Recently, the FDA has recommended that prescribing doctors and pharmaceutical companies begin reducing the doses of Ambien and two other sleep medications by half. Nine million Americans take sleeping pills on a regular basis and the thought of not getting their normal dose raises some legitimate fears.
Most of the patients have tried and failed repeatedly to limit or reduce their full dose by using pill splitters, having the pills liquefied and partitioned into smaller doses or even trimming off the edges with a knife. What most of them have found is that anything less than their accustomed amount produces a side effect commonly known as rebound insomnia. This is a nice and tidy way of describing how it is to have what little sleep you've been getting on Ambien literally ripped out from underneath you. It's a serious catch 22--impaired morning driving on a full dose verses impaired driving from little to no sleep at all.
Some of the other side effects from a partial dose change can include:
- Stomach cramps
- Panic attacks
In Febuary, 2010 Fox 11 News was the frontrunner in researching and reporting on something called neurofeedback for insomnia. (Click here is see video)
Also known as brainwave biofeedback, this treatment option seems to
actually reduce and ween the brain off of sleeping pills and their side
effects. Two sensors are placed on the scalp, reading the brainwaves and
instructing the central nervous system to reduce the amplitudes
responsible for many of the withdrawal symptoms. Sleep is normalized and
then the reduction and elimination of the medication is possible.