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“May cause dizziness, sexual nightmares, and sleep crime.”
August 16, 2014 11:52 AM   Subscribe

[...] others resist sleep and embrace the woozy, out-of-body license. To some, this is an opportunity to take part in what Rachel Uchitel, a former girlfriend of Tiger Woods, has reportedly described as “crazy Ambien sex.”

A New Yorker article that is pretty funny, IMO, but also serious
posted by the young rope-rider (138 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite

 
Usually I just buy too much soap and write incoherent reminders to myself in pen on my forearm.
posted by elizardbits at 12:01 PM on August 16 [14 favorites]


pics or it didn't happen
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:07 PM on August 16 [1 favorite]


Ambien Sexy Walrus
posted by effugas at 12:12 PM on August 16 [4 favorites]


Defendants must argue that they were involuntarily intoxicated—that they couldn’t have foreseen the possible consequences of taking Ambien, alone or with drinks—despite the warnings delivered both by their doctor and by Charlie Sheen, who called the drug “the devil’s aspirin” after an incident, in 2010, involving a porn star and a damaged chandelier, in the Eloise Suite of the Plaza Hotel.

Step 1: Form band called The Devil's Aspirin.
Step 2: ???
Step 3: Profit.
posted by sfkiddo at 12:14 PM on August 16 [13 favorites]


The walrus quote was pretty amusing.
posted by Nevin at 12:14 PM on August 16 [1 favorite]


"...the last third of the night, where other drugs fail."
posted by colie at 12:14 PM on August 16 [4 favorites]


Those who stop abruptly may experience “rebound” insomnia that is worse than when they started. Black said, “And they inaccurately assume, ‘Oh, my insomnia’s really bad still.’ ” He laughed. “It’s actually a nice feature for a drug to have, from a pharmaceutical perspective."

I've heard this about asthma and bipolar drugs. Paranoid me wonders if drug companies favor drugs that have this property. Getting customers hooked through this mechanism is good for business. It is not exactly addiction, but....
posted by eye of newt at 12:15 PM on August 16 [2 favorites]


Literally laughed out loud at

An F.D.A. presentation that focusses on individual “adverse events”—and draws attention to patients feeling “hunted by enemies”—is discouraging to a drug’s sponsor.
posted by Greg Nog at 12:16 PM on August 16 [16 favorites]


@eye of newt: I believe the proper terminology would be "discontinuation syndrome."

Thanks for posting this article, as a frequent Insomniac, I always look forward to learning news about it.
posted by chrono_rabbit at 12:17 PM on August 16


Sounds fun
posted by clockzero at 12:26 PM on August 16 [1 favorite]


An F.D.A. presentation that focusses on individual “adverse events”—and draws attention to patients feeling “hunted by enemies”

even insomniacs have enemies...
posted by ennui.bz at 12:31 PM on August 16 [4 favorites]


Everyone I know has had hallucinations while on Ambien while I have never been visited by the walrus. I've also never seen an alien, ghost or Jesus before. My life is so mundane.
posted by charred husk at 12:33 PM on August 16 [5 favorites]


Here's all of Drew's Ambien Walrus comics (in case you didn't make the Drew Fairweather == toothpaste for dinner drew connection)
posted by dismas at 12:35 PM on August 16 [19 favorites]


In cohort studies, 75 percent of New Yorker cartoons are directly or indirectly concerned with sex.
posted by Devonian at 12:37 PM on August 16 [1 favorite]


eye of newt: I think that it's a basic fact of how bodies regulate and maintain homeostasis, ensuring that any drug that overstimulates some built in bodily mechanism will cause a reduction in the biology that usually triggers the mechanism (see also nervousness when quitting smoking, sleepiness when going a day without coffee, anxiety after discontinuing a weed habit, disphoria after ecstacy...).
posted by idiopath at 12:37 PM on August 16 [3 favorites]


Here's all of Drew's Ambien Walrus comics (in case you didn't make the Drew Fairweather == toothpaste for dinner drew connection)

Oh shit I wish I'd posted these as part of the FPP

Thanks :)
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:39 PM on August 16 [1 favorite]


oh, and not to forget shrinking of testicles with heavy steroid use, same concept
posted by idiopath at 12:43 PM on August 16 [1 favorite]


A very interesting article. I particularly liked this part:
Colorcon, the world’s leading supplier of tablet coatings, provides its clients with a pill-color chart. Dots of various hues are arranged in a circle and divided into pizza slices of pinks, blues, and greens, which darken toward the edge. The chart can be overlaid with plastic sheets that are opaque but dotted with clear circles, allowing you to see some of the colors beneath. One sheet reveals the acceptable colors for pills in the E.U. and North America; another—showing intolerance for dark grays, dark greens, and the brightest pinks—also covers Japan.
I had no idea this was a thing.
posted by daisyk at 12:57 PM on August 16 [28 favorites]


"The Ambien Walrus" is vernacular to my friends. If Ambien stays around its name will become the substructure for new vocabulary describing unwise decisions.
posted by tychotesla at 1:08 PM on August 16 [3 favorites]


Sleep shopping while on Ambien is like throwing a surprise party for yourself when the stuff you order is delivered in 3-7 days.
posted by Dr. Zira at 1:13 PM on August 16 [37 favorites]


Eleven thousand words? What are you on?
posted by Segundus at 1:27 PM on August 16 [5 favorites]


There are risks with every sleep medication, and there have been with Ambien/Zolipdem for years. I had to stop taking Ambien because I had some weird night episodes and would feel horrible after about a week (on more than one occasion trying) that weren't related to sleep quality. I was mentioning it to my doctor recently, and he said that there's a lot of discussion about whether Ambien/Zolipdem will stay on the market. The initial dose was required recently to be lowered as well, because of patient reactions. I'm not sure how much of an "in" he actually has on all this, but he thought the writing was on the wall. If so, there will be a market void to fill for sure.
posted by SpacemanStix at 1:30 PM on August 16 [1 favorite]


Paranoid me wonders if drug companies favor drugs that have this property.

I fail to see the paranoia. Is it not just a factual fact that pharma companies are singularly focused on profits and utterly uncaring about ethics, morality, and human suffering, save that such things may have adverse effects… on their profits?
posted by five fresh fish at 1:30 PM on August 16 [2 favorites]


I had no idea this was a thing.

It was the most interesting part of the article for me -- there are a bunch of practical or regulatory steps in bringing a drug to market that I'd never imagined.
posted by Dip Flash at 1:31 PM on August 16


Wait, narcoleptic dogs?
posted by Omnomnom at 1:31 PM on August 16 [2 favorites]


oh, and not to forget shrinking of testicles with heavy steroid use, same concept

And a step further, perhaps; I think the immune system attacks and kills cells in the testes which are producing androgens when there's to much of the exogenous stuff around for too long -- otherwise why would they shrink?

I'd guess stem cells divide to replace some of them when the level falls, but not all, and that pushes the whole population toward senescence as well, given the Hayflick limit.

And I think a parallel phenomenon takes place with opioid receptors in the presence of too much exogenous opioid.
posted by jamjam at 1:32 PM on August 16 [3 favorites]


OT: Is there anyway to block or remove the random comics in the article? I have adblocker on Chrome and it doesn't seem to stopped it from appearing.

It can get confusing when I'm reading a long article and a random comic is added between paragraphs.
posted by chrono_rabbit at 1:45 PM on August 16


The worst week of my entire life coincided with a transatlantic flight, crazy jet lag, traveling in assorted planes, trains and automobiles through several different time zones and lots of ambien to sleep, caffeine to wake and alcohol for fun and because I was afraid to drink the water. The ambien and alcohol lead to some very bad times, a total freak out and a very dark corner that convinced me shortly after to stop drinking completely. Ambien and alcohol should not be mixed ever full stop.
posted by photoslob at 1:50 PM on August 16 [5 favorites]


I was given Ambien for a transatlantic flight last year, and I was very disappointed. No sleep ensued; I have had better luck with OTC antihistamines.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 1:56 PM on August 16 [1 favorite]


Everyone I know has had hallucinations while on Ambien while I have never been visited by the walrus. I've also never seen an alien, ghost or Jesus before. My life is so mundane.

Maybe you actually are being visited by a walrus, an alien, a ghost and Jesus, but under the influence of Ambien you hallucinate their absence?
posted by yoink at 2:31 PM on August 16 [30 favorites]


I'm curious if I'm taking the same thing as the rest of you since Ambien just lets me fall asleep and stay asleep.
posted by bile and syntax at 2:39 PM on August 16 [2 favorites]


I went on a $200 amazon spree on ambien and had no idea until stuff started showing up at my house. I bought 8 books, 6 e-books, and a Bruce Springsteen album.

At least ambien-me has good taste in music!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:40 PM on August 16 [10 favorites]


I'm curious if I'm taking the same thing as the rest of you since Ambien just lets me fall asleep and stay asleep.--bile and syntax

So you think. Did you have an interesting dream last night about Underdog? You need to talk to your neighbors. They're still trying to figure who put the cape on their dog and why it is now on their roof.
posted by eye of newt at 2:45 PM on August 16 [7 favorites]


I'm curious if I'm taking the same thing as the rest of you since Ambien just lets me fall asleep and stay asleep.

Thank you for your confession. For your penance, count 30 sheep. Now go, and sleep some more.
posted by SpacemanStix at 2:46 PM on August 16


At least ambien-me has good taste in music!

But not in books?
posted by Omnomnom at 2:46 PM on August 16


They're still trying to figure who put the cape on their dog and why it is now on their roof.

Listening to Springsteen on its new iPod.
posted by yoink at 2:48 PM on August 16 [3 favorites]


And a step further, perhaps; I think the immune system attacks and kills cells in the testes which are producing androgens when there's to much of the exogenous stuff around for too long -- otherwise why would they shrink?

It's a little bit like that, but it's a hormonal feedback loop, not autoimmune. There are a couple of hormones, follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone, that, in males, stimulate both testosterone production (from a type of testicular cell called Leydig cells) and the growth of testicular tissue. They are produced by the pituitary gland in response to the levels of of testosterone in the system - when testosterone levels get lower, more FSH and LH are produced to keep the testosterone levels at homeostasis.

Anabolic steroids increase the levels of testosterone in the system without stimulating tissue growth in the way that FSH and LH do. In heavy steroid users, the pituitary produces less of the gonadotropin hormones, because testosterone levels are already high, and so the testicles can gradually atrophy in the absence of growth hormones.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 2:52 PM on August 16 [12 favorites]


I went on a $200 amazon spree on ambien and had no idea until stuff started showing up at my house. I bought 8 books, 6 e-books, and a Bruce Springsteen album.

At least ambien-me has good taste in music!


I used to think that would never happen to me, until it actually did. If I'm not really tired, I often avoid lying in bed. But on Ambien, you try to get in front of it before you are actually that tired.

So, I spent some time perusing the Google Play store on my phone. I woke up to a new video game and comic book that I don't recall saying yes to. Actually, I do vaguely remember one purchase, but I can't for the life of me figure out why I thought it was a good idea at the time.

So, I'm a little bit disappointed in ambien-me.
posted by SpacemanStix at 2:54 PM on August 16


OT: Is there anyway to block or remove the random comics in the article? I have adblocker on Chrome and it doesn't seem to stopped it from appearing.

It can get confusing when I'm reading a long article and a random comic is added between paragraphs.

Nope. New Yorker in print has the same feature, and is unlikely to ever change it.
posted by beagle at 2:56 PM on August 16 [3 favorites]


oh i just remembered that time i ordered all those playstations
posted by elizardbits at 2:58 PM on August 16 [1 favorite]


Sounds like a good way to see the shadow people
posted by thelonius at 3:02 PM on August 16


What's with the pharmacist guy not taking the drugs he invents for other people? Why is he such a sketch-ball?
posted by oceanjesse at 3:12 PM on August 16 [1 favorite]


and a Bruce Springsteen album.

At least ambien-me has good taste in music!


Thats debatable! ; )
posted by futz at 3:17 PM on August 16 [1 favorite]


Buying a Springsteen album or a couple of gallons of brake fluid or something like that isn't too far gone. You could have done more. Signed your house over to The Polyphonic Spree for them to live in, something like that.
posted by thelonius at 3:20 PM on August 16 [7 favorites]


I mean, you could've given power of attorney to a bagel, or signed up for an intensive weeklong stagefighting workshop with eighteen disconnected streetlights.
posted by forgetful snow at 3:29 PM on August 16 [15 favorites]


I see a market for AmbiBlock, an App which would prevent you from buying anything on your phone for twelve hours.

Best part is that you could charge $20 for it and tell people they would save at least that much on its first use.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 3:30 PM on August 16 [7 favorites]


During a layover in the Ataturk airport, I evidently checked out a neat gift shop. Didn't know I was missing time until I passed through again and suggested we check out that neat gift shop that I'd never seen before. Also had some Turkish food that was evidently so memorable (?) that I snapped a photo of it on my cell.

It might have been Mike Birbiglia who suggested that sleepwalking is like being haunted by yourself. It was like that.
posted by Morrigan at 3:32 PM on August 16 [10 favorites]


Lunesta is already a pretty good alternative in my experience. This article seems to present only ambien or the new drug. Could it be pharma marketing to get folks to switch away from generic alternatives?

Also think there was recent guidance from the FDA to lower dosafes on these medicines. Many patients were receiving double what they needed. At leadt this is what I was told when my doctor lowered my dose recently.
posted by humanfont at 3:40 PM on August 16


I had the good fortune to take Ambien with wine while Chatroulette was still anonymous. Hoo boy!
posted by grumpybear69 at 4:09 PM on August 16 [8 favorites]


Why not pop a melatonin? At least that's a natural body chemical.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:17 PM on August 16 [1 favorite]


Ever had melatonin sex? That's why.
posted by sneebler at 4:26 PM on August 16 [5 favorites]


Ever had melatonin sex?

Look, I just tripped and fell on that turkey, OK?
posted by yoink at 4:30 PM on August 16 [11 favorites]


Melatonin gives me a terrible hangover as well as sleep paralysis in the dosages it takes to actually work on me. Discovering ambien was a glorious relief.

Unfortunately back then it was otc and super cheap so it ended up getting horribly abused (by pretty much everyone I knew too) but now I am an official grownup and can handle taking 5mg when I need it.
posted by elizardbits at 4:32 PM on August 16


Those who stop abruptly may experience “rebound” insomnia that is worse than when they started.

See GERD and omeprazole (Prilosec).
posted by Mental Wimp at 4:34 PM on August 16


Elizard, melatonin is ineffective at high dosages. Did you ever try taking less, ie. <5mg?
posted by five fresh fish at 5:11 PM on August 16


Melatonin also gives me hangovers, and maybe half the time I take it also elaborate nightmares. And you know, every so often that's fine, but some nights it's like I'd just rather get a good night's sleep without spending the night in a decaying cyberpunk dystopia that is also my freshman year dorm building or what have you and then the next day staring dreamily off into space.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 5:34 PM on August 16 [10 favorites]


As a lifelong insomniac and a veteran of sleep clinics with a severe sleep disorder, I look forward to this new drug, although I wish the higher doses had been approved. I'm disappointed that someone's fearmongering tactics managed to lower the dose to something ineffective. Sure, a sleep medication at an effective dose might impair your driving ability the next day, but compare that to driving sleep-deprived, which has been compared to driving under the influence of alcohol.

I was almost involved in one of the first human studies with almorexant. I was disqualified from the trials because my sleep disorder means that I can't go to bed every night at 11 pm and get up at 9 am as they wanted me to, for three months, even.

I'm Canadian, so I get zopiclone, a longer-acting cousin of Ambien. I've taken this drug for at least a decade now. It still works. My delayed sleep onset goes from 3-8 hours (not kidding; I can spend eight hours lying in bed awake even when exhausted) to 90 minutes. When I awaken routinely at 7:30 am, I take another pill and I'm good to sleep for another few hours. Euphoria with zopiclone is wonderful, assuming you go straight to bed, because when it kicks in I know that I am going to experience blissful sleep. That said, it's interesting to stay awake on zopiclone, which is entirely possible.

Staying awake on this drug isn't quite comparable to a few glasses of wine. It's that, but it's also wakefulness and extreme ambition. On zopiclone, staying awake, I feel obligated to clean my apartment, finish essays, and catch up on emails, and I'll do it all in a euphoric hyperfocused state which is just amazing. If someone could market a drug like that for ADHD, it'd be banned immediately for being way too good. People would actually get stuff done while high. It would be terribly effective and therefore terribly immoral.

I haven't actually done anything regrettable on zopiclone. I wonder if I would on its cousin, Ambien. That said, I am very very happy that we're still developing sleep drugs to replace the sedatives of old. Phenobarbital induced horrifying states of psychosis in me that almost convinced me that I must be a sociopath, but only under the influence of the drug while awake. Awful, awful medication. These sleep drug researchers who find new medications are heroes to me.
posted by quiet earth at 5:39 PM on August 16 [14 favorites]


How are you all managing to get Ambien so easily?
posted by aramaic at 5:42 PM on August 16


I took Ambien once and it made me high as a kite. In a very pleasant "look at that interesting wall!" kind of way. Unfortunately I couldn't fall asleep till it wore off but I did enjoy lying in bed just y'know feeling.

Brains are weird, I think it would be hard to develeop a drug like this that didn't have side effects for a significant percentage of people.
posted by fshgrl at 5:57 PM on August 16


Oh. By the way. Never take Lunesta or Ambien with melatonin and seven or eight store-bought sleeping aids. On that combination I experienced the only really bad trip/hallucination of my life. I wanted to go upstairs to use the washroom, but I couldn't find the doorway because these hallucinatory bookshelves were covering the walls. I had to talk myself out of it logically and find the doorknob with my hands despite the intense visuals in front of me.

You can trip on generic sleep aids from the corner store, but I would never ever recommend it. It's not fun.
posted by quiet earth at 5:57 PM on August 16 [1 favorite]


...and a Bruce Springsteen album. At least ambien-me has good taste in music.

So, about your favorite band...
posted by The Tensor at 6:07 PM on August 16 [2 favorites]


Melatonin gives LOTS of people nightmares, which is why people stop using it and go to Rx drugs. Valerian is another option and works for more people.

I sleepwalk without the walrus, so I've never taken this particular drug. I've seen it in action in others, however. I have one friend who is absolutely notorious for Ambien shopping in the middle of the night to the extent that if anyone sees her on the internet after 11p they try to intervene...sometimes she's just doing work. Hey, we're trying to help!

Just take benadryl, folks. It works on the kids, pets, and you.

Re: tripped and fell on the turkey

My favorite one of these is 70-something year old guy who came into the ED and had an unpeeled sweet potato up his butt. Probably 2 in the morning.

Nurse: Sir, can you describe what happened? (rubs eyes)
Patient: I slipped and fell in the bathtub.

Ok, we've heard this slipped and fell in the bathtub story SO MANY TIMES, protip: if you present to the ED with something some place it shouldn't be? Slipped in the tub will only get you labeled "sweet potato ass guy." If you're going to lie (please don't, we've heard it all and really don't give two shits about what you do sexually or otherwise), come up with something else. I would suggest something funny because humor in those situations is always welcome.
posted by syncope at 6:09 PM on August 16 [13 favorites]


How are you all managing to get Ambien so easily?

I went to the doctor and said "hi i need some ambien to help me not murder my upstairs neighbors" and she said "hm, let's try the 5mg to start" and i said "sounds good to me".
posted by elizardbits at 6:13 PM on August 16 [1 favorite]


but why wouldn't he peel it i don't understand

also don't people know they can buy things especially made for butts right from the comfort of their own homes
posted by elizardbits at 6:13 PM on August 16 [4 favorites]


I think they KNOW they can buy butt toys from their own homes, they just don't do so until they're shopping on Ambien. THUS BRINGING THIS THREAD FULL CIRCLE! THANK YOU!
posted by gillyflower at 6:17 PM on August 16 [8 favorites]


I got mine because I have chronic insomnia. This stuff has made a huge difference for me.
posted by bile and syntax at 6:17 PM on August 16


I guess this is where I talk about the anti-frog fort.

I've had a number of interesting experiences on Ambien, but the one that stands out the most was the time I (apparently) got out of bed shortly after taking 20mg, rounded up every floor lamp and spare blanket/sheet in the house, and created a 5-pole tent in the middle of the living room. I then barricaded the living room doors with tables and chairs - the dining room table was a perfect fit for the double pocket doors on one side.

Our living room couch remained undisturbed in the epicenter of all the chaos.

My ex woke up due to the last banging sounds from the furniture, got worried after a minute or two of total silence, and padded sleepily to the living room only to find the mother and father of all living room forts, with me drifting off to sleep on the couch in the center.

"Honey..."
"Mrmph?"
"Honey what- what IS all this?"

"It's an anti-frog fort, duh", and with that I turned over and conked out for 14 straight hours.
posted by Ryvar at 6:18 PM on August 16 [58 favorites]


aramaic: "How are you all managing to get Ambien so easily?"

It's fairly simple to ask your general practitioner if you have a history of insomnia? Although, it does help if you have health insurance to cover the pharmacy costs.

Ambien worked OK for me when I started it but after awhile it started losing it's effect and I woke up around 4AM-5AM for a few days at a time. Oh well, for a short time I had a "normal" sleeping schedule so it's all not a waste.
posted by chrono_rabbit at 6:19 PM on August 16


I wish I could tell you what the fuck is wrong with the sort of people who wouldn't peel the sweet potato they stick up their ass.

Sort of like I wish I could explain the pica where people eat spare change. I DO NOT KNOW WHAT LIES WITHIN THE HEART OF MAN (however, to be fair: pica almost always women, butt insanity men).

I have so many derails here, so just email me/comment on my lj and I'll tell you some hils stories that aren't even mine.

Now: people who take ambien IANYD, however, please be careful with that drug if you take it. People not only make bad shopping decisions on it, but also accidentally OD and so on. It's a bad drug.
posted by syncope at 6:23 PM on August 16 [4 favorites]


It's a bad drug.

Agreed. After the anti-frog fort incident I switched to just the occasional Benadryl to help regulate. Totally the right decision.
posted by Ryvar at 6:26 PM on August 16


It's a bad drug.

I haven't had any problems. The insomnia was worse.
posted by bile and syntax at 6:28 PM on August 16 [3 favorites]


Why isn't anybody talking about the amnesia? I know it's a problem. But I know the anxiety I experienced when I knew I wouldn't be able to get to sleep was worse. But the Ambien amnesia... golly! It's nothing short of unsettling. Does anyone else experience it?

And now I've started seeing evidence that I've gotten up to snack on something. This is a wonderful side effect considering I have recently developed a severe loss of appetite and began dropping weight because I forget to eat for 24 hours. But when I take Ambien I can eat my way through half a pound of blueberries with sour cream! I just don't remember enjoying it.
posted by ezust at 6:42 PM on August 16 [3 favorites]


> So, I spent some time perusing the Google Play store on my phone. I woke up to a new video game and comic book that I don't recall saying yes to.

Here's my theory. Google in conjunction with the NSA knows you're taking Ambien (search results cross-referenced with hacked pharmacy databases). Once they know that, they just charge shit to your credit card at 4 am local time and you're all "Damn Ambien!".
posted by sylvanshine at 6:47 PM on August 16 [13 favorites]


ezust: "Why isn't anybody talking about the amnesia? I know it's a problem. But I know the anxiety I experienced when I knew I wouldn't be able to get to sleep was worse. But the Ambien amnesia... golly! It's nothing short of unsettling. Does anyone else experience it?"

Well, I could have experienced it... but I don't think I'd remember, haha.

It's always been a last resort if my insomnia acts up and I end up getting a avg of 3-4 hours a day over my normal 7-8 hours. It's useful to be able to go to sleep w/o staring at the ceiling for 1+ hours on a school day.
posted by chrono_rabbit at 6:52 PM on August 16


But the Ambien amnesia... golly! It's nothing short of unsettling. Does anyone else experience it?

Yes. The first time I took Ambien I spent a straight hour - as in sixty full minutes - sitting upright in bed talking in a flawless English accent about minute details of chasing Scottish rebels through the Highlands.

I have no memory of this. At all. Like someone disabled write-access to my memory for the duration.

Also my fake English accent is usually terrible, so I'm not sure what's going on there.

At any rate the amnesia effect gradually wore off over the years. I still wasn't in the driver's seat, but I remember the process of building the anti-frog fort fairly well.
posted by Ryvar at 6:53 PM on August 16 [7 favorites]


There are worse presents Ambien-you can give yourself than the ones available on Amazon. In my teenage years, I was quite the insomniac. Freshman year of college, my girlfriend and I were crazy about each other, but I was considering leaving because I was not crazy about school. She was sober and I had taken some Ambien but wasn't feeling sleepy. I apparently suggested that as a sign of our love we ought to put cigarettes out on each other's hands. She ground one out between my thumb and forefinger. I tried with her and of course it hurt like hell and we stopped. I woke up with a crazy blister and a lot of questions. Nine years on, the scar hasn't faded at all.
posted by vathek at 7:01 PM on August 16 [4 favorites]


Why isn't anybody talking about the amnesia?

I mean really this question just answers itself.
posted by elizardbits at 7:35 PM on August 16 [41 favorites]


But yes the e-shopping thing definitely involves hilarious moments of BUT WHY ARE THERE ENDLESS BOXES OF SOAP ARRIVING shamenesia.
posted by elizardbits at 7:36 PM on August 16 [3 favorites]


"But not in books?"

Well, ambien-me bought one that was a straight-up crazy guide to teaching your two-year-old how to find food and water in the wild ... maybe under the theory that it would be a good outdoor activity book to do with my kids? So ... not so great.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:51 PM on August 16 [6 favorites]


I just make crude ink drawings of characters from bad tv shows.
posted by Ferreous at 7:58 PM on August 16 [1 favorite]


In my opinion, failure of the warning label to disclose that Ambien Walrus is a huge fan of Broadway showtunes and Kindle self-help books should constitute an actionable product liability claim.
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:12 PM on August 16 [4 favorites]


Why isn't anybody talking about the amnesia?

Yep, absolutely. The first time I ever took it, I didn't get right into bed and I had an entire interaction with someone, including playing a video game, that I could not recall. What was strange was that over time, I'd occasionally sort-of remember it, but it was unsettling. I knew it was a real memory, but it was hard to grasp onto it in a tangible way like other memories. The recall was different. I had a couple of other episodes like this too, along with midnight munchies. I'd wake up and find residue of food I had eaten. It really weirded my wife out after while too, which is a major reason I stopped taking it.
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:29 PM on August 16 [1 favorite]


Well, ambien-me bought one that was a straight-up crazy guide to teaching your two-year-old how to find food and water in the wild ... maybe under the theory that it would be a good outdoor activity book to do with my kids? So ... not so great.

Another common side effect of Ambien is it wants your kids to become feral.
posted by item at 8:32 PM on August 16 [1 favorite]


Someday, I will tell you about my Ambien poetry blog.
posted by evil otto at 8:40 PM on August 16 [6 favorites]


melatonin is ineffective at high dosages. Did you ever try taking less

OH YEAH i eventually realized i was taking it wrong, aka just taking it until i got sick or something sleep-related happened but by then i decided that i just wasn't going to bother faffing about with any otc rubbish anymore
posted by elizardbits at 8:40 PM on August 16


the more I think about it the more i realize that I have many many other Tales of Ambien but most of them involve highly irresponsible and illegal behavior so let me just say kids don't do drugs ok
posted by elizardbits at 9:10 PM on August 16 [1 favorite]


Just take benadryl, folks. It works on the kids, pets, and you.

Benadryl makes me hyper so your experience doesn't match mine at all. You really can't make blanket statements like that when it comes to meds. Glad it works for you but that doesn't mean that it works for me.
posted by futz at 9:53 PM on August 16 [4 favorites]


Syncope - I sleepwalk, and was wary of Ambien for that reason. After my insomnia-inducing incident (details spared) I now need it often, but have not ever had an incident of sleepwalking with it. As someone else said above, sleep deprivation is much worse, at least in my experience. Ambien works much better for me than many other drugs, and I'm grateful for that.
posted by Dashy at 10:21 PM on August 16 [1 favorite]


I think I took some ambien once. I got it from a cab customer who was taking all these pills, and she couldn't explain what they were (or where she was going or why, really, but that wasn't really any of my business.) Anyways though she seemed to be having a good time, and she gave me some when I finally dropped her off so when I got home I drank the usual amount of wine and then took one (or more, really, not clear on that part) of those pills.

So I woke up what I think was a few hours later, and my bed was on fire, and there was - I think- a sparrow perched on my ceiling fan.

The fire kind of made sense, and after I put that out I had to shoo the bird out, and that was the weird part. It was January in St Paul, and my window was open a tiny little bit, like that bird would have had to crouch to get through it.

No idea. I called them the "Oh My God pills" after that and took the rest of them much more carefully.
posted by hap_hazard at 10:44 PM on August 16 [11 favorites]


I got a call at 5:30 in the morning from a friend who'd taken Ambien and purposefully stayed up all night to see what would happen.

What happens, apparently, is you get a craving for fruit--"I mean fresh fruit okay not frozen or juice or anything"--and call your friend and ask him where to get fresh fruit at 5:30 in the morning because you dimly remember your friend at one point in life was a concierge and could happily find answers to such questions.

Your friend will tell you to wait a half hour and go to one of the coffeeshop/brunch places in town because they will surely have fruit for a breakfast option. You then invite your friend to come along and he decides to accept because no use going back to sleep at that point and besides, someone needs to be the guide.

The two of you meet at a breakfast place. While eating you notice someone on the other side of the restaurant. You haven't spoken with them in years after a very ugly fight. Filled with fresh fruit, you declare yourself to "feel just like Jesus" and, in the spirit of Jesus, you decide you want to go over and forgive those who trespassed against you.

It is at this point your friend will suggest swapping seats in the booth so you now have a lovely view of the ephemeral posters all over the brunch place's walls, and no view of anyone who might bring out the Jesus in you. Your friend will also make a silent vow to himself to never take Ambien ever.
posted by Spatch at 11:17 PM on August 16 [10 favorites]


This little tidbit is a real eye-opener (so to speak):

Objective data show that insomnia medications, on average, provide a gain of only ten or twenty minutes in total sleep time.

How can this be true? If a person tosses and turns and doesn't nod off till 3 a.m. without a sleep aid, vs. gets knocked on their ass with x-amount of time of taking an Ambien, how is it they are only gaining 20 minutes of actual sleep in the latter scenario? Are those people still tossing and turning and not actually sleeping -- just in an Ambien altered state -- and thus still operating on the same sleep deficit they would be if they'd taken nothing, but perceive themselves to have slept more?
posted by nacho fries at 11:53 PM on August 16



Sleep shopping while on Ambien is like throwing a surprise party for yourself when the stuff you order is delivered in 3-7 days.


And that's why I have an East German-made concertina and not one, but two Chairman Mao alarm clocks. Ambien + eBay's Buy It Now option = DISASTER IN THE MAKING
posted by palomar at 11:55 PM on August 16 [1 favorite]


I really don't get all this. I take Ambien for restless leg syndrome. I've taken 15 milligrams a night for the past 12 years, and it's never made me sleepy. To get sleepy I have to take 20 milligrams, 1200 milligrams of Gabapentin and 6-8 oz of tequila. And even then I can put the cat out on the way to bed. At least I think it's the cat.
posted by carping demon at 11:58 PM on August 16 [5 favorites]


Someday, I will tell you about my Ambien poetry blog.

I feel like that day is today.
posted by palomar at 12:10 AM on August 17 [13 favorites]


How can this be true? If a person tosses and turns and doesn't nod off till 3 a.m. without a sleep aid, vs. gets knocked on their ass with x-amount of time of taking an Ambien, how is it they are only gaining 20 minutes of actual sleep in the latter scenario?

Lots can be hidden behind the phrase "on average".
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 12:36 AM on August 17 [1 favorite]


I've had ambien-induced hallucinations, sleep-buying (a Radiohead book--I had to check my order history on Amazon to make sure I did order it), and one day in which I just lost 8 hours, during which I got in a minor car accident. That night: wait, did I get in a car accident this morning? I've not taken it since then.
posted by persona au gratin at 1:34 AM on August 17 [1 favorite]


Btw, this is a great article. Thanks for posting it.
posted by persona au gratin at 1:36 AM on August 17 [2 favorites]


I do have some amnesia in the time between taking it and actually passing out, but I don't do anything out of character and my memory generally is much, much better. I do get hungry after taking it pretty consistently so I plan to have a snack either right before or right after I take it, and then clean my teeth.

For everyone who is on about this not being a good drug or why don't you just... you sound like everyone who has ever told me that this was all in my head and I just wasn't trying hard enough. I've tried benadryl, and it wasn't adequate. Melatonin on its own isn't enough. I tried Lunesta and got really sick for a couple of days and also did not sleep worth anything. I wouldn't be paying money for this if it were something I could handle myself, and believe me if I could have taken an OTC med instead of paying patent price for this, I would have. Why don't you mind your own business about what works for other people?
posted by bile and syntax at 2:38 AM on August 17 [4 favorites]


I tried Ambien once and I don't remember what happened, except that my husband told me that I had been in the kitchen babbling incoherently and refusing to go back to bed in the middle of the night.

Apparently another family member did the classic crazy food prep, devouring, and failure to clean up, and then gave her husband a talking to for failing to clean up after himself when they woke up the next morning.

I have moved on to medical marijuana with high CBD and almost no TCH. Sleep, no high, and no weird food.
posted by miss tea at 3:20 AM on August 17 [5 favorites]


My favorite Ambien shopping story of all time: Dear me on Ambien
Why in God's name is the entire living room covered in plexiglass, christmas lights and black paint? How is it possible for to even find plexiglass at 3:30 in the morning? You apparently can't go four minutes without phoning somebody about what the "people made of rain" would like we humans to do with "the sea and the power of earth", but there is some asshole in this city who you can call up in the middle of the night and somehow order a 20 minute rush delivery of giant plexiglass sheets? They don't deliver fucking PIZZA at that hour, how did you do this? No, tell me: How. Was. This. Accomplished?

Oh, god it's the door and... yep, another shipment of Mason Jars from Amazon, huh? HOW MANY MASON JARS DO YOU NEED, AMBIEN ME?!?
posted by Jacqueline at 4:13 AM on August 17 [7 favorites]


Wait, narcoleptic dogs?

narcoleptic dogs
posted by Jacqueline at 4:31 AM on August 17


Couldn't find it the article above, but like the trade name of suvorexant is going to be Belsomra.
FDA approves new type of sleep drug, Belsomra.
posted by floam at 4:40 AM on August 17 [1 favorite]


I wish I could tell you what the fuck is wrong with the sort of people who wouldn't peel the sweet potato they stick up their ass.

This sentence makes me wish that there was a MetaFilter equivalent to /r/nocontext
posted by Jacqueline at 4:45 AM on August 17 [6 favorites]


Benadryl increases my appetite to a miserable degree. Like, "oh my god I'm so hungry" all day the next day, in a really unpleasant way. Chub city.
posted by the young rope-rider at 4:46 AM on August 17 [1 favorite]


I'm fascinated how Ambien hallucinations can be so specific and persistent. One time this website, and this one alone, appeared to be formatted like an old-timey place-mat from a diner with a log cabin theme. The borders were made of drawings of logs, the background was tea-stained like a fake pirate map, etc. Other sites were unaffected, but this one kept that theme every time I came back to it for half an hour or so.
posted by StickyCarpet at 5:34 AM on August 17 [5 favorites]


Let me just say that I am loving this thread. I especially enjoy the comments time-stamped from around 2 or 3 am and I'm wondering how many of you are doing crazy Ambien-postings right now.
posted by math at 6:06 AM on August 17 [5 favorites]


Man, my docs are the boringest, buzzkillingest docs. Hmph.
posted by aramaic at 6:20 AM on August 17 [1 favorite]


Hell of a lot of people here talking drugs for insomnia.
America, huh?

Me, I dabbled in temazepam a few times, and then just stuck to my grandpa's recipe: shotgunning nine fingers of cheap scotch.
posted by Mezentian at 7:06 AM on August 17 [1 favorite]


I love you all. Thank you!
posted by mikelieman at 7:22 AM on August 17


How the hell can Ambien be legal, and pot illegal? How the hell did Ambien make it past clinical trials? Sounds like it's safer to pop randoms at a pill party than to take Ambien. Crazy.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:28 AM on August 17 [7 favorites]


I think it really must affect people differently. I found that the only weird experiences I had (which were quite tame compared to what many people are talking about) were when I did not go to bed right after taking it.

I also found that the 10mg dose I was given was really way too high for me. Even when I was down to 1/4 pill when I was tapering off (which was more like between 1/8 to 3/8 depending on the pill cutters mood) was still pretty strong.
posted by All Out of Lulz at 8:00 AM on August 17


Re: sleepwalking and ghosts: I think this is this comment from sonascope.

Benadryl works better for sleep if you take a lower dosage. Increasing the dosage doesn't make you sleepier -- it actually kicks it up and has the opposite effect (for most people, obviously with all psychoactive drugs YMMV). See this explanation, for example.

I personally fall asleep faster on Benadryl, but it doesn't seem to improve the quality of my sleep (assuming the FitBit is giving me useful data -- not actually sure about that).
posted by pie ninja at 8:03 AM on August 17 [1 favorite]


How the hell can Ambien be legal, and pot illegal? How the hell did Ambien make it past clinical trials? Sounds like it's safer to pop randoms at a pill party than to take Ambien. Crazy.

Generally speaking it works for most people and you wake up feeling refreshed vs. Benadryl's next-day grogginess. Back when I was flying Seattle-to-Albany every three months I consistently took it immediately prior to boarding, without any incidents.

The problem is that when it doesn't overcome your initial resistance to sleep (too wound up, stupidly drank caffeine, etc.), you're suddenly talking about amnesia-inducing LSD with all the joy sucked out of it.

In my case in particular it was interacting with severe bipolar type 1 (manic-bias), so there were likely compounding effects causing the severe reactions detailed above. I've been 95% successfully treated these past eight years, but back when I was taking Ambien that was not at all the case.
posted by Ryvar at 8:20 AM on August 17 [1 favorite]


Amnesia induced LSD with the joy removed is a brilliant descriptor for my experience with ambien also. To be fair, I am a sleepwalker, the last three paternal generations were sleepwalkers, and nobody should have prescribed something like ambien to a person who already has to trip wire their doors and hide the keys to keep themselves from wandering the streets with a flashlight, like a somnolent Euripides.
posted by dejah420 at 9:45 AM on August 17 [2 favorites]


How the hell did Ambien make it past clinical trials?

When normal people take it (or people who do not experience weirdness while taking it, i suppose is a better descriptor) they take a pill and get into bed, nervously waiting to see what will happen. About 20 minutes or so later they fall asleep.

When other people take it, and these people seem to be in the minority of the overall ambien taking population, they take it and putter about doing pre-bedtime ritual stuff. They don't quite realize it's kicked in and their behavior starts skewing towards the bizarre and hilarious. I've noticed that it tends to be a more obvious problem with people who are ad(h)d inclined, as we are more used to remembering just one last thing that needs to be done at 1am, even if it's something as mundane as flossing.

then come the playstations
posted by elizardbits at 9:56 AM on August 17 [11 favorites]


And yes, using it to counteract chemically induced wakefulness is a really bad but often hilarious in retrospect idea.
posted by elizardbits at 9:57 AM on August 17


"When normal people take it (or people who do not experience weirdness while taking it, i suppose is a better descriptor) they take a pill and get into bed, nervously waiting to see what will happen. About 20 minutes or so later they fall asleep. "

Yeah, I just had to learn that if I take an ambien, I go to sleep with a BOOK, not reading the internet on my phone. Problem solved. I don't get out of bed and wander around, or hold weird conversations, or anything like that, but I do, apparently, like to shop online.

I do also have the experience where I usually have to back up about three pages in whatever book I was reading the night before when I took an ambien, because there is apparently a period where I can still read (or shop on the internet) but where I'm not remembering what I'm reading. But that sometimes happens to me just when I'm trying to read myself to sleep normally.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:10 AM on August 17 [2 favorites]


I've been a chroinic insomniac most of my adult life. It's two-fold with me though -- trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. I tend to wake up between 3:30 & 5 in the morning if I manage to get to sleep by 10 or 11. 8 hours uninterrupted is still, even with medication, a rare thing brought on only by utter exhaustion every couple weeks. I self-medicated with alcohol throughout my 20's but that became unsupportable by my mid-30's as booze was ruining my life in other ways.

I'm currently on a low-ish dose of Klonapin because I'm also prone to anxiety, and I take it at bed time -- usually takes about an hour to kick in. I read until my book stops making sense and becomes squiggles.

I tried Ambien for a short time -- maybe a month? and never had any hallucinatory problems, save once, or sleepwalking/shopping incidents, but I tried pretty assiduously to keep to doctor's order to take it & get immediately in bed. The only time I took it & didn't get immediately in bed, I was sitting up at my desk reading MetaFilter, & then my monitor just... melted. I had trouble making it the 15 feet to my bed. Very unpleasant.
Overall, it knocked me out just great, but did not help at all with the 3 am waking back up, which is incidentally a time of high anxiety. Brain: "Lets lay here in the dark & stress out about all the shit that we absolutlely can't fix in the middle of the night!" Me: "Hey, doc..."

I'm not too happy about needing pharmaceuticals, and klonapin has its side effects and is a bitch to withdraw from -- I've undergone it a couple times when I felt like the anxiety was under control, but alas. I wish ambien would keep me asleep at night, and if something else that stops the waking up comes along, I'd be happy to consider it at this point.

The back & forth in the article between Merck and the FDA over dosage, however, was not encouraging.
posted by Florida Lee at 11:18 AM on August 17 [1 favorite]


For those popping Ambien or other hypnotics for recreation (rather than medical need), a note of caution: it might not be safe. With all due disclaimers about causality, there is a persistent association of various hypnotics with excess mortality and cancer. I've seen several such studies over the years, but here's one overview:

Hypnotics' association with mortality or cancer: a matched cohort study

"Receiving hypnotic prescriptions was associated with greater than threefold increased hazards of death even when prescribed <18 pills/year. This association held in separate analyses for several commonly used hypnotics and for newer shorter-acting drugs. Control of selective prescription of hypnotics for patients in poor health did not explain the observed excess mortality."

If you need it, you need it, but if you don't, and want to use it recreationally, a heads up - don't assume it is necessarily 100% safe; it might be, or not.
posted by VikingSword at 11:19 AM on August 17


Btw. I believe it's the same Kripke, so I linked to the study referenced for those conclusions.
posted by VikingSword at 11:27 AM on August 17


Hypnotics' association with mortality or cancer: a matched cohort study

"Receiving hypnotic prescriptions was associated with greater than threefold increased hazards of death even when prescribed [less than] 18 pills/year. This association held in separate analyses for several commonly used hypnotics and for newer shorter-acting drugs. Control of selective prescription of hypnotics for patients in poor health did not explain the observed excess mortality."


I don't doubt this a bit, but don't you think the cause of the excess cancer is far more likely to be the insomnia these people were being treated for than the hypnotics they were treated with?

Even just using the data of the Kripke study, the fact that less than 18 pills a year had such a strong effect and more than six times that many pills did not even double the effect, seems to me to imply that the cause was insomnia itself, not the hypnotics.
posted by jamjam at 12:19 PM on August 17


Sweet Elvis, this thread is making me REALLY freakin glad I stick to weed and whiskey before bedtime.

Crazy shit happens on pills, and I would be really, REALLY weirded out to wake up to an anti-frog fort.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 12:22 PM on August 17 [2 favorites]


Absolutely, which is why I preface all this with "all due disclaimers about causality", and never made very strong statements about "cause", just "might be safe or not". It's unknown. They did try to control for prior conditions, but obviously it does not discount that insomnia and/or whatever the cause of insomnia is might not be responsible - so, an actual case of "correlation is not causation" for once. This is also covered in the "weakness" section of the study. My point was simply a note of caution for recreational users, pointing out that it's not a given that Ambien is safe even in occasional use - it might be, or it might not, you're taking a risk.
posted by VikingSword at 12:33 PM on August 17


That study is mentioned in the article, which I will now smugly castigate everyone for not having read, despite my having read it myself only moments ago.
posted by elizardbits at 12:59 PM on August 17 [1 favorite]


I've heard this about asthma and bipolar drugs. Paranoid me wonders if drug companies favor drugs that have this property. Getting customers hooked through this mechanism is good for business. It is not exactly addiction, but....

The unfortunate fact is, most medications that work and are taken on a daily basis (even if only for 14 days as is recommended and largely ignored for various SSRIs and all proton pump inhibitors) will have "rebound effects" precisely because they work. Of course a bi-polar patient is going to be more prone to psychosis or manic effects if they withdraw from an anti-psychotic drug. SSRIs cause "brain zaps" and other effects. Blood-pressure lowering meds can bring dangerous chronic hypertension down to a much healthier level but with a higher consequence of extreme blood pressure if the drug is abruptly discontinued.

That isn't really some sort of conspiracy -- it's laughable, and much harder to find drugs that you can safely take every day (like Claritin for many people) without many noticeable side effects, and no "rebound effects." Most effective medications mess with your homeostatic equilibrium to some extent and withdrawing from a medication that treats any symptom is highly likely to result in a temporarily increased intensity of said symptoms.

This goes across the board, especially starting with sedating / anti-anxiety drugs like barbiturates, benzos (Valium, Xanax, Klonopin, Ativan), benzo-like drugs (i.e. Ambien), alcohol, GHB, etc. These have the most extreme rebound effects when taken daily and withdrawn after some extend period of time (varies).

It continues with most antihistamines, all corticosteroids, almost all psychiatric meds, narcotics (of course), anti-inflammatories, MAO inhibitors...nearly everything, really. In the case of an asthma patient for example, albuterol is a great instant treatment but rebound effects build rapidly and it has cardiovascular effects. Corticosteroids all can lead to rebound effects but over the life of the patient are typically safer than inhaling something akin to pure adrenaline (albuterol). So we choose the corticosteroids if the effects of the asthma are life-threatening in the long term, which they often are (developing COPD ,etc).
posted by aydeejones at 1:48 PM on August 17 [4 favorites]


Whether western medicine works by focusing on allopathic symptom treatment, of course, is a whole 'nother box of 'nilla wafers.
posted by aydeejones at 1:53 PM on August 17 [1 favorite]


Ryvar: Back when I was flying Seattle-to-Albany every three months I consistently took it immediately prior to boarding

I seriously read this as "immediately prior to hoarding".
posted by sylvanshine at 3:25 PM on August 17 [1 favorite]


re: Ambien Amnesia - this phenomenon is not entirely surprising as there's a lot of research on the requirement of sleep (and the differences in sleep stages) for declarative memory consolidation.

Pharmacologically mucking with GABA receptors to induce sleep could easily be messing up or bypassing the changes in brain state that are required to make a memory "stick" for the medium/long term.

There are a lot of neat experiments where volunteers are asked to rote memorize something, then either take a nap immediately afterward or no nap. Immediate nappers recall the rote memorizaion significantly better than non-nappers.

Don't cram for exams, then take Ambien immediately afterwards. I guess.
posted by porpoise at 4:05 PM on August 17


That was the thing about Ambien amnesia for the first couple years I took it - there was NOTHING. No fuzzy recollection, no hazy kinda-sorta-sounds familiar, maybe - just a gaping black void followed by amusing stories about a total stranger over coffee the next morning. Listening to my girlfriend tell me about how she found me naked and badly bruised under a collapsed pile of barstools in the storage closet, and when she asked me "Hey, are you okay? Do you want to come out of the closet now?" I immediately burst into tears and blubbered out "that's the nicest thing anybody has ever said to me."

Then I asked her why there were spiders crawling out of her eye sockets.
posted by Ryvar at 4:26 PM on August 17 [6 favorites]


People who are angry at me about my comments: the first time you see an OD from Ambien because the walrus confused them and the person didn't remember taking the first dose, then drank a bunch and took another dose, ok, get back to me. I'm not telling you not to take something that works for you. I'm also absolutely not judging for taking this drug. What I'm simply saying is that I think this drug will end up as this time period's Halcyon. The efficacy for some people doesn't outweigh how many people end up dying either from the drug itself or from collaterally bullshit the drug causes.

FFS, I take Ativan. I'm not saying don't use Rx meds. I'm saying I've seen a LOT of bullshit related to this drug in my work life. Just because the drug companies buy off the FDA and get a drug approved doesn't mean it's great for the vast majority of people. Will it work and be great for some people? SURE. My mother worked for the FDA for years. It's all about finesse.

Stop being reactionary. I'm not ripping your sleeping pills out of your hands or saying every single person reacts the same way.
posted by syncope at 4:43 PM on August 17 [5 favorites]


And that's why I have an East German-made concertina and not one, but two Chairman Mao alarm clocks. Ambien + eBay's Buy It Now option = DISASTER IN THE MAKING

I'm never taking Ambien thanks to these stories. I'm bad enough at buying random crap and forgetting why without the aid of pharmaceuticals.
posted by winna at 6:34 PM on August 17 [3 favorites]


Syncope, saying it's a bad drug and then expecting people who take it for medical reasons not to react like we're being judged is a little disingenuous, especially given the stigma around mental health. It sounds like you've seen a lot of people who have polysubstance abuse problems and had issues because they took too much and also drank heavily or took other drugs with it, which is substantially different from it having significant adverse side effects when used as prescribed.
posted by bile and syntax at 7:21 PM on August 17 [2 favorites]


I have been put on probation for a total of about 100,500 hours on the something awful forums due to posting on zopiclone
posted by tehloki at 7:27 PM on August 17 [7 favorites]


My pulmonologist ordered a sleep study because I was complaining of feeling exhausted all the time (not surprising considering my very severe lung disease and 20 yrs of Parkinson's, but still...). I went to the sleep lab and was given an Ambien, wired up and tucked in. I slept just fine and got up the next morning, had a quick chat with the doctor and headed for home. I drive a mobility scooter and run all over town on it and had been back and forth to that particular doctor's building on numerous times - my apartment is approximately 20 minutes away. That day I took an hour and ten minutes to get home and I have absolutely no idea where I went or what I did in that time.

I told my friend about it and he laughed and then told his story: He's been on Ambien for years at 10 mg - and he has, very sadly, terrible short-term memory loss; I was blaming old age or early Alzheimers, but I'm sure it's Ambien now. Anyway, this particular night he got up from bed and put on his pants, went to the dining room and emptied his pockets on the table, taking only his car keys with him. He then went to the den, opened the window, removed the screen, and climbed out the window, knocking over trash cans in the process. He drove off in his car and was apparently weaving all over the road when a young man who knew the family saw him driving erratically and followed him. My friend soon ran the car into a curb hard enough to flatten his tire, so he drove a little further on to a roadside rest to change the tire. The young man watched him and then turned his own truck across the exit of the rest area so my friend couldn't get out - and called the police. They came and gave my friend a breathalyzer which showed no alcohol but they took him in anyway since he wasn't in any condition to drive - and he was being belligerant and obnoxious so they figured it was drugs of some kind (my friend is 69 years old BTW). He wouldn't tell them his phone number or name so they just locked him up overnight. The next day he calmed down and called his wife and she came and got him. He wound up doing community service as his sentence - 40 hours. As soon as his doctor found out what happened, she reduced his dosage of Ambien to 5 mg and only a week or two later the FDA dropped the recommended dosage to 5 mg.

I take a half a clonazepam/Klonopin for sleep every night and it works perfectly, but the idiot doctor who did the sleep study is determined to take me off the clonazepam and put me ON AMBIEN! I have flat refused and he's annoyed with me - he says all those Ambien stories are just stories! Nope, sorry - even I spent an hour in an Ambien fugue and don't want to repeat it.

My pharmacist told me to avoid the Ambien if I can and if I can't he told me loudly and clearly to be damn sure I don't get up out of bed after I take the Ambien - just stay in bed the whole night. I live on the 11th floor of an apartment building and my pharmacist said he doesn't want me trying to fly! He's being silly, of course - or, I guess he is, anyway.

The biggest problem with benzodiazepines like Klonopin is withdrawal - but I don't plan to withdraw; next problem is tolerance/need to increase dosage - nope, I've been on half a tablet for years; third problem is loss of libido. Hah! I wish that was a problem, but those days are over. I don't know why the doctors push Ambien so much - I would think they'd be worried about the risk of lawsuits, but I understand that not everyone is affected the same way or to the same degree and I know first hand the horrible effects of sleep deprivation, so I think they need to come up with something that works reliably and is safer than Ambien.

For restless legs/periodic limb movement disorder, Requip/ropinerole has been a miracle for me and my friend is on Miraquip, I think it's called - and she's also very happy.
posted by aryma at 9:43 PM on August 17 [1 favorite]


> when I take Ambien I can eat my way through half a pound of blueberries with sour cream

That's better than my relative, who took Ambien and was found in the middle of the night eating baking soda.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:31 AM on August 18 [2 favorites]


How are you all managing to get Ambien so easily?

I walk into the VA and they pelt me with bottles until I catch one.
posted by corb at 10:38 AM on August 18 [6 favorites]


Ambien, like alcohol or an anesthetic, triggers the brain’s main inhibitory system, which depends on binding between GABA—gamma-aminobutyric acid, a neurotransmitter—and gaba receptors on the surface of billions of neurons. gaba receptors can be found throughout the brain, and when they’re activated the brain slows.

GABA GABA hey!
posted by carmicha at 7:57 PM on August 18 [2 favorites]


Dr. to me. Your husband has cancer, you should take this to help you sleep...one pill, nightmares of the worst kind...got up, started shopping for funeral dresses that showed up 2 days later (thanks amazon prime for getting my screwup to me fast)...5 funeral dresses. Put in closet, husband in full remission for 7 years, got dresses out found ambien in pocket....threw it out and sent dresses to goodwill...done.
posted by OhSusannah at 3:33 PM on September 11 [1 favorite]


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