Sleeping Pills Advice please!

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by little shettie, Jan 26, 2016.

  1. little shettie

    little shettie Registered User

    Nov 10, 2009
    Mum was recently prescribed Zopiclone for her sleepnessless. The dose was 1-2 a night and I started off with 1 which took hours to work and then she only slept for 2-3 hours. I then increased the dose to 2 and boom, mum went out like a light and didn't wake up for about 10 hours! This was after she'd hardly slept a wink in days. Since when I just gave her 2 tablets a night and she slept soundly. We had about 2-3 fairly good weeks with her sleeping well. The GP has since given her the maximum dose in 1 tablet but this does not appear to be working the same way! She is taking hours to go off again, but it does make her very drowsy and she fell twice as her legs just buckled under her. Luckily she was unhurt both times but I'm really worried now. Mums former GP when she lived alone, would never prescribe them as he said the risk of falling was too great. I was reluctant to start mum on them but she just doesn't sleep. She walks around in her room all night, and come morning she is then in a foul mood and completely uncooperative with anything you want her to do. Plus she then is also wobbly on her legs through lack of sleep. Its feels like a catch 22 and I just don't know what to do. Are there are any sleeping pills that work? Does anyone have any suggestions? Our GP is really good but I'm not sure she is completely knowledgeable with dementia and wondered if I could suggest something to her? I will of course go see the gp but its a months waiting list for her that's why I thought I'd run it by you wonderful people! :confused:
  2. marionq

    marionq Registered User

    Apr 24, 2013
    Is she taking 7.5 mg a night or less? Do you wait until she is tucked up in bed before giving them? Could you give her a paracetamol as well as the Zopiclone in case there is something else making her uncomfortable and waking her up.

    I find the above works for my husband. He likes his electric blanket on and a bunch of his football magazines to look at and when he is relaxed I give him his pills. Generally speaking he sleeps for eight hours nowadays.
  3. Bod

    Bod Registered User

    Aug 30, 2013
    Yup thats Zopiclone!!
    Late Fil had it, on the normal dose, it made him fight the effect it was suppose to have! Double the dose, he had falls, and still didn't sleep, treble the dose, he slept, but that wasn't any good for his heart failure.
    We stopped it altogether.
    Established a set bedtime routine, time, pills, hot water bottle, and 2 slices of toast & marmalade!
    Took time, but he did begin to sleep through, with him it had been hunger that had been stopping sleep, he didn't realise the cause, but finding him eating in the night, gave us the clue. Keeping his room warm, and letting the rest of the house cool down, kept him in his room, so not disturbing the rest of the house.
    If your mother is over 75(?) then the GP should see her that day.

  4. shelagh

    shelagh Registered User

    Sep 28, 2009

    I have dementia and have always slept badly, and it is worse now. I have been given Zopiclone to use after a long period of poor sleep but my consultant was not happy. In his experience Zopiclone eventually made sleep problems worse. I now find I do better with a little something to eat in bed, some music I am familiar with or an audio book of a something I have always loved and know very well. (No possibility of needing to know how the story ends)
    My general feeling is to try solutions that don't use drugs.
  5. Louby65

    Louby65 Registered User

    Mar 26, 2014
    Hi little shettie . My mum was prescribed zopiclone by her gp over a year ago . They worked for a couple of months and then stopped . She was referred to a psychiatrist who came to the house to assess her in her own environment . He stated that zopiclone should not be used in elderly people with dementia . He prescribed her trazadone which has worked far greater than the zopiclone . It is an anti depressant so it has stabilised her moods a lot , with a side effect of sleepiness . I give it an hour before bed and she has now been known to sleep 12 hours on more occasions and is bright on wakening, with no mobility issues . If she is particularly restless I give her one paracetamol which also helps . Best wishes . Lou
  6. CJinUSA

    CJinUSA Registered User

    Jan 20, 2014
    eastern USA
    We have just been through about 3 months of poor sleeping with my mother. As she is home with us and requires our care 100% - she is not ambulatory - this has been a trying period. I understand your concerns. Also, if she is walking around, she could fall and break something, and then the problems are compounded by injury. We talked things through with a nurse, and we have decided to put my mother on tylenol PM. This is a product she used to use all the time. I took her off it many years ago when she first moved here, because she seemed not to need it. She definitely needs it now. So far, it has worked pretty well. It is an over-the-counter drug here in the U.S., so I think it might not have the same potentially psychotic properties of sleep medications requiring prescriptions. It has worked here, in any case, and perhaps after consulting with the doctor, this might be given a try.

    Likr shelagh, I have tried not to use drugs. I worry about drugs. But sometimes we need to use them. We did try melatonin, and this worked for awhile, but then it stopped working. People with dementia do not produce sufficient melatonin in their brains. So that might be worth a try.

    People need their sleep. I hope something gets resolved soon for you and for her.

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