Old 04-08-2013, 02:36 AM #1 (permalink)
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Default medication for sleep

does anybody know of the best medication for sleep for someone with bulbar onset? my mom is now taking a very low dose of ativan but I dont think it's enough and was wondering about vallium but concerened about surpressig her breathing. she is also severly depressed and not taking anything for this yet. she is scheduled to see a psychiatrist tomorrow. thank you.
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Old 04-08-2013, 07:54 PM #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: medication for sleep

No expertise whatsoever here, but I'll say this: when I had insomnia during menopausal onset, my doctor gave me trazodone, which is is a mild anti-depressant that promotes sleep. Not addictive, doesn't suppress breathing.
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Old 04-09-2013, 12:55 AM #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: medication for sleep

My husband was having major problems sleeping at night due to his breathing difficulties. After about a month and half of 2 to 3 hours sleep a night I spoke to the doctor about getting him something to relax him so he would be able to sleep. He prescribed CLON A ZEPAM 1mg. What a relief. We now sleep 6 to 7 hours straight. You can also get this in a prescription form that is orally disintegrating (this is what is says on the box). It dissolves in his mouth so it is easier for him to swallow. The only issue is this only comes in .25mg so you have to take 4 tablets.

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Old 04-09-2013, 03:12 PM #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: medication for sleep

The psychiatrist should be able to suggest an anti-depressant that has some sedating properties. The old tried and true anti-depressant that works to help with sleep and to lift the mood is a low dose of Elavil (amitriptyline). Many over the years on this forum have had success with low dose Elavil. It is taken at night and also helps a bit with drying secretions of saliva. Let us know how your mom makes out with her appt. with the psychiatrist.

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Old 04-12-2013, 03:35 PM #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: medication for sleep

I have been taking trazadone for a couple years. It works great for me. Good luck.
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Old 04-12-2013, 04:07 PM #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: medication for sleep

A while ago (that's before I got struck by ALS), I had problems falling asleep at nights and my Dr. Prescribed me: R o z e r e m.
It did help me at that time but I got better afterwards and started falling asleep on my own without any sleeping aids and I discontinued using it.

Hope this helps.


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Old 04-12-2013, 09:52 PM #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: medication for sleep

My mom is also bulbar onset, and she takes the lowest dose - 5mg of amitriptyline. She has never had any sleep problems but she was depressed and anxious. We were supposed to start out with 5 mg per nite for a week and then up it to 10 mg per nite until we were up to 25 mg per nite! She did fine with the 5 mg, so we upped it to 10 mg and she felt awful. Nervous, confused, just not herself. Went back down to 5 and she is ok. Also seems to help quite a bit with excess saliva. Good luck.
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Old 04-13-2013, 06:51 AM #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: medication for sleep

I concur with those who have mentioned amitriptyline (Elavil). It works well for sleep and reduces saliva production. It's been around since the '50s and is safe. It can make you groggy for a while in the morning, so I think everyone would recommend using the lowest dose that gives adequate sleep effect. Dosages range from 5 mg/day up to 150 and even higher. Annie used 50 mg before bedtime.
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Old 04-13-2013, 10:16 PM #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: medication for sleep

Just a correction to what I posted yesterday. My mom is on 10 mg of amitriptyline, not 5 mg. She didn't feel well when we upped it to 20.
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Old 04-15-2013, 06:39 AM #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: medication for sleep

thank you everybody for taking the time and giving advice. my mom is back in the hospital because she was having severe Laryngospasms and difficulty with mucus. that seems to be her major obstacle right now, the mucus build up and suctioning the mucus from her trac tube. her weight is down to 98lbs from 130 and is very weak. she dreads what lies ahead but has much support from her family. she is now taking celexa and i hope it kicks in soon to help her mood and stay positive. it is sooooo.... hard to bear watching her like this,and at times feels like giving up. i am going to talk to her pc doc to see if we can increase her feeding tube calories to get her weight up. any advice to help give her encouragement and hope iwill pass along. i keep praying and crying............
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Old 04-17-2013, 05:47 PM #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: medication for sleep

A quick word of caution...benzodiazepines (xanax, ativan, clonazepam, valium etc.) that are prescribed for anxiety/sleep usually suppress respiration while you are asleep.

If ALS has already begun effecting your breathing muscles, benzodiazepines will only exacerbate your nocturnal breathing problems. You may feel like you are sleeping better, but that's only because the stuff knocks you out so well, that most nocturnal arousals go unnoticed. I cant speak for the other meds described here, but lakelover, I strongly recommend taking your husband off the clonazepam, or at least talking with your doctor. If he is on bipap already than i guess its ok, but worth mentioning next time you see your doc.
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Old 04-17-2013, 08:55 PM #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: medication for sleep

With ALS now on my plate, I try as much as I can to avoid any sleeping medications unless it's absolutely necessary. At nights, I try to fall asleep all by myself. And, sometimes I fall asleep in very odd ways: reading a book, watching a movie, etc.
Do not want those drugs side effects to complicate more this monster disease I already have.


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Old 04-24-2013, 12:50 PM #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: medication for sleep

Zolpa derm works great for me. Puts me out for 6-8 hours everynight. Watch out for CLON A ZEPAM, I took that for a while before I realized how much of a "hangover" it gave me the next day. I would get up in the morning feeling very groggy and ended up taking a 3-4 hour nap every day and still woke up from the nap groggy. Stopped taking it, all went away.
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