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Dealing with insomnia due to pain and illness?

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  • #21
    I love love love trazedone. Many people have different experiences with it but I've been on it 8+ years for lifelong insomnia and wouldn't have it any other way.

    Ironically my "mystery illness" I'm dealing with right now makes it totally unnecessary but man. Trazedone. Love it.
    Forward momentum!


    • #22
      50mg is a pretty darned high dose of Elavil (amitryptaline). And not too many people tolerate it well, especially if you've had a head injury. Found this out after I had a severe allergic reaction to it, after having taken it several times, and had to be rushed to the ER, code 3 with police escort.

      Seroquel made me hallucinate. I thought the Virgin Mary was in my room with me.

      Also be careful with Ativan or any of those types of drugs, as they can be VERY physically addictive. And withdrawl can cause seizures, especially in people with head injuries. SO if your doctor tells you to take them like candy, best to find a new doctor

      Dramamine and Benadryl are the only things that work for me. I have to alternate them occasionally (when one stops working I switch to the other). I also have to have my special pillow or I have an even harder time falling asleep. Also, look at the drugs you are taking. Some will hype some people up even though they really shouldn't. I have to take one of my meds by 10 am or I don't sleep that night. And supposedly it shouldn't do that.


      • #23
        Seroquel made me hallucinate. I thought the Virgin Mary was in my room with me.
        This cracked me up. I wouldn't know that was a hallucination and would think it was a miracle! Especially since one of my favorite get-to-sleep relaxers is saying the rosary...

        Interesting the repetitive comments about dealing with the pain.

        I finally learned when I wrecked my knee, that there is more to narcotics than just pain relief. I HEALED better when I would take the Vicodin at night. I HATED taking it, but the healing, and the cessation of pain in the morning was fairly dramatic.

        Nothing useful to add, really, just that I find that interesting to tuck into the back of the mind.
        InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs

        Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)


        • #24
          One thing that I have become quite cautious about is using Tylenol PM's, Benedryl, or Advil PM's. After my last round of Lyme med's, I found I was taking up to 20 pills a day (between supplements and prescription medications). I began to become very worried that I may not have a liver when everything is said and done. That is why I have started to do the holistic/natural route. I am afraid of the long term effects of some of these medications.
          Keep in mind...normal is just a dryer setting.~anonymous


          • #25
            check out Clonidine

            I have Insomnia and RLS so I cant take Benadryl. I have been in several sleep studies and my sleep doc had me on ambien for a year...really helped, never felt any addiction to it. I stopped the Ambien about 6 months ago.
            My Insomnia/RLS has been excruciatingly bad this last few months so I finally dragged myself to my GP.( I had to cuz its Rolex weekend I dont wanna be an exhausted zombie during Rolex! ) He put me on Clonidine...WOW. Its only been 3 days ...but WOW! They use it off-label for kids with Attention Deficiet. And also for RLS and Sleep Apnea. It has really quieted my mind enough to go to sleep, and so far I havent had any RLS episodes. I have actually been waking up refreshed...


            • #26
              Originally posted by Friesiancross View Post
              One thing that I have become quite cautious about is using Tylenol PM's, Benedryl, or Advil PM's. After my last round of Lyme med's, I found I was taking up to 20 pills a day (between supplements and prescription medications). I began to become very worried that I may not have a liver when everything is said and done. That is why I have started to do the holistic/natural route. I am afraid of the long term effects of some of these medications.
              No doubt! It makes me very anxious to hear about people using things like this as if they were harmless, day after day. They are not.

              RE: Activan being addictive, yes it is. HOWEVER... Consider this... If you have a chronic illness that is not ever going to go away, taking an Activan every night is the LEAST of your medication worries. I take the lowest dose possible and have stayed on that dose for over ten years... My doctor says people are unnecessarily afraid of Activan because they are used to seeing it used as pre surgery meds (big dose, stoned person!) rather than in a very small dose.... At my age with my history having to take a pill every day that has NO side effects and is dosed so small that I am not detectibly affected... Yes, going to take that pill and get my eight hours of sleep! Yeah!
              "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
              The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.


              • #27
                I am sure you will probably still need pharmaceutical help, but have you looked into getting a different bed to sleep in? I know when I was having lots of back issues, I would constantly wake up with my back and hips bothering me, it would be harder to go to sleep, etc. I tried adding memory foam on top, which helped a little but mr. pharmgirl hated it.

                Decided one day to get a Select Comfort sleep number bed, and it's been amazing! It's adjustability in firmness came in handy when I broke myself and couldn't sleep in the normal positions I like, so I could adjust how firm it was to support my body so it would be less sore. They are expensive, but I got mine on special at QVC so delivery was included and could pay for it in several monthly installments.


                • Original Poster

                  I would love to get a Select number comfort bed, my husband and I looked at them, but with the $1,300 a month bills for my IV meds for the next 4 months not going to happen.

                  So the zolpidem 10mg is working well. I take it with benedryl, which my doctor says is ok, because of my allergies in the spring and summer. The only thing is that to fall asleep by 10pm I have to take it at 7pm, which is kinda annoying but hey I can deal.

                  Thanks for all the info on what works for you guys! I love this area of the forum.


                  • #29
                    I've had insomnia as far back as I can remember, and it got increasingly worse in worse over the past four years.

                    Ambian just makes me a little goofy, Lunesta doesn't do a thing, OTC things like benadryl only knock me out for a couple of hours, several xanax will knock me out but their addictive and my history with drug abuse and such doesn't make for a good argument to use it to sleep, plus the rebound anxiety once the med wears off the next day makes me feel like I'll explode. I have used trazedone in the past but it gave me AWFUL headaches the next day.

                    Calcium/Magnesium is quite helpful, actually, I take it at night or mid day if I'm super anxious. Melatonin is probably one of your best bets, it's what our brain uses when we sleep anyways (to put it simply). I'm also on BusPar for anxiety (a non-benzo, so not addicting) which has actually been helping me sleep better, an anti-depressant, and two mood stabilizers, and being treated for depression didn't HELP my insomnia, in fact, a lot of these drugs will cause insomnia. I'm going off my meds one by one, and the withdrawal from the anti-depressant makes my sleeping terrible, but it's just something I've got to get through before I can start a new med.

                    So, IMHO, DON'T go on meds you don't need. They suck to come off of. Not saying to not treat depression, just make sure you know the full blown side effects and withdrawal symptoms before you take anything.

                    Glad to hear the zolpidem is working! Hopefully it'll be your ticket to a better nights sleep


                    • #30
                      I took zolipidem, but quit when I'd had complete, apparently coherent conversatoins with DH that I couldn't remember. Once in a while Benadryl gives me a HUGE hangover, so I avoid it like the plague. I prefer the OTC medicine in Unisom, which helps sometimes.

                      However, there are still nights when nothing helps. I think I slept maybe 2 hours last night.
                      A proud friend of bar.ka.


                      • #31
                        Oh don't get me wrong, Ativan and the other benzos can be great drugs. But the physical addiction is something to be very aware of. I had a doctor tell me just to take one when I felt dizzy or to help me sleep, without warning me AT ALL about their addictive nature. The next thing I knew, I was taking 4mg of Klonipin a day. Every day. I should have been on .5 to 1 mg a day. And once you get that physically addicted to them, the withdrawl SUCKS. It's just something to keep in the back of your mind if you do need to use those drugs.

                        Something to watch out for with the Ambien is sleep walking, driving, eating, trying to drink cleaning chemicals, etc. A friend was on it for a while. She felt GREAT. Hubby, not so much. He was up most of the night trying to keep her from accidentally killing herself. She also put on about 60lb by eating all night while on it. As in, she would eat an entire chocolate cake and wake up with chocolate icing all over the place. It doesn't do that to many people, but it's just something to watch out for. The last straw for her and her hubby was when she thought the floor cleaner was mouth wash, so she was going to gargle with it.

                        Insomnia and the medications necessary to deal with it sure do suck.


                        • #32
                          hope this helps

                          my brother bought me, for my birthday, a thick liner of memory foam in addition, once I am in bed at night, I take half of a Darvocert or Vicodin; if needed an antispasmodic, and then sleep through the night!
                          breeder of Mercury!

                          remember to enjoy the moment, and take a moment to enjoy and give God the glory for these wonderful horses in our lives.BECAUSE: LIFE is What Happens While Making Other Plans


                          • #33

                            Have you tried it? I used it in the nursing home/ rehab where, I was afraid to fall asleep; It did the job, I woke up fresh, rested, with no drugged feeling;since I've been on oxygen I am also more comfortable
                            Last edited by Carol Ames; May. 8, 2010, 03:20 PM. Reason: typostypos
                            breeder of Mercury!

                            remember to enjoy the moment, and take a moment to enjoy and give God the glory for these wonderful horses in our lives.BECAUSE: LIFE is What Happens While Making Other Plans


                            • #34
                              10 mg amitriptyline for me, too! But there's a problem at the moment. The pharmacist can't get the 10 mg size from the manufacturer, so couldn't fill my prescription on Friday. I've had two very restless nights so far, even though I took Ibuprophen before bed time. And then I have a huge nap after breakfast, and wake up stupid. It takes a good hour for me to get all circuits firing after a nap like that. But no nap is no good. I just end up angry and crying for no reason.
                              My Equestrian Art Photography page


                              • #35
                                Originally posted by rcloisonne View Post
                                Low dose amitriptyline (10-25mg). Also helps with chronic pain.
                                YES!! This stuff is amazing. I'm up to 25 mg. a night now and I feel better than I have in years. A lot of the chronic pain has diminished, I sleep very soundly and feel so much better during the day. It did take about 4 weeks before I really started to notice the changes - you have to stick with it for awhile - but this drug has given me a lot of hope.


                                • #36
                                  I just wanted to say that last week when I HAD to sleep, after two nights of not sleeping, and had to reverse my schedule to drive 4 hrs in the morning, I tried the Benadryll/Melatonin combo...

                                  And for the first time EVER on a night before a trip like that... I fell asleep, and stayed asleep.

                                  I'll be trying it again. The next night, staying in basically 5* accomodations I didn't sleep a wink... but...

                                  It worked that one night!
                                  InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs

                                  Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)


                                  • #37
                                    For insomnia related to depression - trazadone (start at a low dose like 25mg at bedtime) can be helpful too though I agree with the comments re: amitryptyline being a good option as well. Trazadone is very sedating but is an antidepressant as well. It's something that just has to be tried as some ppl will have hangover in the AM with it and some will not.

                                    Another antidepressant with a lot of sedation is mirtazapine (remeron). It works on serotonin like other SSRI antidepressants but also blocks histamine receptors (H1 receptors) like benadryl. So it can be helpful if taken in the evening. Downside is more weight gain vs. other SSRI's (zoloft, prozac, paxil) or TCA's (amitryptyline, nortriptyline).

                                    I have had a lot of my patients tell me that Ambien (zolpidem) did not work well to keep them asleep if they were insomniacs that not only had trouble falling asleep but staying asleep. Switching to Ambien CR (long-acting) may help but then you do risk some hangover effects. Lastly - a good handful of patients have sworn to me that Lunesta (eszopiclone) works for them better than Ambien.

                                    I think sleep aids must be tried and failed and just because one doesn't work doesn't mean others might not succeed. It can become a battle with your insurance company though to document the "failures" so they will cover things off your formulary. A good doctor should help you do this.

                                    I should also add that if the insomnia is truly secondary to depression many ppl will find that even with a non-sedating SSRI/TCA, after about 2 weeks of therapy their sleep habits improve. Usually that is the first positive symptom people report + improvement in appetite (less if they were hungry all the time before or more if they were loosing interest in food). Full effect on mood can take 4 weeks to kick in, but sleep habits generally improve sooner.


                                    • #38
                                      Originally posted by GaellentQuest View Post
                                      I would love to get a Select number comfort bed, my husband and I looked at them, but with the $1,300 a month bills for my IV meds for the next 4 months not going to happen.
                                      Have you actually slept on one of those number comfort beds? One of the hotels my mom stays at for work has them (I drive her often because she has a bad leg and can't drive herself, and the train between here and there is staffed by crazy people[1]) and I've tried them on several trips now and really not been all that impressed. My memory foam mattress is much more comfortable for me. (Actual mattress, though, not just a topper.)

                                      I mean, I'm sure different things work for different people, since I know people who HATE memory foam, but I'd definitely try to organize some kind of nice long trial before committing to the cost of any specialty mattress.

                                      I'm glad someone else mentioned the PM thing, also - Tylenol in particular it doesn't take much at all over a normal dose to really hammer your liver, and they're finding now that most NSAIDs (like Advil) have increased risk of cardiac events. (Like that one drug that was recalled a few years ago in a big stink? Yeah. Aspirin is apparently still okay, though.)

                                      So I wouldn't want to be taking either of those regularly just for the sleep aid.

                                      If your pain really is THAT bad that you can't sleep, then it's time to go to the doctor for something more effective than whatever you have now. If you're not getting quality sleep, you're probably actually functionally making your pain worse, because your body is stressed by the lack of sleep and that tends to INCREASE body-wide inflammation levels. (Note that of course I still keep crazy hours during term time at college. Do as I say, not as I do, all of that. Hah.)

                                      If you think you might be depressed, I'd bring that up also. Sleeping issues are not necessarily due to depression, but they can be. (Note that depression does not always actually manifest as being really down and mopey and 'emo' - irrational or out-of-place anger/irritation can also be a symptom of depression. Kind of like a kid being cranky about everything, but the adult version.)

                                      [1]- Long story.


                                      • #39
                                        I have been a horrible sleeper ever since I had kids. But lately I have found a Webber Naturals product called Super Sleep. But it is made in Canada.

                                        It has Melatonin, L-Theanine and 5HTP in it and no "drugs". I've improved my pre-bed routines, cut out caffein after my 4:00 pm cuppa tea, avoid anything that is hard to digest, make sure I am not thirsty, hungry, need to go to the bathroom, etc. and I honestly feel they are working. They are large chewables, something like TUMS and taste slightly sour - not too bad really. They take about 45 miutes to work, but I feel 100% better.

                                        I think the trick is to have a proper bedtime routine, darkened room, quiet, etc.
                                        (Not sure what to do with the snoring husband ...)

                                        I have a great life, am quite spoiled and don't put it down to depression that I cannot sleep - I'm just basically a night owl. So far, so good. Just once I tried a prescriptin pill given to me by a girlfriend - oh my, I could hardly climb the stairs, never again....no wonder so many people die in retirement residences when there is a fire - noone can get them out they are all so drugged.
                                        Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


                                        • #40
                                          Sorry - I got sidetracked and forgot to add the last comment that I'm sorry for your pain - that's got to be very sleep depriving, but have no answer there.
                                          Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique