What to know about Ambien (Zolpidem)
Ambien (zolpidem) is a sedative, also called a hypnotic. Zolpidem affects chemicals in the brain that may be unbalanced in people with sleep problems insomnia).
Ambien is used to treat insomnia. The immediate-release tablet is used to help you fall asleep when you first go to bed. The extended-release form, Ambien CR, which has a first layer that dissolves quickly to help you fall asleep, and a second layer that dissolves slowly to help you stay asleep.
Before taking this medicine
Some people using Ambien have engaged in activity such as driving, eating, walking, making phone calls, or having sex and later having no memory of the activity. If this happens to you, stop taking this medicine and talk with your doctor about another treatment for your sleep disorder.
You should not use Ambien if you are allergic to zolpidem. The tablets may contain lactose. Use caution if you are sensitive to lactose.
Ambien is not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years old.
To make sure this medicine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:
- depression, mental illness, or suicidal thoughts;
- drug or alcohol addiction;
- lung disease or breathing problems;
- sleep apnea (breathing stops during sleep); or
- liver or kidney disease.
Taking Ambien in the last 3 months of pregnancy may cause drowsiness or breathing problems in your newborn.
It may not be safe to breast-feed while using this medicine. Ask your doctor about any risk
What should i avoid while taking Ambien
Avoid taking Ambien during travel, such as to sleep on an airplane. You may be awakened before the effects of the medicine have worn off. Amnesia (forgetfulness) is more common if you do not get a full 7 to 8 hours of sleep after taking Ambien.
Avoid driving or hazardous activity until you know how zolpidem will affect you. You may still feel sleepy the morning after taking Ambien, and your reactions could be impaired. Wait until you are fully awake before you drive, operate machinery, pilot an airplane, or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert.
Do not take this medicine if you have consumed alcohol during the day or just before bed.
Ambien side effects
Zolpidem may cause a severe allergic reaction. Stop taking Ambien and get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor, such as: depression, anxiety, aggression, agitation, confusion, unusual thoughts, hallucinations, memory problems, changes in personality, risk-taking behavior, decreased inhibitions, no fear of danger, or thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself.
Stop using this medicine and call your doctor at once if you have:
- chest pain, fast or irregular heartbeat, feeling short of breath;
- trouble breathing or swallowing; or
- feeling like you might pass out.
The sedative effect of Ambien may be stronger in older adults.
Dizziness or severe drowsiness can cause falls, accidents, or severe injuries.
Common Ambien side effects may include:
- daytime drowsiness, dizziness, weakness, feeling “drugged” or light-headed;
- tired feeling, loss of coordination;
- stuffy nose, dry mouth, nose or throat irritation;
- nausea, constipation, diarrhea, upset stomach; or
- headache, muscle pain.
What happens if i miss a dose?
Since Ambien is taken only at bedtime if needed, you are not likely to miss a dose.