Prescription Pills: Proceed with Caution

The past few weeks, what with a new pup to tend to, a bunch of paying work (and more incoming), the scheme to self-publish three books, and a busy Holy Week, I’ve hardly had any sleep at all. Pup regularly lobbies to go out at 4 in the morning, and once awakened, I rarely go back to sleep. And night after night, bed-time has come along about midnight. Nothing out of the ordinary…but then there’s also the slacking off in the exercise department. When I’ve had time to exercise or walk, I’ve been too tired to bother. Result: ta DAAA! Resurgent back pain.

Sunday night I hurt so much I could barely hobble up the hall. So, along about 10:00 p.m. I decided to try a muscle relaxant the doc prescribed last year. Tried one of these a week ago, and it worked pretty well…next morning, I was actually able to crawl from the bedroom to the refrigerator, a large improvement.

The Rx instructions say the stuff should clear out of your system in about eight hours. Had a vet appointment at 10:30 Monday ayem, meaning I’d have to get in the car at 10. Eight hours plus 10:00 p.m.?  Six a.m., right? So by 10 a.m. there should be no problem driving across the city and life should be good.

Actually slept seven hours, a record, but figured the haze of exhaustion was normal, since it usually takes two or three decent nights’ sleep to make up for ten days or two weeks of sleep deprivation.

Drive to the vet. Get last set of puppy shots. Bring pup back. Tuck her into her X-pen, turn around and race back out. Schlep to the credit union, deposit adjunct paycheck. Schlep to Costco; return ridiculous bathmats (purchased as dog mattresses) that can’t go into the washer(!) and make a few new purchases. Unload car, unload dog, let dog out, feed dog noon meal.

Fix my own meal. It’s now around 1:00 or 1:30 p.m.: fifteen hours after I’ve ingested 5 mg of cyclyobenzeprine. Midday feast: steak, potatoes, vegetable. I have a bourbon and water with this. Again, nothing out of the ordinary: I usually have a b&w or glass of wine with the big meal of the day.

I sit down to this little repast around 2:00 p.m. Shortly before three o’clock, I fall face-forward on the bed: seventeen hours after dropping the muscle relaxant pill. A friend expects me to show up at 4:00 p.m.; set the alarm to go off a little in advance. Conk completely out.

Alarm goes off. In a stupor, I can’t recall what I was supposed to do. Shut it off. Fall back to sleep. Phone rings at half-past four: where am I?

Good question…

Think of that! A small amount of booze — no more than usual and certainly not enough to inebriate…at least not normally — and I’m passed out in the sack!

Presumably while I was driving around in a haze of exhaustion earlier in the day, I must have been impaired. And mistaking impaired for tired. Apparently the stuff took a good 18 hours to wear off: more than twice as long as the bottle’s label implies is the drug’s period of effectiveness.

Five milligrams is half the amount of the original prescription a doctor gave me of this stuff. I asked for a smaller dose and got it. But apparently half a dose is not small enough.

So…watch out for drugs that knock you out. The effect may not wear off as advertised.

 

 

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Linda April 22, 2014 at 8:09 am

I have the same issue with OTC night-time cold meds. I will only take half the prescribed dosage for an adult and still feel useless in the morning. I haven’t had to take any pain meds like you are, so I’m not certain of what my reaction would be, but I’m guessing it would be similar. At least you got the sleep you needed! Hopefully your friend was understanding when you missed your rendez-vous.

funny April 22, 2014 at 8:11 am

Yeah, antihistamines can be effective sleeping pills…assuming you don’t have what’s known as a “paradoxical reaction,” in which the stuff wires you to the teeth and you can’t sleep. Benadryl and Chlortrimeton work as a sedative for me; Sudafed is an upper.

Money Beagle April 22, 2014 at 9:47 am

My hunch (and I’m no professional) is that if you took away the exhaustion factor or the alcohol, you probably would not have had such a severe reaction that far down the timeline from when you took the pills.

funny April 22, 2014 at 10:24 am

Yes, no doubt. But after sixteen hours — eight hours beyond the supposed wear-off time for this drug — I wrongly assumed it was OK to have a drink with a large meal.

And even before that little swiggle, I’m afraid I probably was unsafe on the road. {sigh} I shouldn’t have been driving, and wouldn’t have been, had I understood that the drug had not worn off.

Mrs PoP @ Planting Our Pennies April 22, 2014 at 5:16 pm

I guess everyone metabolizes these things differently, but anything that remotely causes drowsiness hits me like a ton of bricks. Actually Mr PoP and I were just talking about this today since last night we were both so jet lagged and couldn’t sleep. But he was able to take a benadryl and get up 6 hours later and drive to work. I wouldn’t trust myself to be on a road up to 14 or 18 hours after something like that. Muscle relaxants like Flexeril are even worse. I take 1/3 of a pill and know I won’t drive the next day.

funny April 22, 2014 at 5:43 pm

Benadryl can leave me feeling woozy in the morning, too. Certainly after just six hours, I wouldn’t be comfortable driving a car. After eight or ten hours it might be OK…but with Benadryl, the effect seems to add up. One night of using it as a sleeping tablet (or to control some surprise allergic reaction) is OK, but if I try to use it regularly so as to force myself to sleep past two or three in the morning, a cumulative effect happens, and after a few days I’m a zombie.

The brand name of the stuff I’m taking is Flexeril. After this, for sure, I won’t take it if I know I have to drive the following day. And for sure, I absolutely won’t have anything to drink the following day!!

Revanche April 23, 2014 at 1:31 pm

Ohhh Flexeril was terrible when I took it. I felt like a zombie for at least 18 hours, even if I was asleep for 10-12 hrs (against my will!) – my head and mouth felt filled with cotton. Gross. It was prescribed as a sleeping aid but it’s really a muscle relaxant, apparently.
Most sleep aids either don’t work or feel terrible, actually, but I’ve tried zzquil recently and it’s actually not nearly as bad. I’m still really drowsy when I get up but I do get some decent sleep at least, and it wears off a few hours after waking.

Glad you’re ok but do please be careful trying anything new! :)

funny April 23, 2014 at 2:11 pm

After this I’m going to assume NO driving NO drinking NO operating things that will slice off my fingers for the entire day following an evening ingestion of that stuff!

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