Prescription Medications

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Are Insomnia Prescription Medications Worth the Risks?

Many times doctors will prescribe drugs for insomnia and there are many different types of insomnia prescription medications for them to choose from. In general, these pills are taken before you go to bed and it’s necessary to set aside a full night’s sleep when you use them.

These types of drugs should be used only on a temporary basis and only if your doctor feels they are necessary. Many times there are alternatives that can be just as effective and free of side effects.

Ambien and Ambien CR are common insomnia medications that will put you to sleep between 15 and 30 minutes after taking them. Ambien CR is an extended release version of Ambien, as many individuals taking Ambien found they would wake up in the middle of the night. In other words, it helped them fall asleep, but not stay asleep all night. In order to take this drug, you need to set aside 7 to 8 hours to allow for a good night of  sleep.

An alternative to Ambien is the oral spray, Zolpimist. It contains the same active ingredient.

Lunesta is also an insomnia medication that provides you with 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. You should not take Lunesta unless you can devote a full 8 hours to sleep as it can cause grogginess.

Rozerem is a new insomnia medication available that works using the sleep-wake cycle rather than by changing the nervous system. It can be used for a longer term because there appears to be no danger of dependency.

There are also many over-the-counter sleeping pills that mainly contain antihistamines. Some people find they work fairly well at getting them to fall asleep, but their effects can often linger into the next day. You should not mix these types of sleep aids with other cold or allergy medications as they contain many of the same ingredients. Antidepressants are sometimes used as treatment for insomnia with it’s a condition of depression.

OTC and insomnia prescription medications do come with side effects so you should take care when using them. Many of them can cause allergic reactions as well as unwanted sleep-related behavior. If taken for too long, a person can become psychologically dependent on them and feel as though they cannot go to sleep without taking the sleep aid.

There are some types of insomnia medications such as non-benzodiazepine and benzodiazepine sleep drugs that can cause physical dependence and you can experience withdrawal symptoms if they are used improperly.

Common side effects of almost all sleep aids can include daytime fatigue, grogginess and impaired driving abilities. These side effects can cause accidents, falls, fractures and other cognitive impairments.