Ambien (Zolpidem), Side Effects, Precautions, Benefits and Uses
Ambien (zolpidem) is a prescription medication used for the treatment of insomnia. It is also sometimes prescribed for other uses, including for the treatment of sleep-related eating disorders and as an aid to help people who have difficulty falling asleep.
Ambien belongs to a class of drugs called sedative-hypnotics. These drugs work by slowing down the brain’s activity and producing relaxation effects. Ambien is not habit-forming and has few side effects when taken as directed. Taking Ambien in excess or taking it with other drugs that can cause drowsiness can lead to serious problems such as overdose or death.
Ambien (Zolpidem) is a sedative, which means it works by slowing down your brain and body functions so you can fall asleep faster. Ambien has been on the market since 1992 and has been prescribed more than 200 million times in the U.S. alone since then! The drug is also available as generic zolpidem tartrate, which is known by its brand name Ambien or as Edluar in Europe.
How It Works
Ambien works by affecting chemicals in your brain that control sleep and wakefulness. When you take Ambien, it binds to GABA receptors in your brain, which helps you fall asleep faster by slowing down your nervous system—your heart rate slows down, your breathing slows down, etc. But this effect only lasts four hours or so at most before the drug wears off entirely; after that point you’ll wake up feeling groggy.
Benefits of Ambien
Ambien is not addictive and can be used safely for long periods of time. It is available in generic form at much lower prices than the brand name drug, Ambien CR.
According to Healthline, Ambien may be effective for people who have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. The drug could also help people suffering from chronic insomnia who are not responding well to other treatments.
There are many benefits of taking Ambien. Here are just a few:
- You’ll stop worrying about things that don’t matter.
- You’ll sleep better, which means you’ll be more productive when you wake up.
- You’ll have more energy throughout the day, and your mood will improve.
- It reduces the time it takes to fall asleep.
- It reduces the number of times you wake up during the night.
- It improves how long you stay asleep by about 20 minutes.
In addition to helping with sleep, Ambien may be used to treat the symptoms of jet lag, shift work sleep disorder, or prolonged bouts of sleeplessness due to stress or pain. It’s also widely used as a sedative before surgery or dental work.
Ambien shouldn’t be taken with other drugs that can cause drowsiness or affect your breathing like alcohol, narcotics or medications with anticholinergic effects like tricyclic antidepressants. If you have any questions about whether your medication could interact with Ambien and make it unsafe for use, talk to a doctor before taking it.
Ambien may also be used in combination with other medications to treat conditions such as depression or anxiety disorders, or even pain. It’s important to talk with your doctor about what kind of results you should expect from using Ambien along with other medications for different conditions.
What are some side effects of using Ambien?
Ambien, a prescription sleep aid, is used to treat insomnia. It can be effective if you take it at the right time and dose, but it can also cause side effects.
Side effects of Ambien include:
- Sleepwalking or sleep driving
- Hallucinations and other symptoms of psychosis
- Blackouts that are hard to remember the next day (this is called “amnesia”)
- Confusion and memory loss
- Severe allergic reactions (that can be life-threatening)
These side effects can be especially dangerous if you’re driving or operating heavy machinery when you take Ambien. You should also avoid operating any sort of dangerous machinery immediately after taking Ambien because it can impair your judgment for up to 12 hours after consumption.
Ambien can also cause dry mouth and nose, as well as constipation or diarrhea depending on how much water you drink while taking it (the less water you drink, the more likely you’ll experience constipation).
3 Ways to Take Ambien Correctly
When you take Ambien, it’s important to follow the directions on the bottle. But sometimes it can be hard to remember all of the steps, especially if you’re in a hurry or feeling confused. If that’s the case, don’t worry! We’ve got 3 easy ways to help you remember how to take Ambien correctly.
- Take Ambien exactly as prescribed.
- Don’t mix it with alcohol or other drugs, including over-the-counter medications like cough syrup, cold medicine and sleep aids.
- Only take it for short periods of time—usually 10 days or less—because long-term use may cause dependence and rebound insomnia when you stop taking it.
Why You Must Avoid Taking Ambien if You Are Pregnant
If you have ever been pregnant, you know that it’s a time of extreme stress. Between balancing your job, your relationships, and your own personal health and well-being, it can seem like there are just not enough hours in the day.
And yet somehow, we find a way to do it all. We push through fatigue and nausea; we make sacrifices for our family; we put our bodies on the line for our children.
That’s why it’s so important that we take care of ourselves throughout pregnancy—so that we can continue to be strong for them (and for ourselves).
But what if there was something else you could do? Something that would help relieve some of all those pregnancy symptoms, while also keeping your baby safe from harm? What if I told you there was one medication that could do just that?
That medication is Ambien (zolpidem). Ambien is prescribed to help people with insomnia or sleep deprivation by promoting relaxation and reducing anxiety before bedtime. But what most people don’t realize is that Ambien has been proven to be safe during pregnancy—and even during breastfeeding!
- Do not take AMBIEN if you are allergic to zolpidem or any of its ingredients.
- Do not take AMBIEN if you have severe liver disease, severe kidney disease, myasthenia gravis (a disorder of the nervous system that causes muscles to tire easily), or sleep apnea (pauses in breathing during sleep).
- Do not drink alcohol or use prescription or over-the-counter medicines containing alcohol while taking AMBIEN. Using products containing alcohol during treatment with zolpidem may worsen the side effects of zolpidem and cause severe drowsiness, dizziness, confusion, and difficulty concentrating that can last up to 12 hours after taking AMBIEN. The risk of these side effects is greater if you have taken more than the recommended dose of AMBIEN or have taken it with alcohol.
- Tell your healthcare provider about all other medicines you are taking including prescription, over-the-counter medicines, herbal supplements and vitamins before taking AMBIEN.