By Nurse Mark
Are you still taking Ambien? Lunesta? Sonata? After what we have written about their dangers in past HealthBeat Newsletters?
Or maybe you just haven’t read those newsletters or maybe you forgot them – well, here are the articles once again so that you can refresh your memory:
- Kavinace Or The Lunesta Moth? You Decide!
- Dying For A Good Night’s Sleep?
- Got PTSD? Want To Make It Worse? Just Take This Drug!
Are you back from your reading now? Good! Did you think I was being just a little alarmist in writing those articles? Well, here is a recent headline found on The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website:
Sharp rise in emergency department visits involving the sleep medication zolpidem
Zolpidem is the active ingredient in Ambien, Ambien CR, Edluar and Zolpimist
Now, before you go thinking that this is yet another dire warning from some woo-woo far-out all-natural herbal medicine website, it’s not – The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is a part of our very own government’s Department Of Health And Human Services. If our own BigPharma-funded government is warning people about this “FDA approved” drug, then you know things are getting serious!
SAMHSA recently produced “The DAWN Report” (Drug Abuse Warning Network) which gives us the following “bullet points” in summary:
- The number of zolpidem-related emergency department (ED) visits involving adverse reactions increased nearly 220 percent from 6,111 visits in 2005 to 19,487 visits in 2010
- Females accounted for two thirds (68 percent) of zolpidem-related ED visits involving adverse reactions in 2010
- Patients aged 45 or older represented about three quarters (74 percent) of zolpidem-related ED visits involving adverse reactions while those aged 65 or older represented about one third (32 percent) of such visits
- Half of visits (50 percent) involved other pharmaceuticals combined with zolpidem, including narcotic pain relievers (26 percent) and other anti-anxiety and insomnia medications (16 percent)
The full report can be found here: http://www.samhsa.gov/data/2k13/DAWN079/sr079-Zolpidem.htm
The DAWN Report makes for some interesting and eye-opening – even alarming – reading and is a must-see for anyone who is using these drugs or who has a loved one using these drugs.
“But wait a minute,” you say… “Maybe this drug is a bit spooky, but at least I get some sleep when I take it!”
Then you say “If you take that away I don’t know what I’ll do – I’ve tried every other drug…”
But have you tried Dr. Myatt’s suggestions for insomnia?
I know, I know, you are a busy person with a stressful life and you don’t have time for all that. That’s why Ambien is so nice, right? Just pop the little pill and go to sleep – maybe, sort of.
Well, because you are busy, here is the short course: some of our most effective supplements to promote healthy sleep.
- Maxi Multi: 3 caps, 3 times per day with meals. Optimal (not minimal) doses of B complex vitamins and magnesium (both found in Maxi Multi) are particularly important for insomnia.
- Melatonin: this hormone decreases with age. Melatonin is a potent antioxidant that helps regulate Circadian Rhythms. It should be used in almost all cases of insomnia. Melatonin is also an an “anti stress” hormone.
Some people complain that they tried melatonin and it didn’t work for them. We usually find that they tried it in a form that they swallowed, as a tablet. Melatonin is not well-absorbed this way, and we recommend that it be take sublingually – that is, dissolved under the tongue. This allows the hormone to enter the bloodstream more directly and without being altered by stomach acids. Rarely, others complain that melatonin helped them sleep, but left them feeling groggy the next day. If this occurs, try taking a smaller dose – a half or even a quarter-tablet to start with.
- L-5-HTP (5-Hydroxy-Tryptophan) 100 mg: 1 cap, 3 times per day, twice with meals and once before bed. Dosage may be increased to 2 caps, 3 times per day after 2 weeks if response is inadequate. L-5-HTP is a neurotransmitter precursor; most neurotransmitters decrease with age.
- Magnesium (amino acid chelate): 2 tabs, 45 minutes before bedtime. (In addition to what is contained in Maxi-Multi) Magnesium is a “calming” mineral.
- Lavender Essential Oil: Used as aromatherapy, lavender has a balancing, relaxing and uplifting effect. Apply several drops to a cotton ball or diffuser to help drift peacefully off to sleep.
Here is a trick that was taught to me as a young Nurse by an older and very experienced European Nurse: It is common practice in some European hospitals to put a few drops of lavender oil on pillows to help relax patients and promote sleep. I know why lavender was held in such high value by our ancestors – it works!
- Kavinace – This is our “secret weapon” for treating insomnia. Kavinace potentiates GABA, one of the main inhibitory neurotransmitters. Higher GABA levels can relieve anxiety and promote restful sleep. Kavinace works amazingly well as a sleep aid and anti-anxiety formula for people who are low in GABA. Usually 1-2 capsules taken at bedtime (or better, a half-hour before bed) will promote a fine, restful sleep. Three capsules can be used, but may result in a “hangover” sleepiness or “just feeling too well-rested” the next day for some people. Yes, it really is that effective!
So, would you rather not make a trip to the Emergency Room? Try our sleep suggestions and boot the Ambien from your life!
Press Release: Sharp rise in emergency department visits involving the sleep medication zolpidem. http://www.samhsa.gov/newsroom/advisories/1304303131.aspx
The DAWN Report: Emergency Department Visits for Adverse Reactions Involving the Insomnia Medication Zolpidem. http://www.samhsa.gov/data/2k13/DAWN079/sr079-Zolpidem.htm
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