Pharmacy/ambien

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Question
i wrote you some e-mails about my insommnia problems and you were kind enough to answer in a pleasent way.im 79 been on xanax 2mg 4 years.will try to reduce it to 1mg and see how i feel.i was taking remeron,xanax,lunesta.my doctor says reduce xanax slowly and take ambien instead of remeron.now every medicine has side effects.you stated you knew patients who took ambien for years.all the articles of long term ambien causing central nervous system damage and memory loss are scare tactics.my pharmasist said no reliable scientific report that long term ambien does central nervous damage or permenent memory loss are false.fda would have pulled it from the market.i guess the lesser of the evils is to get xanax down to .05 and take ambien as long as it works and not let the fear momgers get to me.appreciate your candid manner and as a chronic insommnia my options are limited god bless

Answer
Hi, Ambien is designed to treat insomnia more so than remeron.  Xanax 2mg should be reduced slowly to 1mg to avoid withdrawal symptoms.  I cannot say that all those articles about ambien causing central nervous system damage and memory loss are scare tactics.  There are drugs that cause hearing loss and irreversible damage to pregnant or nursing mothers but the FDA still allows them to be on the market.  Hence, I cannot say what your pharmacist says was correct about having ambien pulled off the market by the FDA if it caused brain damage.  There may be reliable data that supports the claim that ambien does damage the nervous system and cause memory loss.  However, ambien is widely prescribed because of its efficacy and safety.  You may eventually get xanax down to 1/2mg if your doctor is okay with it.  I would also make sure you are taking ambien when you are going to bed or up to 1/2 hour before it.  A problem patients have is that they take it too early in the evening.

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Nanaz Khosrowshahi

Expertise

Being a pharmacist, I can answer questions on medications. This includes how drugs work in the body, drug interactions, drug side effects, warnings and precautions to take when using certain medications, dosage forms and strengths, management of overdosing, storage of medications, drug administration, contraindications, and drug indications. I am able to guide them on lab work that needs to be drawn and monitored while on certain medications. I am able to help patients save money when purchasing medications by directing them to cost-effective therapies. I am able to answer questions on federal laws governing pharmacy practice in the United States. I am unable to answer questions legally as if I am diagnosing the patient's disease or illness. For example, if a patient stated he had upper flank pain, I am unable to say he definitely has a urinary tract infection. However, I am able to direct the patient to the correct next step, which is to call his physician with such a side effect.

Experience

I have been a licensed pharmacist since 2007, holding licenses in CT and MA. I have a PHARM.D from an accelerated pharmacy school program. Currently, I work at the Hebrew Home and Hospital in West Hartford, CT as a pharmacist. I am a well-rounded pharmacist, with experience in long-term care, IV home infusion, retail, hospital, and hospice. I serve as the pharmacy unit coordinator for Mass Dispensing Area #31 in CT, where I am called upon as a volunteer pharmacist in case of public emergencies, such as anthrax threats. I helped run the swine flu vaccine clinic in 2009. I am on the Editorial Advisory Board for Pharmacy Today, a publication of the American Pharmacists Association. My position on the board runs for three years. Every month I make suggestions and offer ideas that would help improve the magazine. I have undergone extra training to administer vaccines to patients, which is training that only a certain percentage of registered pharmacists in the country have.

Organizations
American Pharmacists Association 2007

Education/Credentials
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Worcester, MA- PHARM.D 2007 University of California, Irvine- BA psychology 2001 cum laude

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