Is your doctor thinking about prescribing you an off-label prescription sleep aid? Or do you already have a prescription filled? If the former scenario applies to you, then it’s not too late. If you’ve already had the script filled, you might want to call your pharmacist and ask if you can get your money back. In this article, will explain why.
Which Medications Do Doctors Prescribe Off-label for Sleep?
It’s okay if you don’t know off the top of your head which medications doctors usually prescribe off label for sleep. Heck, most people don’t know the names of medications that do get prescribed on-label for sleeping problems. But the fact that you’re on the internet right now searching for information is a good sign. It means you care about your health and your quality of sleep. It also means you understand the importance of a second opinion.
You should ask your doctor for as much information as possible about any and all medications you’re taking. You should ask for the name of it, you should ask about common side effects, and you should definitely ask whether or not it’s being prescribed on- or off-label for you. If your doctor tells you it’s an off-label prescription, be sure to follow up and ask him or her why they feel that’s the best option for you. It’s good to know all of this information to confirm that the medication isn’t being given to you irresponsibly.
After you get all of that information from your doctor, you can compare that to the information we have here for you in this article. Below is a brief summary of the top three off-label sleeping pills which doctors usually prescribe if their patient is having trouble sleeping. If you recognize any of these names, then you should pay especially close attention. Because you may learn about something your doctor hasn’t told you yet.
If you have a Mirtazapine prescription, you should be wary of the following side effects:
- Fast and significant weight gain
- Daytime fatigue
- Swelling of the hands and feet
- High triglyceride and cholesterol levels
- Dry mouth
For some people, This drug may go by its prescription name Remeron. But it also goes by other names depending on what country you live in. When this drug was originally invented it was used as an antidepressant. Unlike most antidepressants, however, it is not an SSRI. Most psychiatrist believe that mirtazapine is especially helpful for people with anxiety disorders. It is also typically prescribed on-label for nausea or for people who are vomiting so uncontrollably that they can’t keep food down. Doctors prescribe this medication to stimulate appetite in such cases. But since it is capable of inducing fatigue, it is a very popular off-label sleep aid.
For patients who are prescribed amitriptyline, the most common side effects they experience include:
- Nightmares, or increased frequency of nightmares they were already having
- Daytime drowsiness
- Decreased libido
- Drop in blood pressure upon standing
- Feelings of confusion
- Weight gain
Some can argue that amitriptyline is the most popular off-label prescription sleep aid. How did it become that? It’s a very good question. When drug companies originally started marketing the drug, they claimed it was most helpful for anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder. It was also prescribed for other, less clinical mental health issues. It is perhaps one of the oldest antidepressant medications out there. There has been some reported success and patients using amitriptyline for ADHD, but there isn’t as much evidence for that disorder as others. And it’s even considered an off-label script when it comes to ADHD. Still other doctors will write a prescription for amitriptyline to patients with fibromyalgia, posturepedic neuralgia, and other forms of miscellaneous nerve pain.
We’re starting to notice a pattern here: all of these off-label prescription pills, trazodone included, are antidepressants. Also, just like the other antidepressants on this list, trazodone is known to help patients who suffer from anxiety disorders. And what keeps most people awake at night? If you guest anxiety, you get a gold star. It makes sense to an extent to prescribe antidepressants for sleep if a) they are also designated for anti-anxiety purposes, and b) they have side effects which include drowsiness.
But there’s something about trazodone – and the other antidepressants on this list – which raises red flags. Specifically, it’s the dosing instructions patients get. It’s especially bad with trazodone because when it’s used off-label for sleep, patients can choose to take anywhere from 1 to 3 pills before bed as needed. “As needed” means they don’t need to take it on a daily basis. And if you’ve ever had an antidepressant prescribed to you, this will sound very strange.
Most doctors and pharmacists insist that antidepressants must be taken at the same dose every single day in order to avoid serious adverse reactions. They also advise titrating up slowly until reaching the most effective dose, and titrating back down slowly if you need to get off the medication for any reason. So which is it: are doctors being unnecessarily cautious when instructing their patients had to take their antidepressant medication, or are they being negligent and reckless when they tell patients to take these off label sleeping pills willy-nilly, whenever they want? At the end of the day, the answer to that question lies between you and your doctor. And it’s up to you to make the best decision for your health and wellness.
As an extra precaution, be sure to watch for the following side effects if you do decide to take trazodone to help with your sleep problems:
- An erection lasting longer than 4 hours (a dangerous condition called priapism)
- Cardiac arrhythmias
- Hepatotoxicity of the liver
- Worsening depression or thoughts of suicide
- Daytime drowsiness
- Orthostatic hypertension
The One Natural Cure Which Doesn’t Require an Off-label Prescription
There’s one sure-fire natural cure for sleeplessness that we know of – and it’s called Avinol PM. Between melatonin, 5-HTP, lemon balm, hops, and more, it has everything you would want in an herbal sleep aid. There are no known side effects – unlike the other pills we talked about so far – and it has a very high success rate as reported by satisfied customers. Many people who take this supplement report sleeping through the night more frequently, falling asleep faster, and waking up refreshed. Most prescription sleeping pills can’t produce those same results – whether on label, or off.