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Ambien Death Rate Increase
Old 02-24-2015, 04:44 PM   #1
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Ambien Death Rate Increase

I've been taking Ambien every night since the month it was introduced in around 1992 or so. My Dr just said I should stop because a study in 2012 showed users are about 400% more likely to die if taking more than 18 doses. I've taken more than 8,000 doses.

The increased causes of death are heart attacks, cancer, and car crashes.

The study likens the death rate from 3 mg of Ambien at least 18 times per year to that of a smoker.

I think I will want to see more study before I stop using a drug that works so well for me. I am on 26 prescription meds that all have side effects. I am a medical basket case. All of my Rxs are reasonable and have a good reason to be taken. Some treat the side effects of the others! Quite a few have insomnia as a possible side effect.

I haven't seen any other studies on this and feel that it may be one of those studies that gets debunked.

I am so glad I am retired.

Hypnotics' association with mortality or cancer: a matched cohort study -- Kripke et al. 2 (1) -- BMJ Open

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Old 02-24-2015, 05:27 PM   #2
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This information has been around for several years. Like you, I find it quite hard to credit, although I am not now a user I think I have likely used well over18 times or close to that in total of some drugs listed in this study. Looking at your linked study, many classes of drugs, similar only in that they produce some degree of sedation, seem to be guilty, not just Ambien. it may be that what is risky is having trouble sleeping that important enough to cause a person to request sleep aides or buy them OTC (antihistamines are mentioned). They arrange for equal representation of co-morbidities, but I didn't notice any discussion contrasting people who had sleep disorders and just toughed it out, relative to people who took a med


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Old 02-24-2015, 06:16 PM   #3
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I've been on Ambien for the last 10-12 years. I do wonder sometimes about the long-term impacts on my health, particularly on my mental health. The good night's sleep I get from the drug though has to be far more beneficial for my health than not sleeping like before, right? Oh well, guess I'll try to quit Ambien when I retire from my incredibly stressful job next year...
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Old 02-24-2015, 06:19 PM   #4
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I'm not terribly surprised by this. My hypothesis would be that those taking these medications likely have higher stress/cortisol levels than the cohort that does not take them. In basic terms, stress kills. Of course the car crashes, well, that is obvious.
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Old 02-24-2015, 06:28 PM   #5
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A similar study implicates anti-anxiety drugs at low lifetime doses (less than 100) as a risk for Alzheimers.

These studies are enough to drive you crazy.
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Old 02-24-2015, 06:49 PM   #6
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Hypnotics' association with mortality or cancer: a matched cohort study -- Kripke et al. 2 (1) -- BMJ Open

This link goes directly to the responses to the study. They cast considerable doubt on its validity.
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Old 02-24-2015, 07:10 PM   #7
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Taking any drug for a long period means the doctor is not trying to cure you but managing the symptoms. What ever happened to the word cure has it been band in the medical system?
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Ambien Death Rate Increase
Old 02-24-2015, 08:09 PM   #8
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Ambien Death Rate Increase

Quote:
Originally Posted by d0ug View Post
Taking any drug for a long period means the doctor is not trying to cure you but managing the symptoms. What ever happened to the word cure has it been band in the medical system?

And sometimes they do it when you don't even ask. During a physical several years ago I mentioned in passing I don't sleep very long anymore, and next thing you know he slapped an Ambian script in my hand. Curious I went and purchased them, but still have half the bottle in my bathroom. They didn't do anything for me. I don't have problems falling asleep, I have problems staying asleep after 5 hours or so. Ambian did not help. Oh well, not ever tired so maybe that is enough sleep anymore for me.


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Old 02-25-2015, 08:47 AM   #9
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Taking any drug for a long period means the doctor is not trying to cure you but managing the symptoms. What ever happened to the word cure has it been band in the medical system?
DH , age 76, took Ambien for years; in his case, he's got polycythemia (his bone marrow is making too many red blood cells, can't be cured) and Ambien really helped to mitigate his night sweats. About a year ago they put him on an alternative because of the scary studies on Ambien. Fortunately, the alternative worked, but at some point the prescription got switched back to Ambien. A few days later he collapsed in the bathroom and couldn't get up. His muscles had turned to rubber. I got behind him in a sitting position and pretty much pulled him back to the bedroom, and hoisted him onto the bed. Good thing I'm fairly strong and he's skinny. His strength gradually returned (he insisted on going back to the bathroom to accomplish his original purpose) and, thank God, it hasn't happened since. He also hasn't taken Ambien since. It was one of the scariest moments of my life.

So, in DH's case, sleeping pills mitigate the effects of a condition that can't be cured. I'm pretty wary of sleeping pills for myself; I figure if I have a bad night my body will make it up the next night and that's generally been true.
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Old 02-25-2015, 09:50 AM   #10
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I actually was just prescribed these from my Dr. My worst sleeping nights are Sundays and Mondays, and anytime I am traveling.

Sometimes I will go the whole night without sleeping. It is awful, and I did not really want to ask my Dr. for meds, and I told him that (along with the fact that I don't want to become addicted to sleeping pills).

The ultimate cure for me would be to stick to the same schedule 100% of the the time, but that is not realistic. For example, I have to travel 20%+ for work. I also am only 25 and have a social life and like to go out with friends on the weekends, travel for fun, travel to visit my family. So, the option is to give up all of the above or supplement them with these sleeping pills on nights when I know I won't get a good sleep.

I always sleep well when I am home from work at a good hour, mid-week, and relax for at least ~1.5 hours before bed by turning off my cell and tuning out, but that scenario just isn't realistic everyday.

I also have noticed that my sleep patterns are much better when I refrain from drinking. Even if I go to dinner and have only 2 or 3 drinks, I won't sleep well that night, and I may wake up at 3-4 AM and not fall back asleep. Or, if I partied a lot over the weekend, I won't sleep well Sunday night because my body isn't "used to" falling asleep naturally.
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Old 02-25-2015, 09:51 AM   #11
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There have been nights when I've taken the Ambien and I've slept well and been good and rested the next day. But, there have also been nights where I woke up at 4 AM and couldn't fall back asleep. Or, there have been nights where I've slept thru the night but have felt drowsy, "slow", and hung over/spacey the next day. Not sure what is causing all of the mixed reactions, but I am trying to avoid taking it unless completely necessary.
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Old 02-25-2015, 10:07 AM   #12
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I cut all of my Ambien pills in half whenever I open a new bottle. I never take more than 1/2 pill/night. Sometime I take it at bedtime (if I can't get to sleep) and sometime at 3-4AM when I can't get back to sleep. I prefer not taking Ambien at all, but I hate it when I get little or no sleep.
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Old 02-25-2015, 11:09 AM   #13
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I can't imagine taking any sleep medication on a regular basis. Holy cow, I think I'd rather be taken out back and shot.

When I can't sleep, I usually go through the (sometimes hard) work of trying to figure out why not and fixing the root cause. For me, this has been enough for my first 66 years on this earth. I don't have any incurable illnesses that prevent sleep.

When younger, on rare occasion I would resort to one alcoholic drink to help induce sleep. But I don't do that any more because I don't drink any more.

Normally I sleep like a baby for at least 7-8 hours, sometimes 10. But then some other nights I don't sleep at all and stay up all night happily doing whatever I do. Then the next night, I sleep extra soundly. Probably I just don't need to sleep every single night.
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Old 02-25-2015, 11:55 AM   #14
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if I go to dinner and have only 2 or 3 drinks, I won't sleep well that night
Perhaps you've put your finger on it. Insufficient dose. Try 6 or 7 and you'll sleep like a baby.

(just kidding, of course)
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Old 02-25-2015, 01:33 PM   #15
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Perhaps you've put your finger on it. Insufficient dose. Try 6 or 7 and you'll sleep like a baby.

(just kidding, of course)

Although not totally a joking matter, you're somewhat right. If I go out on a week night and have 2-3 drinks, I (sometimes) don't sleep well. If I go out on a Saturday and have 7+ drinks, I "sleep" fine until the morning, but by 2PM the next day I am toast.

Not sure which is worse
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Old 02-25-2015, 03:19 PM   #16
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Old 02-25-2015, 04:54 PM   #17
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Although not totally a joking matter, you're somewhat right. If I go out on a week night and have 2-3 drinks, I (sometimes) don't sleep well. If I go out on a Saturday and have 7+ drinks, I "sleep" fine until the morning, but by 2PM the next day I am toast.



Not sure which is worse

Com'mon Younginvestor.... You are 25, you supposed to burn the candle at both ends.....sleeping is for us old retired farts.


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Old 02-25-2015, 08:56 PM   #18
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I got hooked on Ambien awhile back 6-7 years ago. I went from using it when I was jetlagged internationally to just when I felt like I needed a really good night of sleep. At some point I felt like I wasn't as mentally sharp and becoming too dependent. I went cold turkey when I was on a vacation...didn't sleep much for 2-3 days and came down with a cold. However, since then I decided I'd rather have a few sleepless nights or even a bad stretch of a week or two rather than get hooked on Ambien again.
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Old 02-25-2015, 09:43 PM   #19
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My sister cannot sleep at all due to being hooked on Ambien.

When my elderly parents moved to her town, she got them taking Ambien--and my father spent much of his time sleeping. Due to being hard of hearing and in an Ambien fog, my father got to the point where he just about quit talking, reading and he showed little interest in Conservative politics.

One afternoon during a "nap," someone rang the doorbell. My father was startled and he jumped out of bed--only to fall and break a hip. He threw a blood clot in the hospital and didn't come out of it.

If someone is having difficulties sleeping, they should get their doctor to refer them to a sleep clinic for a sleep study. There may be other alternatives other than taking Ambien.

I have sleep apnea, and so do most men over 200 lbs. with a neck size of 17" or larger. Sometimes a great night's sleep is just using a CPAP machine.
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Old 02-25-2015, 09:49 PM   #20
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I take 25mg benadryl occasionally (they sell it in the UK for sleep, here as a cold remedy).

So far (knock wood), that, and meditation have kept my sleep record decent. But I don't sleep well after more than a couple of beers (which is why I rarely have more than a couple of beers, hehe!)
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