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Sleep Disorders Message Board

Sleep Disorders Board Index

Lunesta withdrawl
Jan 14, 2012
5 years ago (November 2006) I underwent my second shoulder surgery. I had sleep problems leading up to that, however following the surgery I simply could not fall asleep until 2-3 AM every night, no matter how tired I was, no matter what time I went to bed. During the recovery process I was referred to a sleep specialist, who put me on a trial of ambien. The "hangover" effect of ambien made me an absolute mess, so after about 2 weeks this pulmonologist gave me a prescription of lunesta. Since that time, nearly 5 years, I have taken this pill every day with good results.

However, given that I am active duty military, my recent transfer has given me a new primary care doctor who thinks that a 5 year prescription to lunesta is bad for me, and she wants me to stop. I have tried to stop, however I notice that when I do not take it I am a shaky mess. My anxiety is completely out of control, I cannot focus on anything, I can't stand any noise, and I do not want to go outside during the daylight. Photosensitive, oversensitive, overanxious, withdrawn, depressed, even frightening chest pains.

The pulmonologist's theory is that after the last shoulder surgery I had changed my sleeping position causing worsening sleeping disturbances. He did not see an issue with me being on Lunesta for such a long term, (he treated me for 4 years before my transfer), since Lunesta was "not habit forming".

I have been to every insomnia class, and I work in the medical field so I fully understand the idea of drug dependence, so I can see it from both sides. Am I addicted to Lunesta? Should I just quit cold turkey and hope for the best? Is there any medical history of a patient on Lunesta for 5 years who just quits, and if so what happens when they quit? Any answers would be great because right now I feel like a test subject, when the test went completely wrong.

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