What is zolpidem?

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Generic Name: Zolpidem Brand Name(s): Generics only. No brands available.

Know the basics

What is zolpidem used for?

Zolpidem is used to treat sleep problems (insomnia) in adults. If you have trouble falling asleep, it helps you fall asleep faster, so you can get a better night’s rest. Zolpidem belongs to a class of drugs called sedative-hypnotics. It acts on your brain to produce a calming effect.

Zolpidem is usually limited to short treatment periods of 1 to 2 weeks or less.

How should I take zolpidem?

Follow medication guide provided by your doctor or pharmacist before you start using this medication. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Read the Medication Guide and, if available, the Patient Information Leaflet provided by your pharmacist before you start taking zolpidem and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Take zolpidem by mouth on an empty stomach as directed by your doctor, usually once a night. Since zolpidem works quickly, take it right before you get into bed. Do not take it with or after a meal because it will not work as quickly.

Do not take a dose of this drug unless you have time for a full night’s sleep of at least 7 to 8 hours. If you have to wake up before that, you may have some memory loss and may have trouble safely doing any activity that requires alertness, such as driving or operating machinery. (See also Precautions section.)

Dosage is based on your gender, age, medical condition, other medications you may be taking, and response to treatment. Do not increase your dose, take it more often, or use it for longer than prescribed. Do not take more than 10 milligrams a day. Women are usually prescribed a lower dose because the drug is removed from the body more slowly than in men. Older adults are usually prescribed a lower dose to decrease the risk of side effects.

Zolpidem may cause withdrawal reactions, especially if it has been used regularly for a long time or in high doses. In such cases, withdrawal symptoms (such as nausea, vomiting, flushing, stomach cramps, nervousness, shakiness) may occur if you suddenly stop using this medication. To prevent withdrawal reactions, your doctor may reduce your dose gradually. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details, and report any withdrawal reactions immediately.

Along with its benefits, this medication may rarely cause abnormal drug-seeking behavior (addiction). This risk may be increased if you have abused alcohol or drugs in the past. Take this medication exactly as prescribed to lessen the risk of addiction.

When zolpidem is used for a long time, it may not work as well. Talk with your doctor if this medication stops working well.

Tell your doctor if your condition persists after 7 to 10 days, or if it worsens.

You may have trouble sleeping the first few nights after you stop taking this medication. This is called rebound insomnia and is normal. It will usually go away after 1-2 nights. If this effect continues, contact your doctor.

How do I store zolpidem?

Zolpidem is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store zolpidem in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of zolpidem 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 zolpidem 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.

Know the precautions & warnings

What should I know before using zolpidem?

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:

Allergies

Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.

Pediatric

Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of zolpidem in the pediatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established.

Geriatric 

Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of zolpidem in the elderly. However, confusion, dizziness, and falling are more likely to occur in the elderly, who are more sensitive than younger adults to the effects of zolpidem.

Is it safe to take zolpidem during pregnancy or breast-feeding?

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using this medication during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking this medication. This medication 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,
  • X=Contraindicated,
  • N=Unknown

Know the side effects

What are the side effects of zolpidem?

Zolpidem may cause a severe allergic reaction. Stop taking zolpidem and get emergency medical help if you have any of these 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 zolpidem 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.

Common 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.

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.

Know the interactions

What drugs may interact with zolpidem?

Zolpidem 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.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.

  • Sodium Oxybate.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Alprazolam, Buprenorphine, Buspirone, Butabarbital, Carbamazepine, Carbinoxamine, Ceritinib, Chlordiazepoxide, Chlorpromazine, Clarithromycin, Clonazepam, Clorazepate, Cobicistat, Crizotinib, Dabrafenib, Dexmedetomidine, Diazepam, Diphenhydramine, Doxylamine, Eslicarbazepine Acetate, Estazolam, Eszopiclone, Ethchlorvynol, Fentanyl, Flumazenil, Flurazepam, Fospropofol, Halazepam, Hydrocodone, Hydromorphone, Hydroxyzine, Idelalisib, Lorazepam, Meclizine, Meprobamate, Methadone, Midazolam, Mitotane, Morphine, Morphine , Sulfate Liposome, Nilotinib, Oxazepam, Oxycodone, Oxymorphone, Pentobarbital, Phenobarbital, Piperaquine, Prazepam, Primidone, Promethazine, Propofol, Quazepam, Ramelteon, Secobarbital, Siltuximab, Suvorexant, Tapentadol, Temazepam, Thioridazine, Triazolam, Zaleplon.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Bupropion, Ciprofloxacin, Desipramine, Fluvoxamine, Ketoconazole, Perampanel, Rifampin, Sertraline, St John’s Wort, Telaprevir, Venlafaxine.

Does food or alcohol interact with zolpidem?

Zolpidem 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 zolpidem?

Zolpidem 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, especially:

  • Alcohol abuse, history of;
  • Drug abuse or dependence, history of—Dependence on zolpidem may develop.
  • Depression, or history of;
  • Lung disease or other breathing problems;
  • Mental illness, history of;
  • Myasthenia gravis (muscle disease);
  • Sleep apnea (breathing problems during sleep)—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
  • Liver disease—Use with caution. Higher blood levels of zolpidem may result, increasing the chance of side effects.

Understand the dosage

The information provided is not a substitute for medical advice. ALWAYS consult your doctor or pharmacist before using this medication.

What is the dose of zolpidem for an adult?

For treatment of insomnia:

  • For oral dosage form (extended-release tablets):
    • Adults—6.25 milligrams (mg) (for women) or 6.25 or 12.5 mg (for men) once a day at bedtime. Your doctor may increase your dose as needed. However, do not take more than 12.5 mg per day.
    • Older adults—6.25 mg once a day at bedtime.
  • For oral dosage form (tablets):
    • Adults—5 milligrams (mg) for women and 5 or 10 mg for men once a day at bedtime. Your doctor may increase your dose as needed. However, do not take more than 10 mg per day.
    • Older adults—5 mg once a day at bedtime.

What is the dose of 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 zolpidem available?

Zolpidem is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

  • Tablet 6,25 mg; 12; 5 mg.

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.

Symptoms of overdose may include:

  • Drowsiness;
  • Coma (loss of consciousness for a period of time);
  • Slowed breathing or heartbeat.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of zolpidem, 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.

Review Date: January 4, 2017 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017

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