What is Ambien® (zolpidem) used for?
Ambien® is a sedative, also called a hypnotic. Zolpidem affects chemicals in the brain that may be unbalanced in people with sleep problems.
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.
Your doctor will determine which form of Ambien® is best for you.
How should I take Ambien® (zolpidem)?
Take Ambien® exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Never take this medicine in larger amounts, or for longer than prescribed.
Ambien® may be habit-forming. Never share this medicine with another person, especially someone with a history of drug abuse or addiction. Keep the medication in a place where others cannot get to it. Selling or giving away this medicine is against the law.
The recommended doses of Ambien® are not the same in men and women, and this drug is not approved for use in children. Misuse of this medication can result in dangerous side effects.
Never take this medicine if you do not have a full 7 to 8 hours to sleep before being active again.
Ambien® is for short-term use only. Tell your doctor if your insomnia symptoms do not improve, or if they get worse after using this medication for 7 to 10 nights in a row. Do not take this medicine for longer than 4 or 5 weeks without your doctor’s advice.
Do not stop using Ambien® suddenly after long-term use, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Ask your doctor how to avoid withdrawal symptoms when you stop using the medicine.
Insomnia symptoms may also return after you stop taking Ambien®. These symptoms may seem to be even worse than before you started taking the medication. Call your doctor if you still have worsened insomnia after the first few nights without taking zolpidem.
Do not crush, chew, or break an Ambien CR tablet. Swallow the pill whole.
How do I storeAmbien® (zolpidem)?
Ambien® is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store Ambien® in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of Ambien® that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.
You should not flush Ambien® down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.
Precautions & warnings
What should I know before using Ambien® (zolpidem)?
Before using this drug, tell your doctor if:
- You are pregnant or breastfeeding. This is because, while you are expecting or feeding a baby, you should only take medicines on the recommendation of a doctor.
- You are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
- You have allergy with any of active or inactive ingredients of Ambien® or other medications.
- You have any other illnesses, disorders, or medical conditions.
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 Ambien® and talk with your doctor about another treatment for your sleep disorder.
Ambien® may impair your thinking or reactions. You may still feel sleepy the morning after taking this medicine, especially if you take the extended-release tablet, or if you are a woman. Wait at least 4 hours or until you are fully awake before you do anything that requires you to be awake and alert.
Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?
There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using Ambien® during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking Ambien®. Ambien® is pregnancy risk category C, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:
- A=No risk
- B=No risk in some studies
- C=There may be some risk
- D=Positive evidence of risk
What side effects can occur from Ambien® (zolpidem)?
Common side effects may include:
- Daytime drowsiness
- Feeling “drugged” or light-headed
- Tired feeling
- Loss of coordination
- Stuffy nose
- Dry mouth
- Nose or throat irritation
- Upset stomach
- Muscle pain
Stop using Ambien® and call your doctor at once if you have:
- Chest pain
- Fast or irregular heartbeat
- Feeling short of breath
- Trouble breathing or swallowing
- Feeling like you might pass out
- Unusual thoughts
- Memory problems
- Changes in personality
- Risk-taking behavior
- Decreased inhibitions
- No fear of danger
- Thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself
Ambien® may cause a severe allergic reaction. Stop taking Ambien® and get emergency medical help if you have any signs of an allergic reaction to zolpidem: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.
What drugs may interact with Ambien® (zolpidem)?
Ambien® may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.
Products that may interact with this drug are:
- Itraconazole or ketoconazole
- An antidepressant – imipramine, sertraline
Does food or alcohol interact with Ambien® (zolpidem)?
Ambien® may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.
What health conditions may interact with Ambien® (zolpidem)?
Ambien® may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.
Health conditions that may interact with this drug are:
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Lung disease such as asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Sleep apnea (breathing stops during sleep)
- Myasthenia gravis
- A history of depression, mental illness, or suicidal thoughts
- A history of drug or alcohol addiction
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using Ambien® (zolpidem).
What is the dose of Ambien® (zolpidem) for an adult?
The recommended initial dose is 5 mg for women and either 5 or 10 mg for men, taken only once per night immediately before bedtime with at least 7–8 hours remaining before the planned time of awakening.
If the 5 mg dose is not effective, the dose can be increased to 10 mg.
In some patients, the higher morning blood levels following use of the 10 mg dose increase the risk of next day impairment of driving and other activities that require full alertness.
The recommended initial doses for women and men are different because zolpidem clearance is lower in women.
What is the dose of Ambien® (zolpidem) for a child?
The dosage has not been established in pediatric patients. It may be unsafe for your child. It is always important to fully understand the safety of the drug before using. Please consult with your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
How is Ambien® (zolpidem) available?
Ambien® is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:
- Tablet, film coated: zolpidem tartrate 5mg
What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?
In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.
What should I do if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose of Ambien®, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Ambien®. https://www.drugs.com/ambien.html. Accessed July 13, 2017
Ambien®. http://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-9690/ambien-oral/details. Accessed July 13, 2017
Review Date: July 13, 2017 | Last Modified: September 13, 2019