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Question
Posted by: Anon | 2010-01-18

Adco Zolpidem

I don' t fall asleep and have to take 1 sleeping pill. Sometimes even 2. How do I stop the pills and have a proper night sleep please? Thank you

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageArchive

Thank you for your email. I appreciate it is not easy admitting to these things and I value the trust you have shown.

The drug you are taking is a generic of the well known sleeping tablet, Stilnox. Zolpidem is its generic name and is one of a relatively new class of hypnotics known as the “Z” drugs.

The other well known drug of this class is Immovane, the generic name of which is Zopiclone. These drugs are marketed as an alternative to the more traditional benzodiapenes (benzos) , of which Rohypnol and Valium are the most commonly known.

Benzos were found to be highly addictive and dependency syndrome became widespread. Ironically, benzos were initially marketed as being less addictive than barbiturates. Although less dangerous in overdose, they proved to be possibly more addictive than barbiturates.

There is a high amount of controversy about the potential for dependency on Zolpidem, and indeed they are habit forming. More alarming are some bizarre side-effects, such as amnesia (memory loss) and behaviours that occur whilst asleep. In Australia they are considering re-scheduling Zolpidem because of some tragic deaths that have occurred whilst people have been under the influence. These include jumping from balconies and motor vehicle accidents whilst the victim was in an hypnotic trance. Other reported behaviours include eating whilst asleep, talking and walking whilst asleep, as well as re-arranging entire living rooms!

Due to the known dependency problems, Zolpidem is clinically recommended for usage usually for a maximum of two weeks. I don’t know how long you have been taking them for, nor at what dosage, but if it has been for a significant amount of time, it is vital that you approach a suitable medical professional to help you withdraw from the drug. When drug tolerance and physical dependence to zolpidem has developed, treatment usually entails a gradual dose reduction over a period of months in order to minimise withdrawal symptoms which can resemble those seen during benzodiazepine withdrawal. It is essential you not attempt to do this on your own.

Most medical professional are highly understanding of the process of dependency and should be non-judgmental of you. I do caution you though that some medical practitioners are prone to over-prescribing and may encourage you to substitute one drug for another. This is not recommended unless that drug part of the withdrawal process and you and your medical practitioner are clear and in agreement about the withdrawal schedule and ultimate date of complete cessation.

If it is simply a physical dependency that you have, this should be sufficient. However, if there is an element of addiction involved as well, it is vital you go about seeking help for that as well. Addiction is distinct from mere dependency in a number of ways: addiction is a progressive disease that follows a distinct pattern and ultimately leads to extreme consequences, including physical, financial, emotional, spiritual, professional etc. and yet still being unable to stop unassisted. It also implies that the progressive loss of control is permanent and that only complete abstinence from all mood and mind altering substances will lead to a full and lasting recovery. As you go about coming off the Zolpidem with the help of your doctor, you will soon know if addiction is present: you will find yourself unable to stick to the prescribed dosage; you will find yourself being dishonest with your health professional and loved ones; you will find yourself thinking about the drug frequently throughout the day and may even start planning to see other doctors to prescribe more pills for you without your primary doctor’s knowledge. You would be doing these things despite your better judgment, and because of the inner conflict this presents, you would start justifying this behavour in all sorts of ways. These are some clues that the problem is more than just a dependency and at that stage, it would be vital to seek help from an addictions specialist, such as ourselves at Harmony Clinic, or someone we recommend. Addictions treatment is very specific and requires a specialised programme of treatment and subsequent support.

With regards to your insominia, please be aware that coming off Zolpidem can lead to rebound insomnia and although uncomfortable, may require a willingness on your part to go through it. There are some natural substances, such as melatonin, that can help restore a natural sleep pattern, which is available at most pharmacies and health food stores.

However, you may well have a sleep disorder, which is why you were prescribed the pills in the first place. Talk to your doctor about sleep therapy, sleep hygiene and sleep clinics. These are great resources to re-establish a natural sleep pattern.

I hope this helps, and please feel free to call me at any time should you have further questions,

Best regards,
Nicholas McDiarmid
Head of Admissions | Harmony Addictions Clinic
021 790 7779

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Winifred | 2015-08-16

Dear Dr Nicholas My granddaughter who is at boarding school has been given the following medicines, Adco-Zolpidem, Lorien tablets, Nuzak, Urbanol (half dose to be taken before exam) I was not informed she was on these medications only when I was called into the guidance teacher's office was I told. The teacher went on to say she is awake throughout the night, cannot finish assignments or exams and has been aggressive in class. Test were also carried out and I am told she has ADHD and has a handwriting speed of an 11 year old. Surely this would have shown up before now? She has her final examination in 40days. This is the first time I have ever been called in by a school. It was also hinted that she may be under the influence of drugs. Well if she didn't have one before she does now. Do you have to be weaned off them. She first went to the doctor 5 months ago. I would appreciate a quick reply if possible. Regards Winifred. ps it was the guidance teacher who took her to the doctor. I asked her what would happen if it was found she was taking drugs.....EXPELLED. This is a nightmare!

Reply to Winifred | 2 comments (hide)
Posted by: Winifred | 2015-08-21

Well it turns out because she is 18 a parent/guardian does not have to be informed if a scholar goes to the doctor and medicines are prescribed. Then came the warning if we decide to take her off medication the school will not accept responsibility should something happen to her during exams. I wonder if the school will accept responsibility if something happens to her whilst taking them. Remember this is a boarding school environment.

Posted by: Winifred | 2015-08-16

I forgot to ask could any of these drugs produce a false positive?

Posted by: Anonymous | 2015-05-23

Dr Nicholas McDiarmid Can you please answer the following questions regarding Adco Zolpidem Addiction. What is the damages of these sleeping pills to your body,health and mind if you take it for longgggggggggg periods of time,and you don't actually use it to fall a sleep but to go on a trip. Why would a docter that know you can get addicted to this pills keep on prescribe this pills, Is all medical docters suppose to know the damages this pills cause if they know you are miss use this pills or use it just to go hi, Is Adco Zolpidem a "Drug", Can you suffer tempory amnesia when using to match off this pills,and can you OD on these sleeping pills CONCERNED PTA

Reply to Anonymous
Posted by: Anonymous | 2015-05-23

Good Day I need an expert's advise on Adco Zolpidem My brother is addicted to this pills for many years now,he clashes with the law before was in many different rehabs,(he don't want any help) after he run away from the rehabs he is back on this pills,he drink about 2 boxes in the day,he don't use it to sleep he go on a trip with this sleeping pills. My question When you under the influence of this pills,can you remember the next morning what you did,(do you have any memory of the damages you caused)His behaviour is also very bizarre to the strangest things,and believe me he think its normal he do not believe he has a problem at all and also my family. Can you please tell me the dangers of this pill and and what can happen to you and your health if you abuse this sleeping pills on a daily basis I need your feedback Centurion

Reply to Anonymous
Posted by: me | 2015-03-23

Hi. I have been on adco-zolpidem for over 4 years. It's only in the past year that my 'addiction' has spiralled out of control. I blame it on ‘stress’ and the inability to cope with deadlines… etc. My mind doesn’t switch off and I battle to sleep, so I take Adco-Zolpidem to ‘Tap out’. Although not a completely honest excuse, I take it because I just can’t deal with a lot that is going on. Besides not being able to sleep, or deal with uncontrolled thoughts, I suffer from restless legs and arms… My addiction has gotten so bad that I wake up every 2 hours to take another pill. As much as I’d like to believe I am in control, I know I am not. In the last 2 days, I have taken 23 pills…………. I’m scared and very concerned. I want to stop, I just don’t know how…. I only take it when it’s bedtime, and week-ends, Never at work (although its already crossed my mind) Today, sitting at work, I can feel my body aching and feeling terribly ‘out of sorts’ How do I stop this? I don’t want to do this anymore. Please help.

Reply to me
Posted by: no to zolpidem | 2015-01-05

Zolpidem was prescribed to me by a professor (after severe emosional trauma) for six months. I loved the feeling they gave me. I tried all the sleeping tablets on the market since my x-husband is a medical doctor with a pharmacy and it was available to me. Nothing compared to zolpiderm. To make a long story short I started a long road (of 15 years) into hell and he divorced me because of my addiction. I lied, stole and even went to jail because of my addiction to these pills. After 8 rehablitations and thousand and thousands of rands I hit rock bottom. I was on my way to loose my job. I tried to stop but went into a coma( I don't wish this on my worst enemy). I went for 6 months to a rehab and with God's help and a the correct medication and a excellent doctor I am clean now for almost a year and a half. In the past I couldn't stay clean for more than 2 weeks. How can these pills still be available? I have seen so many people addicted to them in the rehabs I went to. I have seen people die !!!!! HOW CAN WE GET RID OF ZOLPIDEM?

Reply to no to zolpidem
Posted by: Ria | 2014-09-24

hi, my husband is using Adco-Zolpidem for about four years now the Prof that precribe it for him told him it is not adictive and are within four hours out of his body but he must drink it for the rest of his life. now my problem is whenever he is at home he drink a tablet to sleep during day and night sometimes 2 in half an hours time mostly he drinks up to 6 a day. when he is on it he wants to eat (gain about 15kg already) then he walks around in house and sometimes outside, when I see him I had to help him back to bed sometimes when he is alone he fell down and hurts himself. he cant wait to drink an tablet whenever he can. he even comes back from work and without eating drink a tablet and go sleeping. I tried several times to hide the tablets from him so I can control how much he consume but he get angry and fight me till I give he a tablet. he say he cant cope with life if he dont sleep. what can I do? I am afraid he will loose his job if he goes to rehab or clinic.

Reply to Ria
Posted by: Anonymous | 2014-09-08

Hello Mr McDiarmid, I am based in Benoni. I would very much appreciate the recommendation of a superior facility to support with an alcohol and sleeping tablet addiction? Kind regards Angie

Reply to Anonymous
Posted by: Nthandz | 2014-01-16

I was also on zolpidem. I suffer from fibromyalgia and sleep just eludes me. I realise that the medication somehow helps with the pain, for a moment the pain goes away when I'm on it. But just like everyone, I also have episodes of sleep walking, the phone calls, etc. Luckily for me, the drug makes me very happy and I wake up refreshed the next day. My Dr doesn't want me to go back on the drug, but it seems th only one that takes away the pain for a lil' while and puts me to sleep; and because I'm almost depressed due to the pain; manages to make me happy as well. I live alone, so maybe it may be a lil' more dangerous for me to go back to it.

Reply to Nthandz
Posted by: catherine | 2013-07-01

Hallo, I was using Adco-Zolpidem to help me fall asleep as I suffer from restless leg syndrome, the pain just seem so much I thought I would rather take one sleeping tablet, it did help as I felt no pain but I do have all the side effects of sleep walking, preparing food and eating in my sleep, phoning family members I needed to stop as I was ruining family relationships and my work. I haven’t been using it for a month, and very hard not to fall back. I am struggling as the pain in my legs are worse I find myself crying at night and craving the sleeping tablets I am now an addict. What to do with the pain?

Reply to catherine
Posted by: Catherine | 2013-07-01

Hallo, I was using Adco-Zolpidem to help me fall asleep as I suffer from restless leg syndrome, the pain just seem so much I thought I would rather take one sleeping tablet, it did help as I felt no pain but I do have all the side effects of sleep walking, preparing food and eating in my sleep, phoning family members I needed to stop as I was ruining family relationships and my work. I haven’t been using it for a month, and very hard not to fall back. I am struggling as the pain in my legs are worse I find myself crying at night and craving the sleeping tablets I am now an addict. What to do with the pain?

Reply to Catherine | 1 comment (hide)
Posted by: Harry | 2014-08-14

Dear Catherine. Please consider using Magnesium supplements for your restless legs. I am married to a Biochemist and it has helped her immensely over the years. Magnesium is a safe healthy way of dealing with this condition.

Posted by: Angie | 2010-03-24

I am type 2 diabetic. I am taking adco-Zolpidem for
the past 6 months. I just wanted to know if it is
suitable for diabetics? I only take half a tablet per night.

Reply to Angie
Posted by: Addictions expert forum | 2010-01-19

Thank you for your email. I appreciate it is not easy admitting to these things and I value the trust you have shown.

The drug you are taking is a generic of the well known sleeping tablet, Stilnox. Zolpidem is its generic name and is one of a relatively new class of hypnotics known as the “Z” drugs.

The other well known drug of this class is Immovane, the generic name of which is Zopiclone. These drugs are marketed as an alternative to the more traditional benzodiapenes (benzos) , of which Rohypnol and Valium are the most commonly known.

Benzos were found to be highly addictive and dependency syndrome became widespread. Ironically, benzos were initially marketed as being less addictive than barbiturates. Although less dangerous in overdose, they proved to be possibly more addictive than barbiturates.

There is a high amount of controversy about the potential for dependency on Zolpidem, and indeed they are habit forming. More alarming are some bizarre side-effects, such as amnesia (memory loss) and behaviours that occur whilst asleep. In Australia they are considering re-scheduling Zolpidem because of some tragic deaths that have occurred whilst people have been under the influence. These include jumping from balconies and motor vehicle accidents whilst the victim was in an hypnotic trance. Other reported behaviours include eating whilst asleep, talking and walking whilst asleep, as well as re-arranging entire living rooms!

Due to the known dependency problems, Zolpidem is clinically recommended for usage usually for a maximum of two weeks. I don’t know how long you have been taking them for, nor at what dosage, but if it has been for a significant amount of time, it is vital that you approach a suitable medical professional to help you withdraw from the drug. When drug tolerance and physical dependence to zolpidem has developed, treatment usually entails a gradual dose reduction over a period of months in order to minimise withdrawal symptoms which can resemble those seen during benzodiazepine withdrawal. It is essential you not attempt to do this on your own.

Most medical professional are highly understanding of the process of dependency and should be non-judgmental of you. I do caution you though that some medical practitioners are prone to over-prescribing and may encourage you to substitute one drug for another. This is not recommended unless that drug part of the withdrawal process and you and your medical practitioner are clear and in agreement about the withdrawal schedule and ultimate date of complete cessation.

If it is simply a physical dependency that you have, this should be sufficient. However, if there is an element of addiction involved as well, it is vital you go about seeking help for that as well. Addiction is distinct from mere dependency in a number of ways: addiction is a progressive disease that follows a distinct pattern and ultimately leads to extreme consequences, including physical, financial, emotional, spiritual, professional etc. and yet still being unable to stop unassisted. It also implies that the progressive loss of control is permanent and that only complete abstinence from all mood and mind altering substances will lead to a full and lasting recovery. As you go about coming off the Zolpidem with the help of your doctor, you will soon know if addiction is present: you will find yourself unable to stick to the prescribed dosage; you will find yourself being dishonest with your health professional and loved ones; you will find yourself thinking about the drug frequently throughout the day and may even start planning to see other doctors to prescribe more pills for you without your primary doctor’s knowledge. You would be doing these things despite your better judgment, and because of the inner conflict this presents, you would start justifying this behavour in all sorts of ways. These are some clues that the problem is more than just a dependency and at that stage, it would be vital to seek help from an addictions specialist, such as ourselves at Harmony Clinic, or someone we recommend. Addictions treatment is very specific and requires a specialised programme of treatment and subsequent support.

With regards to your insominia, please be aware that coming off Zolpidem can lead to rebound insomnia and although uncomfortable, may require a willingness on your part to go through it. There are some natural substances, such as melatonin, that can help restore a natural sleep pattern, which is available at most pharmacies and health food stores.

However, you may well have a sleep disorder, which is why you were prescribed the pills in the first place. Talk to your doctor about sleep therapy, sleep hygiene and sleep clinics. These are great resources to re-establish a natural sleep pattern.

I hope this helps, and please feel free to call me at any time should you have further questions,

Best regards,
Nicholas McDiarmid
Head of Admissions | Harmony Addictions Clinic
021 790 7779

Reply to Addictions expert forum | 2 comments (hide)
Posted by: Winifred | 2015-08-16

My granddaughter who is at boarding school and about to take her finals in two months time. Has been prescribed the following medicine, Adco-Zolpidem, Lorien tablets, Nuzak and Urbanol. I was called into the school and told by her guidance teacher she is not sleeping right throughout the night, not finishing her assignments and exams. Has been aggressive in class, and although she has been a model student right through out her school career has now been diagnosed with ADHD and has a hand writing speed of an 11 year old. Surely this would have been picked up before now. These tests were done without my knowledge, so was her visit to the doctor who prescibed these medications. It was her guidance teacher who took her to the doctor by the way. She has also hinted she could have a drug problem! Well from what I have read if she didn't have one before she will have one now! Does a person have to be weaned off? I would appreciate a quick reply. Regards Winifred.

Posted by: catherine | 2013-07-01

Hallo, I was using Adco-Zolpidem to help me fall asleep as I suffer from restless leg syndrome, the pain just seem so much I thought I would rather take one sleeping tablet, it did help as I felt no pain but I do have all the side effects of sleep walking, preparing food and eating in my sleep, phoning family members I needed to stop as I was ruining family relationships and my work. I haven’t been using it for a month, and very hard not to fall back. I am struggling as the pain in my legs are worse I find myself crying at night and craving the sleeping tablets I am now an addict. What to do with the pain? Reply to Catherine

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