Alternatives to lorazepam for sleep aid.
My mother was started on lorazepam, .25 mg, in the hospital 10 days ago by a nurse because she was anxious, short-of-breath, and couldn't sleep. Now she is in a skilled nursing facility for rehab and still taking it, though not severely anxious any more. She has severe emphysema, a history of drinking and some seizures a few years ago, short-term memory and other cognitive problems that wax and wane, sleeps a lot. Lorazepam seems to be exactly the wrong medication for her--easy to be dependent on, depresses the respiratory system, doesn't really help your later sleep cycles, hard to wean from, and is indicated for short-term use anyway. There really seems no good reason for her to be on this particular medication at all. I have a call in to her psychiatrist to see if she needs to be weaned from this small amount or not and suggestions for a safer alternative for helping her sleep. I haven't heard back yet. I think even a placebo so she feels she's taking something to help her sleep would be better. She just doesn't need this additional addictive medication that is known to have so many motor and cognitive side effects, and I feel the nurses are so used to using this --basically a sedative--for people, that they don't even blink. I have control over what she is prescribed, but want to titrate it down if needed, and an alternative. She is also on Effexor for depression and not sure if that helps. She is so variable day to day and I don't know why.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.