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Lunesta vs Ambein

marcie7mmarcie7 Posts: 10
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:40 AM in Pain Medications
I was wondering if any of you have used either Lunesta or Ambien. I was on Ambien for about 6 months and my NS abruptly called me in for a visit...during which he took me off Ambien and put me on Lunesta which doesn't work nearly as well. He said Ambien would make me too dependent...not addicted but dependent. I quess my question is I liked my Ambien (probably a little too much) and I wondered if any of you have used these meds and could comment. I feel like looking for another doctor. I know what that sounds like but it helped me sleep like nothing else. I'm not on anything else besides 75 mg. Lyrica once a day and 500mg Naprosin once a day. NO opiates at all. Have any of you heard of any warnings that have been issued to drs. that would have prompted this. Also I have an L-5 S-1 disc herniation and have had one discatomy w/mild to moderate stenosis.


  • I just wanted to welcome you and bring your post to the top again. I take serax(oxazepam) for sleep. I may be dependent also on it but I need to sleep and hopefully my body will heal better. I have tried several medications for sleep but so far this is the best one for me for the past 2 years since my back injury. I used to take only gravol or benedryl when I was working nights to help me sleep during the day as I worked at night before. But then my work hours changed back to days and I wan't able to sleep without taking meds. It can be a real cycle of becoming dependent on sleeping pills. I haven't researched anything about Ambien and don't know the reason why he would've switched your meds. I hope you find the reason why or someone to help you. I know some Doctors prescribe a sleep study and it would be helpful to learn why you're not able to sleep naturally. In my case they didn't take shift workers. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    I do know that if used too often Ambien can cause dependance but I'm not sure if it's all that different for Lunesta. I use generic ambien and use it, at the max, 2 times per week.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • I'm on ambien and I love it. I'm sure there is a dependency issue but if I weren't in so much pain constantly, I wouldn't have been given the prescription. My thinking is that at least I can get a complete night's sleep. That is a huge blessing for me. I've stopped thinking about dependency issues. What do I do? My lower back is about 3 trillion times worse since I had my fusion surgery and I've had esi's, radio frequency ablation, the whole gambit, to try to "fix" it. So ambien is a small but wonderful blessing in my world. If my pain could be resolved somewhat, I'd probably worry more.
  • I like it, but not at $50.00 for 30 pills. It also only lets me sleep for 2-3 hours and then I wake up and can't easily fall back asleep. Now, I'm using Zanaflex, it's $10.00 for 90 pills and relaxes my muscles and let's me sleep for a much longer period of time....if I do wake up, I can easily fall back asleep.
  • and was told that it can have bad side effects as to doing things out of character and no remembering. She found this to be true as one night she got up and went on the computer and ordered a new comforter. Then went back to bed. She does not do this type of thing without much thought and researching pricing. Her other Dr said her husband was on it and went to an atm machine in the middle of the night and took out money, came back and went to bed. Never remembering it. So that is the part that is scarey.
    My husband is on Lunesta, and gets along with it very well, although it is very expensive, as we have to meet a deductable again. A month of it was 175.00. But works the best for him, as he has anxiety issues. Hope this helps. Love, Robin
  • and the one that works (the ONLY one) is AmbienCR. And sometimes even that doesn't help me sleep more than a couple of hours! My problem isn't "dependence", it's "tolerance". My poor Dr's are constantly having to change my meds to keep me comfortable.

    As far as Lunesta-to me, and this is just my experience, but I found it to be junk. Benedryl makes me drowsier than it did, and that's not saying much.

    With Ambien (the regular form, not the CR), there is a generic available (zolpidem tartrate), but for some reason the generic didn't work nearly as well as the name brand (which raises a problem for some insurance companies, including mine). When I first started taking the regular Ambien, it would help me fall asleep rather quickly (within about a half hour) but I would wake up 2-3 hours later and not able to fall back to sleep. I tried adding a Xanax with it and that didn't help, so I tried taking a Xanax when I would wake up-still couldn't get back to sleep. By the time I would be drowsy enough that I thought I could sleep again, it would be 5:30am and time to get my son up & off to school. When I discussed this with my Pain Dr-he told me that he felt the CR would help me better and said he takes it himself "every night". I asked him if that was a good idea, having heard about the addiction/dependence rumors and such, and he told me that if I didn't have all the pain I have, I probably wouldn't need help sleeping, and that the LAST thing he's worried about is me becoming dependent on any medication-that his concern is keeping me comfortable & assuring I get enough sleep because, as we all know, not getting enough sleep wreaks havoc with our bodies & exacerbates our pain levels (keep in mind that I never run short on my pain meds early, never call for more pills, and often have extras left).

    There ARE the risks of side effects of doing things and not remembering having done them-and a big one is "sleep driving". Luckily the only thing I've done that I've found out about later is make myself something to eat, like a sandwich or something (not cooking!). However; having said that, I also don't make it "easy" to grab my keys & hop in the car the nights I take the AmbienCR. I make sure my 17yr old knows I'm taking my "sleepy pill" as I call it, and either give him my keys, or I put them in a different place than where I normally hang them. I've never had a problem that I'm aware of where I'm frantically looking for my car keys after I've taken my sleepy pill-I just go to bed right away and sleep (and boy is it nice when I can sleep more than a couple of hours at a time!). :-)

    I would say that if the Lunesta isn't working for you, if it were ME, I would call the Dr's ofc, and tell the RN (or whoever you speak to) that it isn't working and you'd like to go back to the Ambien that did work. If the Dr refuses to put you back on it, ask point blank, why? If you can't resolve it, see if there is anything else he/she is comfortable giving you that might help (tamazepam works for a lot of people). If the ONLY thing he/she is willing to give you is Lunesta & you're not satisfied with that, then perhaps it IS time to seek out a different Dr...? Do you have any other Dr's that you see currently that would prescribe it for you? I know that if my Pain Dr isn't comfortable prescribing something for me, my Primary Dr surely will. Just something to think about. Only you can make that decision. If Ambien was such a bad drug, it wouldn't be available...that's my take on it.

    Best of luck to you-please keep us posted!
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,865
    Ambien is not right for me! Along with my other medications, many nights Ambien would do some very scary things to me. I would wake up in the middle of the night, go into the kitchen, start cooking, leaving the stove on and going back to bed. The sound of the smoke alarm woke my wife. Luckily all we had was a burnt pan. I did not remember a thing about what happened.

    I've talked to other people and some of my doctor friends. They agree, some people have problems with Ambien.

    On Lunesta, I never had any negative effects.

    I've stopped both of those and now just try some more natural ways to get to sleep.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • I've been taking the generic form of Ambien for quite a while. It comes in 10 mg. pills, and I break them and take about 7 mg. every night to stretch them out--my insurance will only pay for a certain amount every so many days. When I travel, I take 10 mg. because I have trouble sleeping in new places.

    It has been great for me--I go to sleep quickly, and sleep 7-8 hours pretty much without fail. I have never gotten up in the middle of the night and done strange things. I'm probably dependent, but sleep is so important to me, I'm willing to deal with that. I figure no sleep is worse for me than needing the Ambien. I also take it when we fly on overnight flights, which has been a godsend since I normally don't sleep much while flying. I take one, and I'm out like a light for the whole flight.
  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,730
    And welcome to S.H. My P.M. Dr. is willing to prescribe me what ever works and has. I've used it all at one time or another. Lunesta made me feel hung over. Ambien CR and Ambien generic form which comes in 10 mg. work well for me. But if I use it too often, like anything, it becomes less effective. As for one being more dependent than the other. I think that's BULL! Maybe he wants you to mix it up. To avoid building a tolerance. I take mine very sparingly. Otherwise they stop working well.
    Good luck, Jim
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
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