zolpidem (Ambien, Ambien CR, Zolpimist, Edluar, [Tovalt ODT has been discontinued])

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

What is zolpidem, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

  • Zolpidem belongs to a class of drugs called sedatives or hypnotics. Zolpidem shares some characteristics of a family of sedatives called benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines cause sedation, muscle relaxation, act as anti-convulsants (anti-seizure medications), and reduce anxiety. Zolpidem has selectivity in that it has little of the muscle relaxant and anti-seizure effects and more of the sedative effect. Therefore, it is used primarily as a medication for sleep. The oral spray form of zolpidem, Zolpimist, has more rapid absorption than the tablet form because it is absorbed through the lining of the mouth.

The FDA approved zolpidem in December 1992.

What brand names are available for zolpidem?

Ambien, Ambien CR, Intermezzo, Zolpimist, Edluar

Is zolpidem available as a generic drug?

GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes

Do I need a prescription for zolpidem?

Yes

What are the uses for zolpidem?

  • Zolpidem is used for treating insomnia.
  • Conventional tablets are used for short-term treatment of insomnia associated with difficulty falling asleep.
  • Long acting tablets are used for treating insomnia associated with difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.
  • Zolpidem improves initiation of sleep and keeps patients asleep longer.

What are the side effects of zolpidem?

The most common side effects of zolpidem are:

Other side effects include:

Zolpidem can cause withdrawal symptoms (muscle cramps, sweats, shaking, and seizures) when the drug is abruptly discontinued. Zolpidem can cause abnormal behavior with confusion, paradoxical insomnia or "complex sleep-related behaviors," which may include sleep-driving (driving with no memory of having done so). If these side effects occur, zolpidem should be discontinued.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/16/2016
FDA Logo

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

See more info: zolpidem on RxList
RxList Logo

Need help identifying pills and medications?

Use the pill identifier tool on RxList.

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Depression Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors