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OK, I posted a thread that was sort of on this topic, but my question has sort of changed, so I thought I'd start a new one, since I now know what my actual question is, even though it's hard for me to even write this, because I just feel so spaced out and horrible.

I took the non-CR version of Ambien for a few months back in 2005. Eventually, I switched to Lunesta, because I felt like I'd built up too much of a tolerance to ambien and it always made me fall asleep but not STAY asleep. I was on 20 mg of the original ambien, and never had any negative reaction to it. If anything, it wasn't strong enough for me. Also, I've been on Klonopin and Amtriptyline in the past, and none of them felt strong enough for me. I can take four Tylenol PM tablets and have no carryover effects the next day. That's why I am SO confused by how I'm feeling on Ambien CR.

My doctor had me switch to Ambien CR, after a year or more on Lunesta, just because I was feeling like it wasn't doing much for me, and he didn't want me to become chemically dependent on any sleep medication. He prescribed 12.5 mg. I've taken it three nights so far (took Lunesta instead one night in between, because I was feeling so bad after two nights of the Ambien CR and I was hoping to be able to FUNCTION at work on Friday... Still felt bad when I did that).

At first, I wondered if I just hadn't given myself enough time to sleep during the week, since I usually only allow seven hours for sleep during the week, and they say to allow seven to eight hours with Ambien CR. Anyway, I took it last night, slept for about seven hours, and then felt like a dizzy mess, so I stayed in bed for another three hours or so. During those last three hours, I kept waking up, falling back asleep, and having all kinds of weird dreams. I still feel out of it, three and a half hours later. I didn't have a reaction like this to the original Ambien, so I keep wondering if I am just sick or something, or if I am having a strange, adverse reaction to the CR version. I am quite frustrated.

My carryover effects include: dizziness, headache, anxiety, heart racing, general achiness everywhere, and feeling slow-witted. Also (gross alert!) my bowels are dark colored... almost black. Again, I had NONE of those effects on the original Ambien, so I am confused as to why I'd have these problems with the CR version. They're the same thing, aren't they, just the CR is a time-release formula? So, I keep wondering if I am just sick, and it's a coincidence that I'm feeling this way after starting Ambien CR.

If you read all of this, I really, truly, do appreciate it. I feel like such a pain. My main questions are these, I guess:

[*]Is it conceivable that I would have such a different reaction to 12.5 mg Ambien CR than I did 20 mg of regular Ambien?
[*]I know with some meds, you have these side effects for the first couple of nights and they can go away when your body gets used to it. Has anyone experienced this with Ambien CR or even other sleep meds? Should I give it a few more nights?
[*]How long does Ambien CR stay in your system? Does the fact that I still felt bad the next day, when I skipped a night and went back to Lunesta, mean that how I am feeling is NOT a reaction to the Ambien CR?
I would welcome any thoughts you have, and I really hope this makes sense, as I'm having serious trouble focusing.

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