Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

Interactions between Ambien and Omega-3's

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 5 Replies
  • Posted By: randomness
  • June 27, 2007
  • 02:11 PM

I am a 20 year old male who has been diagnosed with a primary sleep disorder via a sleep study, extreme difficulty falling asleep mostly, but also a bit of repeated night wakenings too) and have been taking Ambien semi-regularly for over two years now, and usually noting NO tolerance (compared to many other meds including Benadryl, and various benzodizepines such as tempazepam, lorazepam, alprazolam, and clonazepam where usually I get somewhat tolerant after a while). Now my dosage for the Ambien has usually ranged from 5-20mg depending on a lot of factors (what other meds I was taking, how stressed out I was) and that usually did the trick regarding sleep, at least to some degree. Now a few months ago, my pharmacist recommended I try Omega-3 fatty acid dietary supplements. I took them faithfully for a few weeks, and was certainly getting enough active ingredient to notice a psychoactive component to the Omega-3 supplementation, a "mood-brightening" effect (I do not have clinical depression, so far as we know, or bipolar). I also noticed, however, that for some reason, my Ambien seemed to not be working anymore; taking it was like taking placebos. All the other meds I was on at the time (alprazolam and temazepam mostly), seemed unaffected by the Omega-3's. I stopped taking the Omega-3 capsules, and within a few days, the Ambien seemed to be back to working normally, at dosags that I had previously used (5-20mg). In addition all the weird effects of Ambien (sleep-walking, sleep-eating, bizarre behvavior), seemed to dissapear when I took the Omega 3's, at the cost however of the Ambien not seeming to work at all (extreme difficulty falling asleep, and a circadian rhythym disturbance to boot by which my body never wanted to fall asleep at the same time every night, like having daylight savings time go into effect every day. Anyhow, this past month I have taken to drinking Ensure on a fairly frequent basis, and noticed the labeling prominently advertises that it contains a decently large amount of Omega-3's. And once again, my Ambien seemed to have stopped working, to the point where a doctor-prescribed dose of 40mg a night is inneffective (which is a huge dose as Ambien goes). Again, bizaree behaviors have ceased altogether, but taking Ambien once again feels like aking a placebo. Has anyone else, either personally, or in clinical observation or research come across any significant interactions between increased Omega-3 fatty acid intake and a severe decrease in the potency of Ambien? This knowledge would be greatly appreciated.
Teddy
pavle@uchicago.edu

Reply Flag this Discussion

5 Replies:

  • Interesting! I took Ambien for MANY years and noticed a decrease of effectiveness necessitating larger doses. After discontinuing the pill, (what a horrible week-end that was!...but by the third day, I said to myself "what a fuss over nothing!"), I stopped for several years. Working the night shift brought me back to Temazepam, with higher doses and the addition of Mirapex and now Requip. I have taken multi's with omega 3's and use food products with them added (eggs) so don't know if they effect the dosage of sleepers. I'll have to give it a try. I had sleep-eating and memory problems with both sleepers. I've made phone calls that I couldn't recall. Thank heaven I never left the house! Some people sleep-drive! I have noticed that I cannot take Ambien less than 10 mgs. because my brain seems to be acclimated to that dose. Have you had any luck decreasing dosages? I never have. Just going cold turkey. Do you have to hammer down caffeine to counteract such heavy doses of Ambien? I have one caffeine drink a day to wake up, but no more. Do you still dream? I noticed my Ambien dreams were vivid and sometimes violent. Not scarey, just physical fighting. Also, I felt that I had minor road rage...or extreme impatience...on the road with Ambien. You can be sure the makers of Ambien will down-play any contra-indications as they have done with the sleep-eating etc. I'll aks my sleep doc if he's heard of any correlation with Omega 3 and Ambien.
    rad-skw 1605 Replies Flag this Response
  • Hmm interesting. Well for one, I fired my sleep doc. Educated at Cambridge SO WHAT. All the guy could tell me was that I definitely have insomnia, that I don't have narcolepsy or any sort of other related disorder, and that treatment of my insomnia might "merit higher doses of medication than are commonly used". How much did I pay to have him tell me this? Lol. I definitely agree that the makers of Ambien (Sanofi-Aventis) made if France for all you out there in dreamland (the generic is made in Ohio). Usually I associate, and a lot of science backs this up, vivid dreaming with decreased percentage of R.E.M. sleep, usually medication induced (SSRI's are notorious and well documented as to having this effect). As for the Omega-3's , eating the eggs that say Omega-3 doesn't cut it. I was taking the equivalent of over a gram's worth of them a day, at least, and a gram is usually, from what I know, considered the intake threshold for psychoactive/neuroprotective effects. I actually have found research that documents that Omega-3's have been documented to be mood stabilizers (which makes sense, as they are the precursor chemical to a bunch of hormones and neurotransmitters). Yet nothing about Ambien and Omega-3's mixed. This further supports my theory that there's no way on god's green earth Ambien are acting solely on the receptors that the company says they are (primary affinity for alpha-1 subtype of the benzodiazepine binding site of the GABA-receptor complex), and there has to be some sort of secondary interactions caused by Ambien with neurotransmitters/hormones that is causing all this bizarre behavior reported/and this weird interaction with Omega-3s.Teddy
    randomness 16 Replies Flag this Response
  • I LOVE my sleep doc and his Nurse Practitioner. I've never had a doc who listened to me for 45 min. each visit. I feel they are genuinely trying to help me, but also trying to stay within safety guidelines and state licensing laws. I know they gave you lots of tips for sleep hygiene, but what really helped me was practising yoga. Have you tried that? Seems simplistic, but since sleep itself is supposed to be relatively natural, try an age-old relaxation technique. Since you are not depressive, why are you taking so much Omega 3?Do you actually need 8 hours of sleep? Can you get by on less?Also, the restless leg meds seemed to give me a "booster" for the temazapam. My sleep study didn't show that I needed them, but then I only slept one and a half hours during an 8 hr test. I do have rls symptoms when I don't take the sleeper. Do you have the perfect bed and bedroom? I got a foam mattress-topper which helped. Have you tried relaxation c.d.'s? Do you take the Ambien on an empty stomach as recommended. I find that if I take a vitamin, I can't get to sleep easily, with or without a sleeper. This might be similar to your problem with Omega 3's. Most 20 year old men I have known are not particularly health conscious and have too much bravura and machismo to become really dedicated to eradicating their sleep problems. I'm pushing 60 and I want a quick fix for anything that ails me also. But, see if the advice on these forums regarding diet, exercise, natural food and natural sleep aids could help you. Extreme insomnia can be very disheartening and if you have pursued all alternative avenues religiously, you will feel better and might unknowingly hit upon a solution to your problem. Good luck
    rad-skw 1605 Replies Flag this Response
  • No my sleep hygiene is fairly intact. I sleep on a ridiculously nice bed with hypoallergenic pillows, the works. Yoga sounds nice but I'm not one to be able to do that considering I don't have a car or much money of my own. As far as medications go I feel that the fact that I recently just opened my new supply of Xanax and the pharmacy simply gave me the supply bottle (the large bottles if you've ever seen them) with the foil seal intact illustrates the current state of my medication issues. I do need a better sleep doc and my psychiatrist frequently states that I am "going over his head" when I discuss medications in depth. To be perfectly blunt, I am not the hugest fan of "natural" cures, but rather more a fan of stuff that the F.D.A. has actually approved (although I am really annoyed that they have delayed the approval of Indiplon, which is reported to be similar in mechanism to Ambien but much more potent). I was taking so much Omega-3's because I was drinking an awful lot of Ensure, because it was simply easier than eating actual meals (horrific I know) and Ensure contains everything a human needs to live, including Omega-3's. I am currently essentially holding my breath for advances in neuroendocrine understanding and treatment since I, liek many I've read about on the forums, seem to have problems that sound awfully like they are in the realm of neuroendocrinology. I'll link to an article that I found incredibly useful, particularly in describing all of the symptoms I have been through, random I.B.S., migraines that happened every day for a couple weeks then suddenly stopped, and so forth. http://www.nel.edu/pdf_/25_12/NEL251204R02_Russo_.pdfIts a fairly tech-y article in terms of not being the easiest in the world to read, but so it goes with medicine journals. In the meantime I am simply waiting on my doctors to see if I can get an appointment with a pharmacologist, and I will most certainly take your idea about the Mirapex to heart when I next see my doctor(s). That sounds perfectly reasonable to take a dopamine agonist, and I have considered it from time to time, but never actually gone ahead with it. Also hugely complicating matters is that I am moving from the east coast to the west coast come august.Teddy
    randomness 16 Replies Flag this Response
  • Why are you taking Xanax? Also, you can purchase a yoga vhs or cd. (or I see plenty at garage sales plus old VCR players!). I like to grunt and groan on my own when exercising anyway. When you move to the west coast, will you be able to get more exercise in your schedule? That's what helps me sleep the best. Good luck. Many hospital pharmacists are pursuing their doctorate. Pharmd. Try calling one in the middle of the night at their work and see if s/he will discuss the chemistry of sleepers with you.
    rad-skw 1605 Replies Flag this Response
Thanks! A moderator will review your post and it will be live within the next 24 hours.