Jump to content
Important Survey - Please Participate ×

Persistent insomnia


[Hi...]

Recommended Posts

Hello,

I have struggled with insomnia most of my life. I was using zopiclone in the recent year, 5 times a week. As I still have troubles asleep with this med and I must remain functional, working full-time, my doctor prescribed estazolam.

This is a classic benzodiazepine, while zopiclone is a z-drug. I get very little sleep during the week and I usually catch up on weekends. It's impossible to live like this. I'm scared of benzos and I think I need to first taper (?) zopiclone? How do I do it?

Does anyone have any experience with estazolam? I must remain functional because of my work. My doctor said to just switch one for another. I'm afraid to end up on both, since I "have saved" some zopiclone just in case. I'm scared and not comfortable sharing my problems in public. I don't really know if it's a good idea? A friend referred me to this site, I hope you can somehow help me. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello @[Hi...], welcome to BenzoBuddies,

I understand not feeling comfortable sharing something so personal in public, this is one of the reasons we encourage anonymity, so you can feel comfortable.

It looks like you’ve reached tolerance with the Zopiclone, your body needs more to achieve the same effect.  I consider Zopiclone the z-drug with the most similarities to actual benzodiazepines, more members seem to struggle to get off of it much more than the others, I feel you’re wise to consider tapering from it. 

I see Estazolam has a slightly longer half life than Zopiclone, I don’t have experience with it, but I do with Ambien (Zolpidem).

We typically suggest reducing your dose by about 5-10% every couple of weeks but I have to warn you, this will result in not only a return of your insomnia, but a significant increase.  These medications aren’t meant to be taken long term, the manufacturers suggest 2-4 weeks but I’ve seen dependence happen in a much shorter time frame.

I would imagine that even if you add the Estazolam on top of the Zopiclone, you’ll soon grow tolerant to that dose as well.  I was taking massive amounts of Ambien and could only sleep 2-3 hours. 

I know I haven’t answered all of your questions but lets keep talking so we can help you sort this out.

Pamster

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@[Pa...]

Thank you. I take 1-2 pills of zopiclone. The second I take usually when I cannot fall asleep or wake up in the middle of the night. I have a pill-cutter. So maybe I’ll try to cut the second dose in half or in a quarter? And slowly add estazolam if I cannot sleep? My doctor says to take at least two pills of estazolam instead of zopiclone.

I also tried Ambien but was waking up after 2 hours’ sleep at night and very cranky at work. I don’t know what to do. I’m scared of this new med, but I have allergic reactions to things like hydroxyzine. Maybe there are other non-addictive sleep aids out there? I’m all confused and scared. I cannot afford to lose my job or even take a sick-leave. I must think it all over.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@[Hi...], if your plan is to use the Estazolam for sleep, I don’t believe you’ll need to torture yourself like this, hopefully you can cross over to it more rapidly than a quarter tablet.

One thing you haven’t mentioned is dose sizes, has your doctor accurately assessed equivalency? 

My hope is that you can rid yourself of Rx medications for sleep since they all seem to eventually turn on us but I certainly understand your situation. The possibility of losing your job only to return to the nightmare of insomnia you’ve always endured doesn’t leave you much choice. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have 2 mg estazolam pills and can take two, or as the last resort add 2 more. I feel so confused and scared at this point, I don’t know what I will do. I just read that estazolam stopped acting for someone after one year. I feel doomed... I need to calm down, this is all to scary. Fortunately we have the weekend and there is still time to think and educate myself. I have never thought I would end up like this. Zopiclone was supposed to be safe and non-addictive.

Edited by [Hi...]
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

One of the hallmarks of benzodiazepine (and z-drug) tolerance and withdrawal is fear, we’re overwhelmed with it and tend to think catastrophically so what you’re feeling is normal.

But you’re right, you have time to take stock of your situation and form a plan.  The classification given to z-drugs as a non-benzodiazepine is misleading, it affects the same receptors in the brain in a similar way and Zopiclone is particularly nasty.  so much so that the in the US, its banned however, its has a close cousin called Lunesta.

We view addiction separately from dependence, here most everyone has grow on dependent on the medication their doctor has prescribed, they’ve taken the dose as instructed only to find out what you have.  The drug doesn’t discriminate between addicts and those who take it as prescribed.

Please tell us what milligram your Zopiclone dose is as well as the milligrams of the Estazolam. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@[Pa...]

My zopiclone pills are 7.5 mg and they can be split in half. Or in quarters. I can take up to two pills a night. It really depends on how I sleep. The nearer the weekend, the less of it I take. The transition between Sunday and Monday is critical, cause my job is stressful.

My estazolam pills are 2 mg and I can take up to four - preferably two. But I haven't started them yet. I know someone who ended up on two benzos and it was very difficult for them.

During the weekend, I'm so tired that I don't need sleeping pills anymore. I think a huge factor here is work-related stress. 

Previously, I just took zopiclone or zolpidem prn, but I needed them more and more often. As zolpidem didn't allow me to normally function at work (very short half-life) I switched to zolpidem entirely. 

The doctor assured me that both z-drugs are safe. But I wasn't informed that I would eventually build tolerance to zopiclone. I wasn't also supposed to take it almost every night, it just happened progressively. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you for providing the dose information, I’m trying to determine if your doctor has prescribed the equivalencies you’ll need to make a successful cross to Estazolam. 

According to Professor Ashtons tables, 15 mgs Zopiclone s roughly equivalent to 10 mgs Valium and 1-2 mg of Estazolam is roughly equivalent to 10 mgs Valium.  https://www.benzo.org.uk/bzequiv.htm

Here is my major concern with crossing over to a benzo after becoming tolerant to the Zopiclone, its just a matter of time until you become tolerant to the Estazolam.  I fear you’re going to end up right back here sooner rather than later.  A benzo is a benzo and while Zopiclone is technically classified as a non-benzodiazepine, its properties are too similar and tolerance will likely happen. 

If you can’t face this decision at this time, then you might try taking half of the Estazolam and half of the Zopiclone to start out with.  If during the night you need more, I’d opt for the Zopiclone since the half life of the Estazolam is longer and you wouldn’t want to chance feeling drowsy when you have to go to work. 

Unfortunately we’re all so different, we each have to experiment on ourselves but I hope you’ll let us know how it goes for you because it helps us learn so we can help the next person.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...