon, Avomine or Sominex in the UK - available over the counter) which is a benign, sedating, anxiolytic antihistamine which may help you fill in some of the gaps. It will help you sleep, but I wouldn't drive for a couple of hours after taking them; the second is kava kava which works well for me (especially as a soporific), but you should treat this one with caution, as it is associated with liver damage if used in anything but the lightest doses.

    Definitely do not go down the route of upping/tapering/upping/tapering! It's a hiding to nothing, and you will never be free.

    i do hope this is of help, and wish you all the best with your recovery.

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    • Posted

      My own relationship with Valium began with the sudden loss of my younger brother just over 9 years ago, so, without understanding your feelings completely, I DO feel I can relate to you a little...❤️
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    • Posted

      Jane, Thank you so much for your reply! I think you are quite correct in the opinion of not upping/tapering and then going back again! It only creates even further problems down the road. My own tapering had gone smoothly until ambien was introduced. I am so glad things are going smoothly for you. May I ask what dose of valium you were on, for how long, and what your taper schedule is? Are you almost done? Lily
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    • Posted

      Well, much higher than you!  I have a naturally high tolerance to benzos, so am tapering down from 60mg which barely touches my anxiety.  I used it for about 4 weeks (first time since my brother's death) and was able to function completely normally.  It's going well - about 10mg less per week -  and I am speaking with my doctors as I go through the journey.  I have never tried Ambien, though - is it something to be avoided?
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    • Posted

      Jane, I think all benzos should be avoided now that you are trying to get off of one. If I hadn't  touched ambien, I probably would have been ok with my slow taper off valium.i had no wd symptoms coming slowly off off 5 mg valium to 2 mg valium. Funny things started happening once I started ambien.After I started my taper off ambien, I became very symptomatic due to too big a cut that my doctor recommended. 10 mg ambien to 7.5 in one week. Then 7.5 to 5 in another week.Remember as you start getting to lower doses, be more conservative in your cuts.However, it may just be that you can handle big cuts! Also you have only been on benzos for a short period of time, so your CNS and gaba neurotransmitters are probably not too downregulated and you will heal faster than someone like me who has been on a benzo for a long time though a low dose.read the Ashton manual on benzos,also Dr Reg Peart. A lot of doctors know far less than we do about benzo wd syndrome! Take care!
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    • Posted

      I also have a very high tolerance to benzos and the 'z' drugs, one of which is 'ambien' - trade name for zolpidem. I was taking 140 mg diazepam daily - sometimes more. When I finally sought help I was cut down to 30 mg daily immediately, which terrified me. However, I found that I coud manage perfectly well on this. My doctor wants me to get down to an acceptable level (2 - 10 mg daily.) He believes that with my history, this would be a success, and I'm inclined to agree with him. So, to those of you struggling to get from 5 mg to 2 mg, I can only say that this woould be something I'd personally be proud  to get down to. Don't mess things up with promethazine, zopiclone or zolpidem - just stick to diazepam and reduce it slowly. Really slowly. Admitting you have a problem is the most important firt step towards recovery.
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  • Posted

    Hello Lily,   not been able to get online for last couple of days.

    Coming off V will never be easy.  I am unclear about the ambian, the suggestion to go to 5mgs was simply to put you on a firm footing to make a positive start - feel well, feel good  and have a positive state mind to restart the slow withdrawal.

    Each person has a different set of circumstances to deal with during withdrawal,  different things to either help or hinder,   the symptoms will differ from person to person and be related to the reasons they were taking it in the first instance,  as will the dose and length of time it was taken.

    Be comfortable in yourself and be positive about what you are doing,  be prepared to deal with what ever comes along,    you will feel a lot better when you are fully  ..   fully   off them,  this may take quite a while after you have taken the very last dose,  time scale will vary between individuals.

    It will not be easy,   will be worth it.   

    warmest regards

    Jessie

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    • Posted

      Jessie,Thank you for your encouragement. The Ambien most definitely messed me up as I was tapering slowly but really well down to 2 mg from 5 mg valium. No symptoms whatsoever. It already has been since Nov 2013 that I started taking ambien and have been tapering since Feb 2014 so I have been suffering for well over 1 1/2 years! I Updosed to 4 mg valium to drop the remaining 3.6 mg ambien due to the short half life of ambien. This has been advised by Ashton manual. But now I have the long journey ahead. It seems like I can only taper by at most 5 percent and hold for quite a few weeks. This can take forever at 4 mg. But I am prepared to do it. You seem to have tapered off quickly ----in less than a year? How large were your cuts and how long between cuts did you take? It seems as though you have a good doctor!
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    • Posted

      Hello Lily,

      I did  a slow withdrawal, 4 weeks between each drop in dose.    It took me a year,  my dose was as prescribed for muscle spasm but increased as and when required so nothing regular.  I never increased at any time during the withdrawal.

      My Dr.    -   no support or patient care of any kind during the entire process.  I was told to come off it and that was that,  no advice of any kind given to me as to how to do the withdrawal,  I was told it would take a year,  never saw my Dr. again.  No family to give me support,  unable to access the web for advice due to severe pain,  It  was 5 months after final dose before I was able to get online.   

      It was not easy.   I did start to feel better after about eight months from  last dose,  still having withdrawal syptoms a year and two weeks after it, but -  baring the w/d symptoms which came in waves and lasted differing periods of time I felt better in myself.   I took the Diaz for over 30 years,  it obviously had quite an impact on my life but I did not realize it while taking it.  I am still coming to terms with it all.    It is hard to explain feeling better being off it and  still having episodes of w/d.  At this point in time am good,  I don't know if or when there will be a next episode,  time will tell.    It has made a big change in my personality,  how much of this is anger / annoyance / bitterness  with my lack of information and support from my Dr - who showed no 'Duty of Care'    I don't know.    Complaining would be a waste of time, it is all over now.  It was hard enough for me to deal with the w/d and current health issues  to  complain while going through it,  I was far to ill,  had no support of any kind.   I did come onto this forum where I was told horror stories about how bad it is,  sue the Dr,  tell the papers - that was not support or helpful at all,  this was from people  unable to come off the drug and who had family and a Dr who let them continue to carry on taking it.

      That Lily is the reason I have not said much about the symptoms,   I will though continue to state that I am better without the drug,  pleased to be off it.    It is feeling alive again,  I did not realise how dulled my brain was.   Another reason I would not complain - no matter how negligent my Dr was,  emotive words,  but when you have no support or anyone to talk to  it would have been impossible for me to go through the w/d and start making complaints or takeing any action.   Six months after my last dose I did have a telephone conversation with my Dr,  no matter how many times I mentioned the drug he would not reply to me  and although I rang due to the severe pain I was in he would not help me in any way.   I am taking very strong pain meds and should be monitered for using those drugs anyway  but I am not.    Young Drs  having taken on an established practice due to retirement,   doing what the Govt. directs to cut costs.   I was taken off them because of my age and the increased likelihood of falls and breaking a hip which in many instances leads to death from pneumonia.   They took me off the drug - end of.

      Stay strong and positive Lily,  you will find it worthwhile when you finally get it out of your system and  life takes on a very bright and energised meaning.    1 mg every 4 weeks,  then 1/2 mg ,  then  1/4   ....  those weeks will  get by,   I can't guess at how long it will be after your last dose,  so many other factors come in,    lots of exercise,  walking is good,  plenty water,  apples , oranges  - protein for your muscles.  If possible stay off other similar drugs that may prolong the time taken to get a clear system.

      I do wish you well,  you can do this you know,  I promise.

      warmest regards

      Jessie xx

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    • Posted

      Dear Jessie, I so appreciate your sincerity and the goodness in you to share your story! You have been through so much and all on your own! I am so sad that your doctor and the health care system ditched you... But you are so right not to be bitter, not to complain, and to move on! I have support but my story is no different than yours. The doctors did a terrible disservice to me because they do not know about benzo wd syndrome. But I will not complain. I plan on getting my Valium compounded or titrated so that I can do very small cuts. It is the only way I can get off! My heart goes out to you and I hope we can chat more regularly by email if you want? I live in the US in California ---not from the UK but surprisingly due to Ashton and others people in the Uk seem to be more aware than we in the US. I hope that there will be no more bad waves for you! It does seem like you are coping well! Hope you will agree to a more personal correspondence by email! Love, Lily
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    • Posted

      Hello Lily,

      I hope you will not be offended when I say  'No '  to  email correspondence    I have said all I can really,  I do not spend a lot of time on line as it is to painful to do much typing,  using the mouse even to browse.  

      I will suggest you go to YouTube and have a look in there from people who have come off Diaz.    There is  quite a lot of information.

      I saw your post Lily and I wanted to give you something positive,  coming off the drug can be done,  not easily,  but if you want off,  have to come off,  you can and will.     

      Others may reply to you telling you how hard it is,  that you don't need to come off.

      The Ambien caused problems,  other drugs may do the same,  you say you came down from 5mg to 2mg before the Ambien with no problem,  in theory you should be able to do so again,  unless you are still taking the Ambien - or other drugs.

      I do wish you well Lily,    it's a new year and I hope it is a good one for you,  you look forward to a positive new life free from vallium.

      Warmest regards

      Jessie x

       

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    • Posted

      Jessie, of course I am not offended! I so appreciate your attempt to help me in spite of the pain in typing ! This is very kind of you and I am hopeful that one day you will be totally pain free. I am not on any other medications.That is why I dropped the ambien and crossed over to valium. The pharmacist felt that the synergistic effects of two benzos together might exacerbate the symptoms. I will take it slow and try to remain positive. Again,thank you for taking the time to try to help a stranger.... Love, Lily
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    • Posted

      It is essential to get a doctor who is an expert in drug withdrawal. Ordinary GPs are not experienced enough to assist patients. They often cut off your supplies suddenly and randomly because they do not understand the awful symptoms of withdrawal. God Bless you for sticking to it. I'm still on 30 mg daily and wil go down to 28 mg in three weeks, but I'm not afraid. Keep away from zolpidem (ambien) Love Tess.
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