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Topic: kicking the Ambien habit--help...

Forum: Managing Side Effects of Breast Cancer and Its Treatment —

This is a place to discuss concerns, tips and strategies for all types of side effects from all types of medications and treatments, (chemo/rads/hormonal/targeted/pain meds/etc.

Posted on: Jan 3, 2010 02:38PM

weesa wrote:

Anybody been able to get off Ambien? I have been taking Ambien CR way too long. Last year I was able to reduce the dose from 12.5 to 6.25 but have not been able to make further progress. Have heard it is as hard to get off of as heroin.

My pcp insisted I take it when I was first diagnosed, but that was long ago and I have done well with my treatment. Hope somebody else can give me advice--I have tried natural supplements, nothing seems to work.

Sometimes I wonder if I am an old soul temporarily trapped in a breast cancer body. Dx 11/22/2002, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 5/25 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 1/19/2003 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 6/13/2003 Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy 8/22/2003 Femara (letrozole) Surgery Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (right): Latissimus dorsi flap
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Posts 31 - 41 (41 total)

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Oct 15, 2010 06:10AM - edited Nov 19, 2010 03:08AM by jarichon

I have been addicted to both ambien and adderal for about 6 years and I never feel right. I can't sleep, I can't eat and I have no insurance. Read more about Ambien addiction: click here

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Nov 3, 2010 01:54AM SusieMTN wrote:

OK, Ambien not doable!  Forgetful anyway but gosh........really forgetful.  Slept yes but couldn't function the next day!!! took me off and put me on Neurotin (sp) so we will see.

When I grow up I STILL want to be an old woman.....Mets and ALL! Dx 7/22/2008, ILC, 6cm+, Stage IV, 2/3 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Nov 3, 2010 12:45PM 3monstmama wrote:

hmmm, interesting thread.  My therapist gave me a prescription for Ambien because the stress at work coupled with the bc issues was impacting my sleep.  She suggested that I not take it on a regular basis but only when I have had trouble sleeping and my usual relaxation methods aren't working---one of my tricks has always been to visualize myself doing something i like, step-by step, like cooking or knitting or whatever.  I have also had good results with hot herbal teas before bed.

I have yet to get the prescription filled---a bit nervous about taking a sleep aid as I have never done it before.  Then again, the not sleeping doesn't help the anxiety or the curative process.

My husband has had problems sleeping for YEARS.  He will wake up at 2 or 3 or 4 and be unable to get back to sleep. Regretably, he is VERY anti-meds, even OTC stuff like aspirin. 

Have to consider that melatonien [sp]......wonder if DH would consider trying it...not sure what you guys are like sleep deprived but he is god awful...

Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.
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Nov 3, 2010 11:37PM CrunchyPoodleMama wrote:

Oh boy, I was massively using Ambien the summer before I was diagnosed. I was one of those who had crazy hallucinogenic experiences on it (in fact, I would post very bizarre things on Facebook after taking it). That's not the reason I stopped, though - I remember finding articles about Ambien causing fibrocystic breast changes (um, can't be good for a BC patient).

I have had insomnia pretty much my entire life... the only way I can sleep well is by:

 - sleeping in 100% total darkness (not even a tiny stereo light showing - the room must be BLACK)
 - exercising and getting sunlight exposure every day
 - listening to an insomnia self-hypnosis mp3

I've tried various natural supplements... large doses of melatonin worked for me (the regular dose did nothing), but I've read that you shouldn't take melatonin long-term or your body could stop manufacturing it.

Thankfully, as kooky as it sounds, self-hypnosis mp3's actually work! I use my iPod on "sleep" mode and turn it on... next thing I know, it's morning and my iPod headphones are all tangled around me. LOL

Julia ~ Dear friends, do what you can to help your body fight/prevent cancer. 1. Supplement with iodine and vitamin D. 2. STOP taking hormonal birth control/HRT. 3. Eat organic real food, not chemical or fake food. Dx 11/13/2009, DCIS, 4cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/0 nodes, ER+/PR+
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Nov 4, 2010 01:46AM - edited Aug 20, 2013 06:05AM by SusieMTN

I think Simple Sleep has the same ingredient as Benedryl.  I was taking that for sleep but also have allergies, so figured it would work two ways for me.  Mentioned it when I refilled my Tamoxifen and Pharmacist said it reduces the effectiveness of Tamoxife by 50 percent.........If i wasn't Er positve I would still be taking it.  The Neurotin helps with Hot Flashes without a doubt, none today so far, even helps with the tingling in fingers, jury is out on sleep stuff...........LOL took an Ambein last night at 3:30 am couldn't take it anymore!   Amazed I didn't feel weird today, actually felt OK.....

When I grow up I STILL want to be an old woman.....Mets and ALL! Dx 7/22/2008, ILC, 6cm+, Stage IV, 2/3 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Nov 4, 2010 01:53AM debbie6122 wrote:

I have been taking ambien for about 4 years now and i cant get off of it, i cut the 10mg tablets in 1/4 im like crunchy i cant take the very much of it, i was given a whole 10mg in the hospital and i started seeing little green men running around my room and i walked into the nurses station and raided there refrigerater, didnt remember till the next day i had all this food in my food tray- i told the nurse about it, luckily she thought it was funny and didnt put me in a straightjacket, but she cut it in half and i was fine- but wish i could sleep without it- as long as i get at least 7 hrs sleep im ok the next day

masectomy, chemo, node positive Dx 12/20/2009, IDC, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Nov 4, 2010 11:18PM SusieMTN wrote:

Sherri - yes would love to know for sure! 

When I grow up I STILL want to be an old woman.....Mets and ALL! Dx 7/22/2008, ILC, 6cm+, Stage IV, 2/3 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Nov 7, 2010 08:49AM R_healing wrote:

I was addicted to Ambien (regular, not CR) for almost 18 months.  I took 15-20 mg of generic Ambien EVERY night to manage sleep issues prior to be Dx to manage jet lag from my heavy work travel schedule.  I tried tapering down my dose as well as quitting cold turkey - both with nasty side effects (no sleep, ringing in ears, headaches, anxiety, etc.).  What worked for me was easing down the dose of Ambien while supplementing with Xanax.  Ambien is an anti-psychotic and affects your brain chemistry.  Xanax is a different type of drug and does not have the effects that Ambien does.  You may want to talk to your doctor about using Xanax or Triazidone (an older sedative product) as a mechanism for getting you off Ambien.  It worked for me and I am finally free of the Ambien for good!

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Sep 25, 2020 09:43PM littlemissy76 wrote:

hi, just came across this old thread. I'm looking for a little help with the same issue you had. If you happen to see this, would you mind elaborating on how you used Xanax to get off Ambien? ex: using it every other night, or just on the rough nights? how long did you have to use the xanax for? Thanks :)

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Sep 25, 2020 11:45PM exbrnxgrl wrote:

little missy,

This is a ten year old thread. You might consider starting a new thread on the topic to find active members who can offer support. All the best

Bilateral mx 9/7/11 with one step ns reconstruction. As of 11/21/11, 2cm met to upper left femur Dx 7/8/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/7/2011 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Dx 11/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IV, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 11/21/2011 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 11/21/2011 Bone Hormonal Therapy 6/19/2014 Femara (letrozole) Hormonal Therapy Aromasin (exemestane)
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Sep 26, 2020 05:12PM MinusTwo wrote:

littlemissy - you can click on the name of each previous poster and see how long since that person has been on BCO. The one above your post was 2011. If you find someone who is still actively posting, you could probably send them a private message or see what threads they are using now.

2/15/11 BMX-DCIS 2SNB clear-TEs; 9/15/11-410gummies; 3/20/13 recurrance-5.5cm,mets to lymphs, Stage IIIB IDC ER/PRneg,HER2+; TCH/Perjeta/Neulasta x6; ALND 9/24/13 1/18 nodes 4.5cm; AC chemo 10/30/13 x3; herceptin again; Rads Feb2014

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