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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.


How long can I take Ambien?
Date: 1/26/2011
How long is it safe to take ambien? Can I take it every night for years?
Margaret

AskDocWeb: The patient information for Ambien says that it is recommended for 7-10 days, not years. If sleeping pills are needed for a longer period, an evaluation by a physician is recommended to determine if another medical condition is responsible for the insomnia.


Hallucinations of dead people
Date: 1/26/2011
I am a teenager, and when I first started using this medication I truly believed that it had taken my sleeplessness away. Within weeks, I would wake up in the morning with texts or calls on my phone that I had absolutely no recollection of sending. My boyfriend began telling me stories about me calling him in the middle of the night and acting strange. I would wake up with things in my room rearranged, cleaned and different than how they had been the night before. I was confused and nervous but didn't take it seriously until I scared myself out of this medicine.

One night, I was "awake" for nearly six hours. During this time, I got up and stood in my 13 year old brother's doorway talking to him, and scaring him beyond belief. I went back into my room and started having hallucinations of dead people standing around my bed. I called my boyfriend hysterically crying and leaving him at a loss for words. This medication truly scares me. The night I claimed to see dead people, I have absolutely no recollection of. I even brought my brother into my nightmare which leaves me with an intense feeling of helplessness. One pill can change everything, whether you know it or not. I hope people realize this as early as I did.
Julie


Hard or fast pounding heart
Date: 1/27/2011
I've been taking Ambien this time for about a year. I took it for about that long previously as well, then saw a sleep doctor and tried to switch to something else, but nothing else worked as well or as consistently. I take 5 mg--cutting the 10 mg pill in 1/2 as 10 mg either knocks me out so I can't function the next day, or doesn't put me to sleep at all. I've noticed in the literature that there are possible side effects of hard or fast pounding heart. I've been noticing hard/fast pounding heart during the day sometimes lately, without cause. Could this be due to long term Ambien use? Please respond.
Evelyn

AskDocWeb: Since Ambien is intended for short-term use (7-10 days), the effects of using it long-term are not well documented. A couple of people have reported experiencing a racing heart sensation, one after using Ambien for 1 month, the other after using it for 1 year.


Sleep induced shopping sprees
Date: 1/28/2011
I have been taking Ambien for 5 years. I have had horrible insomnia since a spinal cord injury in 05. For the longest time I noticed no side effects. After building a tolerance to 5mg I was put on 10mg. That's when I started 3a.m housecleaning, called 911 to report a break in that wasn't happening, getting packages in the mail from my sleep induced shopping sprees....just to name a few. Some incidents seemed like dreams, others I didn't remember at all. I stopped taking Ambien almost a week ago and have been taking an OTC sleep aid. I'm not sure if I will go back on Ambien or not, if so it will be under 10mgs. I am having some mild nausea and jitters, which I'm guessing is withdrawals. It's not horrible but definately uncomfortable. Your body builds a tolerance to any chemical over time and you can become psychologically or physically dependent on anything you consume and/or do.
K Girl


Cleaning under the influence
Date: 1/29/2011
I have taken Ambien 10 mg for the last 24 months. I can't fall asleep without it now. On rare occasion when I try to sleep without taking one my sleep is extremely fragmented with multiple awakenings. As mentioned above by someone else, on those nights where I try to sleep without one I do experience the most unusual dreams/nightmares during the little "mini-naps" that occur during the night. On nights where I do take them, the events that unfold sometimes are amazing. I sometimes wake in the morning to a cleaned house, which normally would be ok, however my mindset while I am cleaning under the influence isn't always necessarily the same as if I were sober. I seem to think things should be arranged (such as kitchenware, household items) in totally different places than usual. I also find myself posting to Ambien forums when I have taken an Ambien and not fallen straight asleep.
Brian


Double vision
Date: 1/29/2011
How long does the double vision last? Please help, desperate to get on with my day
Celena

AskDocWeb: There are reports of Ambien causing double vision for those who do not go to bed within 30 minutes of taking it. Any double vision should be brought to the attention of your doctor.



Date: 2/2/2011
I am taking zolpidem for over 3 months and sometime it doesn't help I stay awake most of the time. I take 10mg at bedtime. One night I took 20mg then I finally went to sleep. No side effect noticed.
Liliana


Program in Florida?
Date: 2/2/2011
I have been on ambien for more than 10 years. For last five years, have been prescribed 20mgs. per night. I know I have become tolerant and often can't sleep even at this dose. I want to get professional help - either inpatient or outpatient. Can someone recommend a program in Florida, Pennsylvania or Illinois that is safe? My doctor won't help.
Jolyne

AskDocWeb: Since we don't live in any of those states, it is up to readers to make a recommendation. If you live in one of those states, can you help Jolyne?


Ambien side effects
Date: 2/6/2011
I have been taking generic ambian occasionally for two years. I sleep better without it now. I experienced waking several times a night, short term memory issues, and now polyuria, and other bladder issues that have me concerned enough to go to the doctor. I had a worse time with lunesta. take this drug VERY carefully and not more than prescribed.
Shelly


Shave the dead skin off my foot
Date: 2/6/2011
I took 10mg of Ambien this amount did not work so I too more to the point of 120mgs, I later woke was convinced of the need to shave the dead skin off my foot. I subsequently severely injured myself. This drug is DANGEROUS.
Joe


I count myself lucky
Date: 2/7/2011
I have worked in public safety for the last seven years, 12-hr night shifts. After about four years, I found myself tired ALL the time (could sleep 15+ hours and still be dead tired). Finally went to the doc about two years ago, and did a sleep study. After getting the results, my doctor told me I had the worst sleep-wake cycle she'd ever seen. Basically, I was never really reaching REM. She prescribed Ambien, and I was pertrified. Instead of taking the 10mg tablets, I asked they reduce me to 5mg. They worked pretty well, but I would wake after four hours, then eventually fall back to sleep. I eventually went to the 10mg, and am presently on CR. Have had a few weird dreams, and if I don't go to bed right away, I may do a little Amazon shopping, that I don't recall until the package hits my doorstep. But otherwise, I count myself lucky. Haven't suffered any of the other adverse side effects, and I'm actually awake, after a good 7-9 hours sleep. I have also noticed if I try to sleep without Ambien (on vacation), I count sheep for hours, then eventually break down and take an ambien. Scary to think I cannot sleep without it. If prescribed, I'd definitely ask to start with the 5mg to see how it affects you.
Jenny


Hooked on Ambien
Date: 2/7/2011
I am 26 and have been using Ambien for almost 2 years. I am hooked, I get nervous when I run out. I have said crazy things while on it, not remembering what I said but only by friends telling me. I have forgetful memory. I have tried to stop multiple times and have not slept for days.I am sorry I ever started taking it. I feel like a crackhead. I need help. I stopped smoking cigarettes woke up to bring my son to school and seen a fresh pack of cigarettes in my car from me going to the store in the middle of the night(didn't remember going to the store). Totally freaked me out!!
Court

AskDocWeb: It is important to remember that if insomnia persists beyond 7 to 10 days this may indicate the presence of a primary psychiatric and/or medical illness that should be evaluated. The specialist in this area can be found at sleep disorder centers.


26 year old mother of 2
Date: 2/10/2011
Hi, my name is Vanessa and last night will be the LAST NIGHT I ever take Ambien again. I have been on Ambien on/off for over 2 1/2 years. I am 26 years old and a mother of 2. I started taking Ambien after suffering a few really intense bouts of insomnia after obtaining a graveyard shift position at a local hospital (I am a Registered Nurse). I was having a hard time sleeping during the day after my night shift. I was really anxious about how my body or mind would suffer without sleep, I simply could not switch my mind off. So I started taking Ambien. About 2.5 to 5mg at a time.

At first, it worked like a charm. Then I started liking the feeling of falling asleep instantly. Why toss and turn when you can just pop a pill and go to dreamland? So I started taking it a more normal basis. My first daughter was about a year old then. My husband said I started acting really weird. And apparently one night, my daughter woke up hungry. I got up and made her a bottle and brought her back to bed with me. I have no memory of this. I do however remember being up later that night, thinking there were "bad" ppl in the room and I was looking at them like "why are you here???!!".

After a few more months, my desire for the quick access to sleep became addicting. I now felt like I COULD NOT sleep without it. My mother in law saw what it was doing to me so she agreed to hide it for me, out of sight, out of mind. I called her one night from my house, begging her to bring it to me. She didnt want to but I convinced her it would be a one time thing. But it wasnt. Eventually after several months I was able to kick it. And I didnt get my script filled.

Fast forward to the future. I am 7 months pregnant with our second child and bam, the insomnia begins. I wanted so badly to just fall asleep on my own and I needed the energy more than you could imagine. I was pregnant and had a toddler while working full time. I needed sleep. After discussing this with my ob doc, she recommended an antidepressant. I didnt want to go that route. So I had my primary doctor fill my Ambien. I thought, I would take it only if I had too. I took Ambien a handful of times when I was pregnant. Ambien is a Class C medication for use during pregnancy. That means there is no evidence to suggest it is bad for your baby, but also no evience to suggest that it is good for them either.

After I had our second daughter, I was right back on the Ambien train. But this time, I was breastfeeding so I am made a really honest attempt of significantly reducing my dosage and taking it only when neccessary. However, about a month ago I started having again bizarre behavior. I became a huge BIT**. Even to my older daughter. I once even screamed and cried in front of her, glaring at her saying "why wont you go just take a nap, I'm sick of this crap!" She is only 3. I stepped back at myself, appalled. What was I doing? THIS WAS NOT ME. But I couldn't control my emotions. It was like I would get these intense feelings of euphoria and then rage.

About a week ago I was at work and a patient's family member yelled at me for a really silly reason. I felt really sad and overwhelmed at their anger however, and I left the room and began to cry uncontrollably. I went to our break room where other coworkers consoled me, saying "oh you poor thing, all the hormones of just having the baby", inclining that I was just hormonal and therefore emotional. But I knew the real reason. It was the ambien. However, I would not take it every night. On the nights I did not take it, I would have these horryifing dreams. Like strait horrifying. Things about murder, suicide, awful things. Again this is not normal for me.

Then last night, the dreaded Insomnia. So I took a Ambien. Next thing I remember, my 3 month old is my bed and I am nursing her. Although she sleeps in a bassinette right next to me, I do not recall her fussing, me consoling her or nursing her. This is it. I have reached the end my rope. The remainder bottle of Ambien is down the toilet. I will not live another day in it's shadow, trapped by it's strange addiction. Its a new day, and I would rather by pure exhausted, sleep depriven and healthy with the my babies safety close then anything this drug could do for me. I am done with it.

My advice is to stay clear from this medication. You might be dog tired but you WILL sleep eventually. Dont give in to it. Ambien is a wolf in sheep's clothing. It brings NOTHING good to you. Ambien will not own me anymore. Take care.
Nurse Vanessa

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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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