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Promethazine for sleep: Using Phenergan for insomnia

We all know how fickle sleep can be at times. Whether it’s the heat keeping you awake in the summer, or the stress of work playing on your mind, restless nights are common. Maybe you have been looking into Promethazine for sleep?

Sometimes, when insomnia persists for a significant amount of time, doctors recommend medical treatments as a temporary solution. Often, drugs aren’t a long-term solution for sleeping problems – instead, they’re there to help you get back on track, while you make changes to your sleep routine and hygiene. 

Promethazine is just one example of a common short-term treatment doctors might offer to those with trouble sleeping. 

The question is, should you use Promethazine for sleep, or would another treatment option be better suited to your needs?

What is Promethazine? Is Promethazine a narcotic?

Promethazine is a prescription drug used to treat conditions like nausea, vomiting, motion sickness, and even allergies. The substance can also be effective as a treatment for sleeplessness, particularly when used before and after surgery. 

Available under the name “Phenergan”, Promethazine belongs to the “phenothiazine” class of drugs – which is a kind of antihistamine. 

Promethazine works by preventing the release of histamine from certain cells in the body. This prompts sleepiness, and can also help with pain control, as histamine helps with heightening your senses and keeping you alert.

Studies have shown Promethazine as being effective in encouraging sleep and increasing total sleeping time. However, this medication won’t be suitable for every patient. Like many anti-histamine drugs, and over-the-counter sleep aids, Promethazine can cause daytime drowsiness and other unwanted side effects. 

How effective is Phenergan for sleep?

Phenergan or Promethazine is similar to other antihistamine-based medications for improving sleep. The medicine can help you to fall asleep at night, when taken according to the appropriate guidelines. Too much of this medication can also give you a higher risk of side effects

In general, antihistamines aren’t recommended by doctors for long-term use with sleep problems. Though these medicines are effective at enabling sleep, they can also lead to side effects like parasomnias (such as sleep walking).

Additionally, there are risks associated with long-term usage, such as an increased risk of being diagnosed with dementia. 

Crucially, it is possible to take Promethazine for sleep in small doses safely. In certain situations, and never every day, using Promethazine can give people struggling with significant issues of insomnia some much-needed rest. 

What’s the right Promethazine dosage for sleep?

When it comes to choosing the correct Promethazine dosage for sleep, it’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. To reduce the risk of side effects, most doctors will recommend starting with a small dosage. 

Strengths range from 12.5mg to 50mg. Some people can even take half of a 12.5mg tablet (6.25mg) and still achieve better sleep management. The typical dosage for most adults is usually between 25 and 50mg. When deciding on the right dosage for you, your doctor will consider all the potential benefits and side effects of using this drug carefully. 

Promethazine will usually cause a feeling of sleepiness much faster than other antihistamines, because of its high strength. The potency of the drug also means it’s more likely to be recommended for short-term sleep problems, rather than long-term treatment.

Can I take Phenergan every night?

If you find Promethazine for sleep to be useful, you might consider asking your doctor, “Is it OK to take Phenergan every day?” Unfortunately, it’s very unlikely any medical professional would approve this treatment. 

Although Promethazine can be effective, it also has a range of potential side effects which make it unsuitable for long-term use

The biggest issue most doctors have with prescribing antihistamines as a long-term treatment for sleeping problems, is how quickly the body tends to build a tolerance to the medicine. The longer you take these pills, the less likely they are to have an impact on your sleep. 

Research also indicates this form of medication could increase your risk of dementia long-term. As a result, it’s best to use this medication only for very short periods of time, when a medical solution for insomnia is absolutely necessary. Do not use Promethazine at all if:

  • You have an intolerance to certain sugars like lactose
  • You have eye problems such as primary angle closure glaucoma
  • Allergic reactions to similar medications run in your family
  • You’re awaiting an allergy test
  • You’re trying to get pregnant

Some people will be more at risk of side-effects with Promethazine than others. For instance, those with bladder, stomach, prostate, or heart issues should often avoid taking this medication. 

If you have a long-term disease, like bone barrow disease or liver disease, make sure your doctor knows this before you begin using Phenergan. 

You should also ensure any sleeping problems you have aren’t related to sleep apnea or breathing problems, as this drug may thicken secretions in your breathing tubes. The result may be a higher risk of sleep apnea attacks and worsening your COPD.

Promethazine side effects to be aware of

When taken according to the guidance of your doctor, Promethazine for sleep can be a safe and effective short-term treatment for insomnia. However, it’s important to note there are some side effects associated with this drug. 

What are the side effects of Promethazine?

The most common side effect of this medication is drowsiness, but it can also cause:

  • Abnormal movements in your limbs
  • Increased feelings of excitability
  • Breathing problems
  • Reduced production of white blood cells
  • Reduced platelet count
  • Allergic skin reactions
  • Blood pressure changes

In severe situations, you may have more dangerous side effects, ranging from abnormal heart rhythms, to seizures, hallucinations, and extrapyramidal symptoms. The term extrapyramidal refers to symptoms where you can’t control parts of your body. Examples might include twitching eyelids, uncontrollable movements in your neck, or sticking your tongue out uncontrollably. 

The more severe side-effects can also include severe breathing problems, neuroleptic malignant syndrome, jaundice, and Angioedema. Notably, it’s very rare for patients to experience this kind of response. 

Is it safe to use Promethazine for sleep?

The only way to get Promethazine for sleep is to be prescribed the drug by your doctor, or to access small doses over the counter. If you are unsure about your suitability for this medicine, you should always speak to your doctor first. 

In general, promethazine side effects are uncommon, and very minor, provided you take the drug correctly. 

However, you will need to be cautious taking this substance if you want to reduce your risk of side effects as much as possible. For instance:

  • Avoid drinking alcohol when taking promethazine for sleep, as it will increase drowsiness, and may also worsen any potential side effects.
  • You should take promethazine at least twenty minutes before going to bed to help you with sleeping, as it does take some time to work. Make sure you don’t take more of the medicine than prescribed by your doctor – even if you don’t feel drowsy.
  • Be prepared for any side effects. You might have more nightmares, or feel a little dizzy and confused after taking this medication. 
  • Never take Promethazine with other medications before checking with your doctor first. This substance can interact with a wide range of medications.

Should you take Promethazine for sleep?

A lot of articles talk about how dangerous it can be to rely on antihistamines for improving your sleep patterns. While it’s true you shouldn’t be using these medications long-term, they can be helpful to bring some order back to your sleeping schedule in the short-term. 

Doctors will assess your medical history and condition carefully before suggestion a medication like Promethazine for sleep. 

If the potential side effects outweigh the possible benefits, then you will not be prescribed this substance. This is why it’s always best to talk to a doctor if you’re having a sleeping problem. 

Speaking to your doctor will also allow you to investigate what might be causing the sleeping issue, so you can find a more long-term resolution. 

For instance, you might need to change your sleeping routine, or you might have an underlying condition stopping you from sleeping. If there is an external problem, then taking Promethazine for sleep will only help for a short time. 

In simple terms, Promethazine can help you to get a better night’s sleep, but you shouldn’t depend on it to help you get a good night’s rest long-term. 

Siestio. Sleep Matters.

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