Sleeping pill dependence - How to wean off them?

I can only sleep when taking Zoplicone, I have been prescribed this for 7 years and have tried nurmerous times to wean miyself off but still can't sleep without them. The sleep deprivation is to hard to cope with when stopping these tablets. I have tried switching to Diazepam in the past with no luck. My GP has no other suggestions… What have others done to come off these tablets?

Posted 19 Mar 2012 at 3:59 PM
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  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Genius! I’ve been at half the lowest dose of Ativan, way less than when I started Sleepio, and am afraid to cut those in half. Your solution seems very workable. I will have to try this. Thanks so much for the suggestion!

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    I am happy to report that after almost 15 years on sleeping pills, I have completed my weaning, and the bottle is now at the back of my medicine cabinet. I tapered very slowly, working with my doctor. After so many years on the pills, I was really hesitant to try getting off of them. However, using the Sleepio techniques over this past year, and with the help of the community, I am no longer using the pills, and wake up feeling rested and refreshed most days.

    I realize that every day will not be perfect, and I can accept that. I have had insomnia for several decades, so I feel very pleased that I have come this far. I know that I will have some struggles when sleeping in a hotel or traveling over time zones. And I may have to resort to a sleeping pill at those times, but I will try not to.

    Thank you to everyone who has helped with suggestions and encouragement, and best of luck to those of you who are trying to do what I have done.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Session 5

    so helpful to hear that so many sleepios have been doing the program on meds and determined to wean yourself off of them.

  • Sleepio Member

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    I´m the same and feeling lost. I take super doses of benzos and stay awake all night. Dare not up the dose any more or I shall never get off them which I intend to do. My plan is to use Sleepio to get my sleep back and then, when I am sleeping properly, wean myself off.

  • Sleepio Member

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    That is exactly what I did. A slow taper over many months. Work with your doctor to be safe.

  • Sleepio Member

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    I wonder if anyone can help? I have been taking Zopliclone for years and now my doctor has suddenly stopped them. I was doing quite well with half a tablet that’s half of 3.75 mg for about a week, but I’m now on holiday and back to taking one a day to get a decent time. I am really worried about coping after the holiday, She has prescribed amitriptyline but that doesn’t actually get you to sleep. But anyone got any advice?

  • Sleepio Member

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    I wonder if anyone can help? I have been taking Zopliclone for years and now my doctor has suddenly stopped them. I was doing quite well with half a tablet that’s half of 3.75 mg for about a week, but I’m now on holiday and back to taking one a day to get a decent time. I am really worried about coping after the holiday, She has prescribed amitriptyline but that doesn’t actually get you to sleep. But anyone got any advice?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Hi! That sounds like a stressful situation. Could you book another appointment with your doctor to discuss tapering off? Some doctors get very nervous prescribing it long-term, but I've found they're usually happy to do so if your dosage is low enough.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Hi all! I've been using 3.75mg zopiclone for about 18 months. Since starting CBT techniques, I've decreased my use from 3-4 nights a week to 1-2.

    I have bit of a love-hate relationship with the drug. Zopiclone never fails to get me to sleep and I don't experience any side effects on it. BUT to be honest, I'm a bit ashamed to be taking a restricted medicine, as well as conscious of the risk of dependency. Those negative feelings were only making me feel more anxious about sleep, so this year I've been working on seeing zopiclone as one of many useful tools in my toolkit.

    My advice for people thinking about starting would be: try CBT first. And if that fails: use the minimum dose you can, and as a back up for the nights where you're lying awake (rather than taking them in advance). But don't beat yourself up if you need to take a pill – it's about the pattern, not the day. You're here, so you're moving in the right direction!

  • Sleepio Member

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    Session 5

    I realise my situation is not as bad as many peoples but I was on 7.5mg zopiclone for about 2 months and started to get worried about addiction. Found splitting pill in half helpful and it was quite easy getting down to 3.75mg. However from there found it difficult until my doctor advice to take one every other day, which has been a brilliant tactic. It means that even on the non zop night when I was barely sleeping to begin with I'd at lest think well tomorrow night ill get a good sleep with the zop. I only started doing this about 2-3 weeks ago and now I sleep nearly six hours on a non zop night and will only take half a 3. 75mg pill on the zop night. I imagine I'll do 1 night on 2 nights off soon and then am quite certain I'll be able to kick it forever. But yeah, my best advice would be doing it every other night--it's shit at the start on the non zop nights but really worked for me only after a short time.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Thanks for the incouraging words, I am hoping to get off my sleeping pills with sleepio

  • Sleepio Member

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    Hi I have just joined Sleepio today, have been on Zopiclone for a long while used to be half a night for a few years but this year probably started on 1-3.75mg around 5 months ago. They do not really work as they should, sometimes they do but only 4-5 hours per night and others nothing. I am starting to come off of them, I know the best way is to taper gradually so I am trying to reduce by a quarter for a week (although I think it will be longer) and then reduce by another quarter for a week, and then when you are on quarter I am not sure but that feels a long way off at the moment. I did not succeed last night what with the heatwave in the UK… I really do detest the way the pill makes you feel so I hope I can succeed.

  • Sleepio Member

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    I know you have had some answers on your personal profile page but have you thought about doing sleepio first and then tapering off the medication a little later?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Also see Auntie Hoho’s posts above about her experiences

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Thanks Peter, my GP suggested that I give Sleepio another go, and how to taper my pills but have not had total success on my first week, (last week in UK heat was horrendous) but I am determined I will…..... so early days but I have to succeed and be positive..

  • Sleepio Member

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    Anyone any experience weaning off Zolpidem? I am currently on 2.5mg (they come in 5mg pills which I half) ?

  • Sleepio Member

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    I had open heart surgery 6 months ago and was prescribed a nightly sleeping tablet by my cardiologist. I have been using Sleepio these last 6 weeks. At the same time as using Sleepio I have been weaning myself off of the prescribed sleeping tablets. I have now been 6 days without sleeping tablets, and appear to be experiencing rebound insomnia,which seems to be impacting the quality of my sleep every 48 hours. I am hopeful that the rebound insomnia will start to tail off in the second week of being sleeping tablet free and to be able to see a consistent improvement in the quality of my sleep in the coming weeks. I have found it to be a challenge using Sleepio and to wean off of the sleeping tablets at the same time.

  • Sleepio Member

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    I'm also trying to wean off zopiclone after being prescribed it by my oncologist to help sleep when I was on huge doses of steroids. I have a lot of post cancer treatment anxiety and sleep is the first thing to go. I never took more than 3.75mg and found cutting the tablet in half no problem. However the only couple of times I've tried quartering the tablet it's made no difference and I can be tossing and turning for hours.

    On a good zop night I can sleep 9 hours without waking. Even with the zopiclone i seem to have at least 1 bad night a week, must be a lot of subconscious trauma and stress from the last year. We have a couple of trips away booked so wondering whether to keep persevering with the quarter tablet for a while and push through the bad nights? Or go back to the half 3.75 to guarantee some good sleep whilst I'm away!

    I am also on 2mg melatonin which has helped sort my circadian rhythm (which was sent completely off whack during chemo) but it doesn't help me to get to sleep or stay asleep. My GP is supportive but is wanting me to try and get off the zop asap as she is nervous of me using both drugs! Like the person above, I'm finding it challenging to use sleepio whilst trying to wean of sleeping pills at the same time. Any advice or anyone been in a similar situation with health anxieties?

    Many thanks

  • Sleepio Member

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    I have recently had another meltdown, no help from GP anymore… they cannot support me. I’m based in u.k
    I’ve had Chronic insomnia for 22 years. I have been on most medications Mitazapine now for over 20 years with periods of taking Z drugs… I’m working full time and just cant take much more sleep deprivation.
    It’s causing me panic attacks extreme anxiety and low mood.
    I haven’t had a relationship for years my partner has to sleep in another room.
    My life has become non existent and controlled by this insomnia. So much as the relationship has broken down completely.
    My GP has yesterday told me to take the Zopliclone for 7 nights in a row to reset myself.
    I’ve had CBT last year which I know should be effective but this particular therapist was not structured and a waste of time. I eventually got a sleep referral last year but was discharged the same day as not classed as a medical issue so no further appointments made… I’m at the end of the road I hope this site can help. Any further info would be most welcome. Good luck to you all.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Hi Ambercat, I'm in exactly the same position. My meltdown started about 6 weeks ago, not much help from GP. 15 years on Zopiclone otherwise I couldn't have held down a job. I took early retirement and want to be off drugs. 10 days off Zopiclone and my sleep is like a rollercoaster. Week 2 of Sleepio. At least I am getting a little 'fair' sleep quality. Best wishes for a speedy recovery from the meltdown. I really appreciate the Sleepio Community – it's the first time I haven't felt alone with this really horrid disorder.

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