It has been a while since I’ve blogged and I will give an update on my life shortly but today I want to talk about the sleep issues I’ve been having lately.
So as you know if you’ve been reading my blog I was previously taking a maximum dose of zeldox to get to sleep and that worked for about a year, but in October last year that stopped working, and so did the temazepam that I had to take on nights when it didn’t work. I happened to have an appointment with my inpatient psychiatrist after one of my sleepless nights and she gave me 50mg of seroquel to see if that would help. It did, and when I saw my regular psychiatrist later that week she prescribed seroquel to be taken regularly.
For a while that worked well. I was sleeping for about ten hours a night and waking up refreshed with no hangover drowsiness. But it wouldn’t last.
It started with a few nights where I would have to boost my dose of seroquel to 100mg. Bizarrely the 50mg of seroquel seemed to not work when I had a full stomach, so I had to watch how much I ate. I’m aware that increasing your medication without notifying your doctor isn’t a wise move but I do know a bit about my medications and 100mg of seroquel is not a high dose.
Then a few months ago I began waking up during the night at around 3am. Sometimes I would go back to sleep, sometimes not. I don’t mind being up in the middle of the night too much because I wasn’t tired and I could have some quiet “me” time. However is was very disruptive for Pea who is trying to sleep while I’m moving around, watching youtube videos on my phone (albeit with headphones) eating snacks etc.
The waking up was getting earlier and earlier until I was only getting about two hours of sleep. Sometimes when I woke up I would take another 50mg of seroquel but I was in denial that we had a problem.
Then I started having to take an extra 50mg when I hadn’t eaten too much, or hadn’t woken up. I would take a 50, lie in bed for a hours trying to sleep, give up then take another 50. Suddenly 50mg wasn’t putting me to sleep any more.
After going a whole week of needing 100mg to sleep I was willing to admit we had a problem. Then on Sunday I took 100 and it didn’t work. So I took an extra 50. Nothing. I took another 50 again putting me at 200mg of seroquel. I went to sleep and woke up feeling pretty flat.
I was despairing of the prospect of seroquel working at all the next night by that point so I called my psychiatrist and told her what I had done, and said I didn’t know what to take that night. She told me to come in for an emergency appointment.
In the appointment she said that seroquel is used as a sedative but it is primarily a mood stabiliser and when you are taking in regularly the sedating effect will wear off. Also apparently seroquel does not have a greater sedating effect above 200mg so me taking more than that out of desperation won’t do any good.
She said she will keep the seroquel in my medication regime because I need it for my mood disorder, but she prescribed a new drug for my sleep disorder, gabapentin. I was surprised because I mistakenly thought this drug was for people with parkinson’s disease. But apparently it’s used for epilepsy, mood disorders and sleep.
She told me she wants me to get to 300mg of gabapentin a night, but to start with 100mg, go to 200mg the next night then 300mg the night after that. If 100mg that night didn’t work by midnight, she said, I could take another 100.
I went home and did wh
at she said and even though I was incredibly anxious about whether it would work or not it did and I didn’t have to take that second 100. I went up to 200 the next night and 300 last night and have enjoyed long unbroken sleep with no hangover effects.
Before I left she told me to call her on Thursday – today – which I will do, and update her on how I went with it all. I will do that, and keep you updated.