My teenage son has suffered for years with insomnia. We have tried Melatonin and that works sometimes... the sublimal tablet. The Health Food store suggested he take Alteril. I am wondering if any of you have tried it. He absolutely cannot get to sleep and when he does it is always for only 1 hour at a time. Thanks so much!
Well, Alteril is a combination drug of L-tryptophan, melatonin and valerian root. L-tryptophan is the amino acid found in turkey which can make the patient potentially sleepy. The current theorized action is its influence on seratonin, a neurotransmitter. If he's taking any anti-depressants, I would personally suggest confirming it with a doctor, because there may be a possible interaction between the two. Melatonin, which you said you've used already, is a naturally occuring hormone within the brain that regulates sleep. Valerian root is believed to have a sleep-producing effect, as well as supposedly calming the nerves. Alteril is NOT an FDA approved drug, but it is designed to facilitate sleep.
As for prescription strength medication, before jumping into any of the controlled substances for sleep, I'd suggest talking to your doctor about using a medication like imipramine, amytriptyline or nortriptyline. If those don't necessarily pan out, there is an approved medication for sleep called Rozarem (the active ingredient is a chemical called ramelteon). If THAT doesn't work, then it may be time to try one of the controlled substances, like Ambien (zolpidem), Lunesta (eszopiclone), or Sonata (zaleplon), all of which are Schedule IV drugs.
You have probably already had your son get a sleep study but if not I would highly encourage it. I've personally had to have 4 over the years & I was surprised by the last one I had because my neurologist was able to recommend medication based on new info about the type & amount of the different sleep waves I had, particularly the Delta waves. I hope your son can sleep better soon!
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