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Weaning off of Drugs

rutzetta's picture
rutzetta
Posts: 116
Joined: Jul 2011

Have any of you weaned off of Paxil, Ativan or Ambein. I need any advice on weaning from these drugs. There have been times in a 24 hour period that I’ve only spelt 2 hours, due to insomnia. I want off this rollercoaster, but it’s easier said than done. I was on 20mg of Paxil since 8/11 and did get down to 10mg starting 5/12 after a month, but I can’t get to the next level without severe side effects. I went back to the doctor and was given Trazadone to help with the sleep issue, it didn’t work. I told the doctor I didn’t want to take the Ambein again because it’s so addicting, but I did start taking it again. I was then given Ativan, and told to take up to 2 per night for sleep disturbance, it’s not working. This should be the happiest time now that I have finished chemo, radiation and returned to work 4/12, but I can say it worst than all the others treatments combined. I’d love for my pink sisters to let me know how you were successful with weaning off drugs. Oh 1 more thing I did try natural sleep aids and the most I would sleep would be for 2 hours then I'm up again. I’m a train wreck right now. Please help!

SIROD's picture
SIROD
Posts: 2189
Joined: Jun 2010

Hi,

I never took those drugs. I do believe you should consult the doctor who prescribed them to you on how to slowly wean off. You could have serious problems going cold turkey.

Wish you well with this problem,

Doris

Noel's picture
Noel
Posts: 3101
Joined: Apr 2009

I am hoping that your doctor can wean you off of these drugs easily. I do understand that just stopping any of them would not be good.

Good luck!

CypressCynthia's picture
CypressCynthia
Posts: 4011
Joined: Oct 2009

If I was having trouble weaning those meds, I would not hesitate to see a psychiatrist. Ask around and see if you can find one who is expert in "tweaking" meds as some are and some are not. They usually have great ideas about how to wean and what meds might help to get you over the hump.

Ambien (zolipem) is a hypnotic drug that many physicians are now shying away from (except very short term) as some studies are now linking chronic usage to a fivefold increase risk of death and a slightly increased risk of cancer.

Hypnotics Association with Motality or Cancer

http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/2/1/e000850.full

peanutcat's picture
peanutcat
Posts: 104
Joined: Mar 2011

I was on Paxil for about 2 years in around 1987 and I don't remember having trouble getting off it. Then the problem came back in 2008. And I've been on another one since. I hope you do OK. I'll be thinking of you rutzetta. I know it is hard to get off Ativan. How long have you been on Ativan? I hope they find something that works for you...

peanutcat

carkris's picture
carkris
Posts: 4523
Joined: Aug 2009

There are class action lawsuits about paxil. I took ambien and although not aware of it was stopped by a state trooper yelling at me for my driving. I seriously had no idea what he was talking about, I had taken an ambien the night before but it should have been out of my system. dont know if he was just being a jerk because he was out of control. But I have never touched it since. I weaned off of ativan by .25 mg a month. I had to do it slowly but did get off it.

susie09's picture
susie09
Posts: 2933
Joined: Jul 2009

I've never taken any of the drugs you wrote about either, but, I can sure understand that it isn't easy to get weaned off of them. I don't think they ever want you to just quit. I think you could have some bad side effects. I am sure your onco will lower your dose and help you to get off of them.

I am wishing you good luck and am always here for you!

tufi000's picture
tufi000
Posts: 452
Joined: Jun 2005

Benadryl. Best advice I got from the rad waiting room crowd. when I told my cardiologist, he said he wished he thought of it! Good luck

rutzetta's picture
rutzetta
Posts: 116
Joined: Jul 2011

For your suggestions and kindness. I will talk with my doctor and give the benadryl a try while I tapper off the drugs. I must remember my strength and fight the good battle.

Constance

MAJW
Posts: 2515
Joined: May 2009

You can do it, but I strongly urge you to do it under your doctor's supervision....I had to be weaned off of Decadron, a steriod 3 months ago..I was on it because of brain radiation...to prevent seizures...my oncologist is who supervised this...it was a month long process but successful...

I wish you the very best...keep us posted, we care...
Hugs, Nancy

DebbyM's picture
DebbyM
Posts: 3294
Joined: Oct 2009

Wishing you good luck and hope that it won't be difficult for you. Keep us updated.

Hugs, Debby

Alexis F's picture
Alexis F
Posts: 3604
Joined: May 2009

I've never heard of benadryl helping anyone, but, I hope that it will work for you Constance.

Best to you,

Lex

Rague
Posts: 3343
Joined: Aug 2009

I have no words of wisdom to help you with kicking the drugs. From my understanding - need to be done with medical assistance to prevent potentially worse issues.

While on Taxol I could not sleep at all - Chemo Dr gave me Trazodone. It did give me 3 - 4 hrs sleep but the nightmares were horrendous (normally the worst of any 'nightmares' I have are really silly things like being in a car that backs off a cliff and I just say "That's OK - we have rubber tires so we will bounce." [reccuring since a small child if I lay/sleep on my back]). I talked to my PA and she gave me the lowest dose of Ambien and it gave me several hours of sleep.

Have you tried a "white noise' machine? The kind of things that play tide sounds, wind sounds, whales/dolphins, calming music, etc.? Might be worth trying. You can find them in 'Baby Stores' for about $20.

Prayers!

Winyan - The Power Within

Susan

CypressCynthia's picture
CypressCynthia
Posts: 4011
Joined: Oct 2009

Susan,

Those are great ideas! And do you know that they even have white noise apps now? I used one recently when I was hospitalized and feeling really cruddy and some hospital visitors (idiots) were making a ruckus outside in the parking lot. The one that I used is called Relax and Sleep, but there are probably many of them.

I also always, always wear earplugs. There are many different kinds. Pick one with a high noise rating (>30). I love the blue Hearos, but everyone's ear is shaped differently so you might have to try several to find a comfortable fit (I did). They muffle faraway noise. They do NOT keep me from hearing the phone or my alarm. They do always make me fall asleep faster and stay asleep better (I think I am conditioned ;-)

I never, ever watch tv in the bedroom and I try and block out any sources of light (even digital clock). Many studies are now demonstrating that any light source can interfere with sleep.

Reading an unexciting book makes me drowsy, but that may or may not work for all.

I bet others might have some good tips too. The one thing that I personally would avoid is melatonin. I did that for awhile and, initially, it seemed to help. Then, I found myself feeling really blue and weird. When I told this to my psychiatrist sister, she said she doesn't recommend melatonin, because it is a hormone and can have many effects long term. That may have just been my individual weird adverse effect, but depression is listed as a possible adverse effect, so just be aware.

New Flower
Posts: 4065
Joined: Aug 2009

I am very sorry,
I have been through all of these medications. I also took melatonin and it did help. In addition to what was mentioned I had acupuncture and trigger point injections for several months to combat addiction from Ambien and Ativan. Meditation and yoga did help too.
Since my recent diagnosis, unfortunately I am back on Ativan . On weekends I am trying to scents time at the beach. Ocean air and light excersises helps a lot
Wishing you improvement.
Hugs
New Flower

Rague
Posts: 3343
Joined: Aug 2009

I'll have to find that app.

Quite awhile ago 'someone' told me that melatonin was good for SAD (this was long before BC) so I asked my PA about it and I don't remember all the reasons she gave me for not taking it but there were many. Also she said that it wasn't a good idea being ADD also. So I use my light box and take a lot D.

I can't be home alone without the TV or radio/music on - don't pay attentionto what it is - just sound. Also have to have at least some light I can see at night. Goes back to things that happened as a small child and I have tried to overcome but can't and have accepted and Hubby accepts so that's how it is. I have a small night light on my side of the bed and if I wake up I see it and go I go back to sleep - if it's not on -I can't go back to sleep. When he gets called out at night, the TV gets turned on and I sleep. Outside I have no problems with quiet or darkness (love both) but not inside.

Yeah - I'm weird!

Winyan - The Power Within

Susan

Megan M's picture
Megan M
Posts: 3001
Joined: Dec 2009

I am wishing you good luck Constance! You sound determined, so, I know you can do it.

I do take Trazodone to help me sleep and to make sure that I don't wake up with a headache. Apparently, Trazodone puts you into the REM sleep, which is what I needed. I never wake up with headaches anymore and sleep great!

Hugs, Megan

Rague
Posts: 3343
Joined: Aug 2009

Trazodone is great for those it works for BUT it doesn't for all. It gave me horrendous nightmares. Also only gave a few hours sleep - Thankfully with the nightmares.

survivorbc09
Posts: 4378
Joined: Jun 2009

I've never taken any of those drugs. Just wanted to wish you good luck and it looks like you've gotten some great advice here from the other pink sisters.

Keep posting to update us,

Jan

Noel's picture
Noel
Posts: 3101
Joined: Apr 2009

When do you see your doctor Constance? Be sure and post to update us as to what he suggests for you.

Good luck,

Noel

rutzetta's picture
rutzetta
Posts: 116
Joined: Jul 2011

I saw him on the 27th. He said due to my anxiety and sleep issue I need to continue with the Paxil 10mg and Ativan 1mg. I don't feel like I'm losing my mind anymore and I have better control of me with these drugs. I will also be seeing a pysch doctor. As they feel I have issues from my treatment I have to deal with. I was the one always smiling so others wouldn't feel bad for me. He told me I won't be or feel normal for a while, so stop beating myself up over it. I guess we've all been there. I hope all this will help me so i can wean from the drugs, as I still want off the drugs, but I also need to sleep at night. My sisters thanks for lifting me up during this time- I needed it! With love, Constance

survivorbc09
Posts: 4378
Joined: Jun 2009

It's good that you are feeling better Constance! I agree with your doctor, stop beating yourself up. You will get yourself off of the drugs, just do it slowly. Just getting some sleep will help tremendously.

Keep us posted,

Jan

DianeBC's picture
DianeBC
Posts: 3888
Joined: Jun 2009

Your post even sounds better. You don't sound so worried. I know that when the time is right, you can get off of these drugs. Right now, just continue with what your doc says.

Good luck,

Diane

CypressCynthia's picture
CypressCynthia
Posts: 4011
Joined: Oct 2009

I am so glad you are feeling better. Just wanted to add that Paxil is not the best choice if you are on tamoxifen. I don't think that you are, but just wanted to put the info out there again. Paxil, Prozac and Welbutrin can reduce the effectiveness of tamoxifen. See:

Antidepressants and Tamoxifen

http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Mental_Health_Letter/2010/June/antidepressants-and-tamoxifen

rutzetta's picture
rutzetta
Posts: 116
Joined: Jul 2011

Thanks for the heads up. I'm taking amorsin also known exemestane. I'm feeling a lot better and coping better. I'm finally dealing with things have changed at work since I was away for a year. I'm trying to fit back in, but also will take time.

CypressCynthia's picture
CypressCynthia
Posts: 4011
Joined: Oct 2009

It will take time and a cancer diagnosis makes us at higher risk for depression and anxiety. I have stayed on a low dose of lexapro since my diagnosis with mets in 2009. I think it helps me stay on a more even keel.

Kylez's picture
Kylez
Posts: 3765
Joined: May 2009

Just take it one day at a time! You will do fine at work!

Prayers and hugs,

Kylez

rutzetta's picture
rutzetta
Posts: 116
Joined: Jul 2011

Thanks for the heads up. I'm taking amorsin also known exemestane. I'm feeling a lot better and coping better. I'm finally dealing with things have changed at work since I was away for a year. I'm trying to fit back in, but also will take time.

Alexis F's picture
Alexis F
Posts: 3604
Joined: May 2009

Trazodone has helped me to sleep. I take one, not every night, but occasionally. I could take one every night, but, sometimes I really just don't need it. I am tired enough that I can just fall asleep.

Wishing you good luck and better days,

Lex

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