sleepy businessman yawning

Q. I have suffered with insomnia for years. My doctor prescribed Ambien, which gives me eight hours of restful sleep. Then the pharmacist switched me to generic zolpidem for under $15. He said it was identical to Ambien.

It wasn’t! I haven’t had a decent night’s sleep since switching. If I do fall asleep I have horrible nightmares. I cannot afford $130 for regular Ambien. What else can I do? I need my sleep to be alert at work.

A. Dozens of other readers have also reported problems with generic Ambien (zolpidem). If your insurance company won’t cover the brand name medicine, you may wish to consider some non-drug options. They include a small high-carb bedtime snack such as milk and graham crackers, dietary supplements such as magnesium, melatonin, passionflower or valerian, a hot bath an hour before retiring and acupressure wristbands.

We describe these approaches and others in greater detail in our newly revised Guide to Getting a Good Night’s Sleep. We also discuss OTC sleeping pills and prescription drugs such as Lunesta, Sonata and Rozerem.

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  1. Sue
    Orange County CA
    Reply

    I had been taking Zolpidem from Target for many years. They just switched to North Star. It does not work. I had experienced this once before when I believe Costco switched to North Star so I switched my prescription over. I just looked up what the one intact caplet (I break the 10 mg and try to take only half most nights,) that I had left. It is from Vintage Pharmacies and that one worked well. I got away with half to three quarters of the tablet most nights. The Northstar is very hard to break for one and doesn’t work even when I take the whole pill. Does anyone know where the Vintage Pharmaceuticals version is? It has a V on one side and 6469 on the other. I really can’t afford the full price of the name brand either.

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