Sleep Medication Part II

Wed, Jun 3, 2009


Prescription Medication: Types and Uses (cont’d from Part I)

There are several types of medications that require prescription. Some medication last longer than others in your system (a longer half life), and some have a higher risk of becoming habit forming. For more information about medication, follow the link in the table to a Physician’s Desk Reference review of each medication. Consult your healthcare professional if you have a specific question about a medication.

Prescription Sleeping Medications

Benzodiazepine sedative hypnotics

Estazolam (ProSom)   

Flurazepam (Dalmane)   

Quazepam (Doral)

Temazepam (Restoril)   

Triazolam (Halcion)

Non-Benzodiazepine sedative hypnotics

Eszopiclone (Lunesta)

Zaleplon (Sonata)Zolpidem

Zolpidem (Ambien)

Melatonin receptor agonist hypnotic

Ramelteon (Rozerem)

Depression medication and insomnia

Trazodone (Desyrel).

All prescription sleeping pills have side effects. Those effects can vary depending on the specific drug, its dosage, and how long the drug has been in your system. Check with your family doctor or sleep consultant about any concerns you have. Common side effects can include the following symptoms: muscle aches, headache, dry mouth, daytime sleepiness, constipation, trouble concentrating, dizziness, drowsiness, unsteadiness, memory loss, and return insomnia.

Guidelines for Using Sleep Medications

The following guidelines and precautions are suggested by sleep professional if you planning to take sleep medications:

* Follow directions closely, starting with a very small dose and increasing it gradually, according to the doctor’s schedule. Find out whether you should take your medication with or without food, in the morning or in the evening. For some medications, certain foods must be avoided. Most sleeping pills should be taken on an empty stomach.

* Tell your doctor about other medications you are taking. This includes non-prescription medications such as pain relievers and allergy medicines, and herbal supplements. Combining medications can be very dangerous.

* Make sure that your doctor is aware of other medical conditions that you have. Some drugs can have serious side effects for people with other medical problems. Examples of these problems include high blood pressure, liver problems, glaucoma, depression and breathing problems.

* Carefully read the package insert that comes with your medication. Pay careful attention to the potential side effects that it describes.

* Only take a sleeping pill when you will have enough time to get a full night of sleep (7 to 8 hours). Otherwise you may feel drowsy the next day.

* If appropriate, use the medications intermittently, rather than nightly, in order to decrease the negative effects and to increase the effectiveness when you do use them. Be sure to check with your doctor as some medications cause withdrawal side effects when stopped abruptly.

* Never drink alcohol near the time when you take a sleeping pill. Never drink alcohol in an attempt to fall asleep faster. Not only will alcohol disrupt your sleep even more, it can dangerously interact with the sleeping pill.

* Never drive a car or operate machinery after taking a sleeping pill. Especially when you first start taking a new sleep aid, you may not know how it will affect you, so proceed with caution the next day.

* Ask your doctor for specific instructions for decreasing and/or terminating use. In some cases, stopping medication abruptly can cause uncomfortable side effects and even rebound insomnia

25% of Americans suffer from sleep disorders that keep them tossing and turning.This video can help, but if you can’t sleep, here are some other ideas about things to do in bed.

Watch Video: What’s Keeping You Awake?

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