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About Ambien

Discussion forum about the side effects of Ambien. Share your experience and opinion about Ambien. What would you tell your best friend about this product? Please remember that we do not give medical advice. That is for your local health care provider, who is familiar with your medical history.

Feel like throwing up
I took my 5 mg of Zolpidem and I feel like throwing up. I'm just wondering If I throw up will anything worse happen? Or anything. I hate feeling like this and I don't want to go to sleep with this feeling. I'm also really dizzy. Please respond.

AskDocWeb: About 7% of people taking Ambien experience nausea. If you vomit in your sleep there is a serious concern about choking and/or drowning if you sleep on your back.

Long term effects of Ambien
I've been on Ambien for 5 years starting when I was 16, we tried everything else and this is the only way I get to sleep at night. I have delayed sleep phase syndrome and take ritalin in the morning to wake up. Ambien has saved me from staying awake until 3am every night staring at the ceiling. It makes me feel kind of drunk but not any crazy side affects I can't deal with. I do have a question about memory loss though. When I drink I don't take my Ambien, but I still blackout pretty easily. Is that the Ambien since I've been on it for 5 years? What other long term affects can I expect?

AskDocWeb: Taking Ambien long term increases the risk for withdrawal when the pills are stopped. Withdrawal symptoms may include panic attacks, flushing of the skin, dizziness, muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting, uncontrollable crying, and others. These symptoms can be reduced by your doctor with a tapering plan to gradually remove the drug from the system.

Using sleep hypnotics such as Ambien for more than 4 weeks can lead to damaged sleep staging. If taken long-term, this can provoke insomnia that is actually worse than the insomnia the drug was intended to treat.

Over time the body can build up a tolerance for Ambien.

Finally, Ambien acts on the central nervous system and slow the brain's activity. This is one reason why it's important to seek medical help when you stop taking Ambien. Activity in the brain can rebound and race out of control to the point that seizures can occur.

Attempted suicide under the influence of Ambien
I've been taking Ambien for 13 years now. Sometimes I was walking in the house, eating during the night writing emails or letters but never remembered. My husband told me the stories and saw the letters or emails I could see I was very confused. It wasn't a big deal and never told my doctors about it because I wanted to keep my sleeps at night. Last week it went too far. I'm just coming back from Psych Hospital where they kept me 3 days because I tried to kill myself under the influence of the Ambien. Never been suicidal before! Just did my first night without anything to sleep. I probably slept 3 hours really agitated with weird dreams. I know it's going to be tough but I don't want to gamble my life for a pill. It's a first step. I will never take Ambien again.

I'm confused
My wife is a R.N. who takes Ambien every night. Over the past year she has told me of a few occasions where she has helped her patients (male) ejaculate while giving them their baths. After telling me the same story, I finally questioned her about one of these episodes the next day. She got very angry and defensive telling me how that is unethical, and she would NEVER do anything like that......Now, I'm confused, why is her stories so consistent, even if it's a lie?

AskDocWeb: It is possible to be consistent if she is describing the same hallucinations over and over again while under the influence of this hypnotic drug. That doesn't mean that any such event actually occurred. Let's look at this from another angle. If you dreamed that someone borrowed money from you, would you try to collect it? If you find that idea ridiculous, don't try to hold her accountable for what she did while hallucinating.

Ambien withdrawal
My name is Joe and I'm an RN. I take ambien nightly at 10-20mg despite the 20mg dose being "high dose, off label strength". But some people require a higher dose. I wanted to switch to a different agent but they are all addictive and I need something to induce sleep. I have fibromyalgia and if I dont sleep at night I fall asleep at my desk or wile driving because Im so fatigued. A sleeping agent forces me to sleep at night and I am very well rested and fully functional during the day because of it.

A couple of days ago I had to be awake all night and skipped the ambien. I was finally able to go to sleep at 0800 and I was pretty tired after being awake for over 24 hours and thought I would sleep for a while and get up like I used to when I worked night shift. But I didnt take any ambien because it was 0800(am) and I didnt want to sleep all day.

Without the ambien (cold turkey) I was thrown into immediate ambien withdrawl. I was sleeping in a "locked in" state. By locked in I mean I was sleeping but I was conscious but couldnt move or speak. I tried to wake my self up but I couldnt. I finally started screaming in my mind as loud as I could and finally a small real noise escaped my mouth. Eventually I screamed for real and finally work up. I jumped out of bed like it was a torture cage and took 10mg of ambien. When I fell back to sleep it was normal restful sleep. I had to redose at 10pm so I could sleep all night and go to work the next day.

The moral of my story is this: as an Ambien addict, missing a dose is hard on you and it starts the withdrawl symptoms with a vengence. If you want to discontinue ambien get a pill cutter and do a slow taper under doctor prescribed with drawl sequence. And if you miss a dose on purpose for a life event that keeps you awake all night, take the missed dose as soon as you can and before trying to sleep or you will have a really hard time. I hope the post helps someone.

Health note: We recently became aware of a treatment for sleep apnea called oral myofunctional therapy, which appears to have a lot of promise for some who suffer from sleep apnea. This is essentially an exercise program for your mouth and tongue.

You could be "tongue tied" and not know it, which could be affecting your sleep. The specialist to consult for this is an orofacial mycologist. The program takes about one year to change the muscles and increase the size of the oral cavity to decrease obstructive sleep apnea, but you could start noticing improvement in as little as one week.

Therapists are trained to eliminate negative oral habits through behavior modification techniques and promote positive growth patterns. What kind of things do they teach?
  • developing a lip seal
  • correct abdominal (diaphragmatic) breathing
  • habitual nasal breathing
  • how to properly position the tongue at rest
  • how to chew correctly
  • how to swallow correctly
  • how to maintain proper head and neck posture
According to a 2007 case report published in International Archives of Otorhinolaryngology:

"Speech therapy treatment could be considered a new therapy for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea patients because of its direct action on oral motility. The myofunctional therapy includes the correct use of the stomatognatic structures and functions by means of functional exercises (respiratory, suction, swallowing and chewing) and muscular exercises with the aim of increasing the tonus and mobility of oral and cervical structures, which can be damaged in apneic patients."

Myofunctional therapy appears to be an excellent first step if you suspect you might have sleep apnea. Doing that before starting any sleep studies, oral surgery, or getting expensive machines could save you a lot of money. Is there one in your area?

Long term use of Ambien
I've been taking ambien for 3 years now, I take 10mg nightly and have for a long time. When I feel I am becoming dependant or like I need to increase the dosage I simply stop taking them for a week. No withdrawls, no side effects other than it is harder for me to go to sleep. I might take a benedryl or over the counter sleep meds during the week I don't take my ambien. Then I take it as perscribed and it works for me again. This is not to say that I don't experiance the side effects.

Ambien makes me hyper some nights and then I will crash an hour later, I frequently can't remember conversations with my husband or e-mails I sent if I get up and go to the computer. I also know that I have to stay in bed and not get out of bed or I will eat and eat and eat and eat and eat.

My advice is this: only take it at the recommended dosage, try it out for a month and see how it makes you feel. Stay in bed (after you take it). If you feel better and can stop taking it, great! You have found why doctors perscribe it. It is very helpful to a lot of people. If you have issues after a month, stop taking it! Common sense stuff really.

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This consumer advocate website is protected by copyright 2008-2012 Askdocweb, Inc. All Rights Reserved. This is a layman's report on Ambien and is not intended to replace discussions with a health care provider. Do not use the information on this forum as a substitute for your doctor's advice. Always consult your doctor before taking any drug and follow your doctor's directions. Source material: Food and Drug Administration, Medline, Physician's Desk Reference, and the largest community of people in the world, those who are concerned about side effects and healthcare.
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