Tip of the Day

Benzodiazepines are commonly prescribed for sleep for CFS and FM patients, although some physicians discourage their use, feeling that they disrupt sleep more than they help it. Like narcotics, they may block stage 4 sleep, often deficient or lacking in CFS/FM patients. "Benzos," often combined with low-dose tricyclic antidepressants for sleep, may decrease pain perception; however, they are habituating and addictive. Side effects include decreased REM sleep, daytime sleepiness, memory loss, anxiety, confusion, dizziness, nightmares, agitation, headache, and upset stomach, although most patients tolerate them quite well. Paradoxically, very small doses of benzos may increase cognition and alertness during the day. Of the benzos, low-dose Klonopin (clonazepam) is the most often used. (Source: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, and Other Invisible Illnesses: The Comprehensive Guide. By Katrina Berne, Ph.D. Published by Hunter House and available at www.hunterhouse.com)

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