Drugs Q & A

How Much Doxepin Can You Take For Sleep?

The collective term sleep disorder refers to conditions that affect sleep quality, timing, or duration and impact a person’s ability to properly function while they are awake. These disorders can contribute to other medical problems, and some may also be symptoms of underlying mental health issues.

Data indicate that more than one-third of adults in the United States report getting fewer than 7 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period. More than 70 percent of high school students report getting fewer than 8 hours of sleep on weeknights.

Most people occasionally experience sleeping problems due to stress, hectic schedules, and other outside influences. However, when these issues begin to occur on a regular basis and interfere with daily life, they may indicate a sleeping disorder.

Depending on the type of sleep disorder, people may have a difficult time falling asleep and may feel extremely tired throughout the day. The lack of sleep can have a negative impact on energy, mood, concentration, and overall health.

What is Doxepin?

Doxepin (Silenor) is a medication used to treat insomnia (difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep) in people who have trouble staying asleep. Doxepin (Silenor) is in a class of medications called tricyclic antidepressants. It works by slowing activity in the brain to allow sleep.

Doxepin was approved for medical use in the United States in 1969. It is available as a generic medication. In 2017, it was the 240th most commonly prescribed medication in the United States, with more than two million prescriptions.

How much doxepin can you take for sleep?

For treatment of sleeping disorders, the recommended dosage of doxepin is 3 to 6 mg taken once daily within 30 minutes of bedtime, for a short duration (less than 4-8 weeks). Do not take doxepin (Silenor) within 3 hours of a meal. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take doxepin (Silenor) exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

You will probably become very sleepy soon after you take doxepin (Silenor) and will remain sleepy for some time after you take the medication. Plan to go to bed right after you take doxepin (Silenor) and to stay in bed for 7 to 8 hours. Do not take doxepin (Silenor) if you will be unable to go to bed right away and remain asleep for 7 to 8 hours after taking the medication.

You should begin to sleep better during the first few days of treatment with doxepin (Silenor). If your sleep does not improve within 7-10 days or gets worse, call your doctor.

Your doctor or pharmacist will give you the manufacturer’s patient information sheet (Medication Guide) when you begin treatment with doxepin (Silenor) and each time you refill your prescription. Read the information carefully and ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. You can also visit the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website (http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm085729.htm) to obtain the Medication Guide.

Doxepin side effects

Doxepin (Silenor) may cause drowsiness. You shouldn’t drive, use machinery, or do other activities that require alertness after taking this drug until you know how it affects you.

This drug can also cause other side effects.

More common side effects

Some of the more common side effects that can occur with the use of doxepin (Silenor) include:

•           drowsiness

•           dizziness

•           dry mouth

•           blurred vision

•           constipation

•           trouble urinating

•           nausea or vomiting

•           upset stomach

•           changes in how foods taste

•           weight gain

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious side effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

•           Suicidal thoughts and behaviors and worsening depression. Symptoms can include:

o          thoughts about suicide or dying

o          attempts to commit suicide

o          new or worsened symptoms of anxiety

o          feeling very agitated or restless

o          panic attacks

o          trouble sleeping (insomnia)

o          new or worsened irritability

o          acting aggressive, angry, or violent

o          acting on dangerous impulses

o          an extreme increase in activity and talking (mania)

o          other unusual changes in your behavior or mood

•           Urinary retention (problems urinating). Symptoms include:

o          not being able to empty your bladder

o          painful or urgent need to urinate

o          pain or bloating in your lower belly

o          feeling like you cannot completely empty your bladder when you urinate

Doxepin (Silenor) may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).

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