Zyprexa induced insomnia

Posted , 11 users are following.

Has anyone been able to fully restore their sleep since withdrawing from 5mg of Zyprexa? It's been nearly 6 months for me and I only can sleep 0-2 hours per night? My health and quality of life have been greatly affected. Please help!

0 likes, 15 replies

15 Replies

  • Posted

    How long were you taking Zyprexa for? Did you just stop taking it? What were the reasons this was prescribed for you? Sorry for all the questions. Things can and will get better but it will probably take some time for you to recover from this treatment. There are alternatives to medical treatments.

    • Posted

      I was taking Zyprexa for about a year and a half for insomnia. Not sure why the doctor would prescribe an antipsychotic for sleep, especially when I was only having problems once a week. I started at 2.5mg and was told it was such a low dosage that I wouldn't become addicted or experience side effects. Fast forward a year later, I not only developed side effects (dysphagia, excessive weight gain, high blood sugar, and I lost the ability to feel happy or sad/zombie like state), but I had built up a tolerance. When I first started Zyprexa I would sleep 8 to 10 hours. He told me to increase my dose to 5mg (I resisted at first), but I couldn't sleep again (at this point it became a few nights per week), so I continued. When my ability to swallow worsened I asked to be taken off. He told me I could just stop the med cold turkey as there weren't any withdrawals from the drug. Within a week I couldn't sleep at all (I now only sleep 0-2 hours per night 6 months later even with klonopin which I am now addicted to), I developed GERD, IBS, have cortisol levels that are 4 times the norm, horrible anxiety (that I never had before taking the drug), and am constantly freezing.

      I exercise, eat healthy, take vitamins and supplements, go to therapy, acupuncture, am trying CBT-I, but nothing helps me sleep. I even had a sleep study done and only slept half an hour. I don't know what to do anymore. Doctors haven't been able to help and I've lost my quality of life. Any advice/assistance would be appreciated. Thank you so much!

    • Posted

      I was on zyprexa for one month at 2.5mg for my chronic migraines and was transitioned to another medication. Within two weeks, I had a horrible time with withdrawals. It's almost one year to the day that I took my last dose. I was also put on klonopin and nortriptyline to try to deal with the discontinuation symptoms. I'd never been through anything like it before and I'd been on many medications to try to treat my migraines. I completely feel your pain. There were many nights where I only got a couple of hours sleep broken up into 45 minute cycles and would wake up with my chest and arms burning / tingling and my thoughts racing. That medication was no joke! Lastly I was put on effexor because my anxiety went through the roof when I was trying to taper klonopin and nortriptyline.

      I'm now off of the klonopin and nortriptyline and am down from 75mg of effexor to 37.5. I hope to be done in a couple of months by reducing slowly.

      I was able to regain my sleep for the most part. I didn't have insomnia to begin with though so I'm guessing that it could take you a bit longer. It's now hard to distinguish what is withdrawal from zyprexa, klonopin or nortriptyline. It's all blending together. I do know that my symptoms were less severe when I slowly tapered the other meds. I wish that I could give you a great answer that would solve your problem. I remembered being so worn down and defeated when I couldn't sleep. The one "migraine" medication that I took that made me ridiculously tired was remeron. It's an anti-depressant that has an off-label use for migraines and in lower doses can really make you sedated. I could only stay on it for a few months because I wanted to sleep all of the time. Not that I recommend another medication but I'm not sure how long you can go with only a few hours of sleep a night.

      The anxiety came down, the racing thoughts have gone away, the tinnitus has passed and I'm able to sleep again. I realized a couple of weeks ago that effexor is making me super tired through the day and I could sleep for 10 hours straight which is only one of the reasons that I've decided to wean off.

      When I look back, I can't believe that it's taken me a year to mostly recover from that one month's use of the lowest dose. Good luck to you. Your sleep will eventually return 😃

    • Posted

      I didn't have any trouble getting off of remeron.

      Zyprexa by far has been the worst for me. I know everyone is different and I think if your CNS is compromised from other medication then anything becomes difficult to come off of. Once I let my body heal from zyprexa, I found that reducing klonopin and nortriptyline weren't all that bad as long as I went slowly.

    • Posted

      I also took remeron which didn't help me sleep. I had some rebound insomnia, but it was nothing compared to the Zyprexa hell. Don't ever take this medication! I wish someone had warned me.

    • Posted

      Thank you for your kind words. The other side effects seem to be manageable if I'm able to get sleep. So I guess for me overcoming my insomnia is my biggest obstacle to date. If I'm ever able to recover, I would love to come off the klonopin and remain med free. How many mgs of klonopin were you taking and what was your taper? I'm on 1.5mg and heard klonopin withdrawal is similar to zyprexa withdrawal. How did you manage? God bless you with the Effexor taper. Let me know how you are making out.

    • Posted

      Ash, if you're open to supplements, you might try essential amino acids.

    • Posted

      I was taking between .5 to 1 mg of klonopin. I started my taper while taking .5mg regularly. I went too quickly the first time so I had to go back up to .25mg and then i ended up doing a liquid taper by making a suspension and reducing by .004mg per day. I did split my doses before I started tapering and moved one dose to the morning to try to avoid insomnia.

      I was on a much higher dose of effexor years ago to try to treat my migraines so I've gone off of it before. It was nothing compared to my symptoms coming off of zyprexa. I guess different medications really affect people in different ways.

  • Edited

    Hello Ash, I started caring for my mother after she went off zyprexa. She is quite elderly and went into diabetic ketoacidodis while on zyprexa, The hospital quit her meds and she had a cardiac arrest.

    Her sleep cycle was really messed up for a while. They attributed it to old age and dimentia.

    She's been doing acupuncture and herbs for two and a half years and sleeps much better now.

    She's had chronic kidney infections which the doctors don't seem to notice. I feel these drugs cause kidney and liver problems. Kidney and liver toxicity can interfere with normal sleep.

    Really a good acupuncturist should be able to help you with both herbs and acupuncture. My mother is been going twice a week for 2 1/2 years. Good luck to you.

    • Posted

      Thanks for the info. I'm glad your mother is doing much better. My issues look like they are stemming from high cortisol which is attributed to adrenal glands, pituitary, and/or pineal. My acupuncturist is trying his best, but even my PCP said its nearly impossible for anything to work w my cortisol levels so high. My next stop is the endocronologist. Praying she is able to offer some type of relief.

    • Posted

      Ash, I don't know if you saw... I've found essential amino acids are incredibly helpful.

      With adrenal issues, you can sometimes help your body by giving it a little help to complete the stress cycle. I've found 20 minutes of water jogging to be very helpful, or a few minutes of sprinting on the treadmill after a regular workout. The running seems to help complete the stress cycle.

      It seems to help me anyway. I'm dealing with thyroid and adrenal issues.

  • Posted


    Your story is very similar to mine. i was prescribed 2.5mg olanzapine for occasional insomnia/anxiety. At first, even half of this would completely knock me out - but i hated the way it made me feel the next day: zombie-like, exhausted, and extremely agitated. I took 2.5mg for 3 weeks after i started a new job. As soon as i stopped taking it i found that i was unable to sleep without it. I tried to get through the week on no sleep in the hope that my body would re-adjust, but it didnt. After about 5 days of no sleep i would give in and take 2.5mg. This cycle went on for about 6 months until i read online of others experiences and stopped taking olanzapine all together. I also noticed that i was developing a tolerance, and would need to take closer to 5mg in order to get the same effect. Its now been 7 months off this horrific drug and i still have insomnia. I have a mixture of sleep onset insomnia and maintenance insomnia, but more often than not its maintenance issues. My sleep is extremely light and fractured and i wake up feeling exhausted every day. I might have the odd night where I sleep soundly but this is rare, maybe once a fortnight if im lucky.

    The psychiatrist that prescribed this med to me told me it was not addictive and that i could stop and start it as often as i liked. When i eventually went back to him to tell him about my issues he basically told me that there was nothing he could do for me and showed me the door. I have tried a range of different meds to combat the insomnia but i build up a tolerance to each one. Among many other things, I tried mirtazapine which is known to have strong sedative effects. i had previously been on this med 10 years ago for depression and found it highly sedating, didnt develop a tolerance the entire time i was on it (1.5 years) however this time i developed a tolerance after 4 weeks.

    Anyway, sorry for the long winded story. i want to know how you are doing now? did you find any relief?

    Wishing you well from Australia

    • Posted

      I have this too, broken sleep. I was on it for 1yr , weaned off very very slowly but still have broken sleep 5 yrs on. Typcal sleep cycle is 2hrs then awake, then sleep again afte 20 mins to an hr awake. Total sleep is 5hrs in patches of 2 hrs. I seen to be ok most days in the 5 yrs so far but I tired out by 3pm most days so I tend to get done what I need to by then. I mediate and that helps keep the cortisol low. High cortisol is also an issue as I'm trying to lose the excess weight I gained while on the med but its very difficult with high cortisol levels. Cycling helps get some exercise but I noticed I generally fall asleep quicker with some wine but only a glass no more. If I take more, I get a empty head feeling and get very very tired.

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