GENERIC NAME: ZOLPIDEM - ORAL (ZOHL-pee-dem)
BRAND NAME(S): Ambien
USES: 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.This medication is usually limited to short treatment periods of 1 to 2 weeks or less.
HOW TO USE: 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 this medication 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.This medication 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 this medication 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.
SIDE EFFECTS: Dizziness may occur. If this effect persists or worsens, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.This medication may make you sleepy during the day. Tell your doctor if you have daytime drowsiness. Your dose may need to be adjusted.Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.Tell your doctor right away if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: memory loss, mental/mood/behavior changes (such as new/worsening depression, abnormal thoughts, thoughts of suicide, hallucinations, confusion, agitation, aggressive behavior, anxiety).Rarely, after taking this drug, people have gotten out of bed and driven vehicles while not fully awake ("sleep-driving"). People have also sleepwalked, prepared/eaten food, made phone calls, or had sex while not fully awake. Often, these people do not remember these events. This problem can be dangerous to you or to others. If you find out that you have done any of these activities after taking this medication, tell your doctor right away. Your risk is increased if you use alcohol or other medications that can make you drowsy while taking zolpidem.A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.In the US -Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
PRECAUTIONS: Before taking zolpidem, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: kidney disease, liver disease, mental/mood problems (such as depression, thoughts of suicide), personal or family history of regular use/abuse of drugs/alcohol/other substances, personal or family history of sleepwalking, lung/breathing problems (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease-COPD, sleep apnea), a certain muscle disease (myasthenia gravis).The effects of this drug can last even after you wake up the next day. If you did not get 7 to 8 hours of sleep or took other medications that made you sleepy or are more sensitive to this drug, you may feel alert but not think clearly enough to drive. Wait at least 8 hours after taking this drug before driving, and do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. Avoid alcoholic beverages.Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially dizziness, confusion, unsteadiness, and excessive drowsiness. These side effects can increase the risk of falling.Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Infants born to mothers who have taken sedative-hypnotics near the time of delivery may have undesirable effects such as breathing problems or withdrawal symptoms. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.A small amount of this medication passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
DRUG INTERACTIONS: Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.A product that may interact with this drug is: sodium oxybate.Other medications can affect the removal of zolpidem from your body, which may affect how zolpidem works. Examples include rifampin, azole antifungals such as ketoconazole, among others.The risk of serious side effects (such as slow/shallow breathing, severe drowsiness/dizziness, decreased alertness) may be increased if this medication is used with other products that may also affect breathing or cause drowsiness. Therefore, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking other products such as alcohol, other medicine for sleep or anxiety (such as alprazolam, diazepam, lorazepam), muscle relaxants, and narcotic pain relievers (such as codeine).Check the labels on all your medicines (such as allergy or cough-and-cold products) because they may contain ingredients that cause drowsiness. Ask your pharmacist about using those products safely.
OVERDOSE: If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include slowed breathing or a deep sleep from which you cannot be awakened.
NOTES: Do not share this medication with others. It is against the law.As you get older, your sleep pattern may naturally change and your sleep may be interrupted several times during the night. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for ways to improve your sleep without medication, such as avoiding caffeine and alcohol close to bedtime, avoiding daytime naps, and going to bed at the same time each night.
STORAGE: Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets.Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
Information last revised May 2013. Copyright(c) 2013 First Databank, Inc.
Latest MedicineNet News
Daily Health News
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
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.
Top zolpidem Related Articles
Insomnia SlideshowWhat is insomnia? Insomnia by definition is trouble falling or staying asleep. Insomnia causes are varied. Learn 10 tips on how to get a good night's sleep and avoid sleep disorders such as insomnia.
Benzodiazepines vs. Ambien
Benzodiazepines and Ambien (zolpidem) are used to treat insomnia. Benzodiazepines are a drug class of central nervous system depressants that cause drowsiness. Ambien belongs to a different drug class called sedatives/hypnotics that have some similar characteristics to benzodiazepines. Side effects of benzodiazepines and Ambien that are similar include drowsiness, confusion, and balance problems.
Drug Abuse SlideshowWhat is drug abuse? Learn about prescription drug abuse and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, including depressants, pain relievers, and stimulants.
Drug interactions occur frequently. Get facts about the types of drug interactions, what substances or other things that may interact with drugs such as OTC drug and prescription drugs, vitamins, food(s) (grapefruit), and laboratory tests. Find out how to protect yourself from potential drug interactions.
Drugs: Questions to Ask Your Doctor or Pharmacist about Your DrugsImportant information about your drugs should be reviewed prior to taking any prescription drug. Side effects, drug interactions, warnings and precauctions, dosage, what the drug is used for, what to do if you miss a dose, how the drug is to be stored, and generic vs. brand names.
Eszopiclone (Lunesta) is a drug prescribed for the treatment of insomnia that is characterized by difficulty falling asleep, awakening frequently during the night, waking up too early, and the inability to fall back to sleep. Side effects, drug interactions, warnings and precautions, and pregnancy information should be reviewed prior to taking this medication.
Hypnotics (for Sleep)
Hypnotics are sleep medications used to treat different types of insomnia. There are a variety of hypnotic drugs, and they are grouped into five types. Benzodiazepines, nonbenzodiazepines, selective melatonin agonists (these three drug types are classified as sedatives), antidepressants, and an orexin receptor agonist. Some hypnotics can be addictive and may cause withdrawal symptoms if discontinued abruptly.
The side effects of hypnotics depend upon the drug used, but they may include:
- Dry mouth
- Rebound insomnia
Other side effects may include:
- Hair loss
- Dry skin
- Upset stomach
- Abnormal dreams
Hypnotics may have serious side effects and adverse effects, for example:
- Abnormal thinking
- Suicidal thinking
- Sleep paralysis
- Sleep driving and other complex behavior
- Exfoliate dermatitis
Hypnotic drugs available over-the-counter (OTC) include diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and doxylamine (Unisom). Natural herbal supplements used for insomnia are melatonin and Valerian.
Do not drink alcohol while taking hypnotic drugs. Stimulants like caffeine or amphetamines reduce the effect of insomnia medications.
Your doctor or other health care professional will recommend the type of hypnotic drug for you depending upon the type of sleep problem you have, your current lifestyle habits, other medications you are taking, and any other medical problems you may have.
FDA. "Sleep Disorder (Sedative-Hypnotic) Drug Information." Updated: Jun 13, 2017.
Chawala, J, MD. "Insomnia Medication." Medscape. Updated: Aug 01, 2016.
InsomniaInsomnia is the perception or complaint of inadequate or poor-quality sleep because of difficulty falling asleep; waking up frequently during the night with difficulty returning to sleep; waking up too early in the morning; or unrefreshing sleep. Secondary insomnia is the most common type of insomnia. Treatment for insomnia include lifestyle changes, cognitive behavioral therapy, and medication.
Suffer From Insomnia QuizInsomnia affects all age groups, and is the most common sleep disorder in the world. There also seems to be a link between depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Learn more about insomnia with this quiz.
Jobs that May Ruin SleepSome jobs can lead to sleep problems like insomnia, especially for graveyard and other shift work. Learn how work can disrupt sleep patterns and circadian rhythms, and how to get a good night's sleep.
Klonopin (clonazepam) vs. Ambien (zolpidem)Klonopin (clonazepam) and Ambien (zolpidem) are used to treat insomnia. Clonazepam is primarily used for treating panic disorder and preventing certain types of seizures, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, and for short-term relief of anxiety symptoms. Clonazepam and Ambien belong to different drug classes. Clonazepam is a benzodiazepine class anti-anxiety medication and Ambien is a sedative/hypnotic.
Post-traumatic Stress DisorderPost-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a psychiatric condition, can develop after any catastrophic life event. Symptoms include nightmares, flashbacks, sweating, rapid heart rate, detachment, amnesia, sleep problems, irritability, and exaggerated startle response. Treatment may involve psychotherapy, group support, and medication.
Sleep Disorders (How to Get a Good Night's Sleep)A number of vital tasks carried out during sleep help maintain good health and enable people to function at their best. Sleep needs vary from individual to individual and change throughout your life. The National Institutes of Health recommend about 7-9 hours of sleep each night for older, school-aged children, teens, and most average adults; 10-12 for preschool-aged children; and 16-18 hours for newborns. There are two stages of sleep; 1) REM sleep (rapid-eye movement), and 2) NREM sleep (non-rapid-eye movement). The side effects of lack of sleep or insomnia include:
- Feeling sleepy during the day
- Concentration or memory problems
Lack of sleep and insomnia can be caused by medical conditions or diseases, medications, stress, or pain. The treatment for lack of sleep and insomnia depends upon the cause.
Insomnia Treatment (Sleep Aids and Stimulants)
Insomnia is difficulty in falling or staying asleep, the absence of restful sleep, or poor quality of sleep. Insomnia is a symptom and not a disease. The most common causes of insomnia are medications, psychological conditions, environmental changes and stressful events. Treatments may include non-drug treatments, over-the-counter medicines, and/or prescription medications.
Sleep DisordersLearn about the different types of sleep disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnea. Explore the symptoms, causes, tests and treatments of sleep disorders.
Sleep QuizTake our Sleeping Quiz to learn which sleep disorders, causes, and symptoms rule the night. Trouble falling or staying asleep? Find out which medical treatments fight sleep deprivation, apnea, insomnia, and more!
Why Do People Sleepwalk?Sleepwalking is a condition in which an individual walks or does other activities while asleep. Factors associated with sleepwalking include genetic, environmental, and physiological. Episodes of sleepwalking may include quiet walking to agitated running. Conditions that may have similar symptoms of sleepwalking, but are not include night terrors, confusional arousals, and nocturnal seizures. Treatment of sleepwalking generally include preventative measures. Medication may be prescribed if necessary.
Travel MedicineTravelers should prepare for their trip by visiting their physician to get the proper vaccinations and obtain the necessary medication if they have a medical condition or chronic disease. Diseases that travelers may pick up from contaminated water or food, insect or animal bites, or from other people include:
- meningococcal meningitis,
- yellow fever,
- hepatitis A,
- typhoid fever,
- polio, and
Valium (diazepam) vs. Ambien (zolpidem)Valium (diazepam) and Ambien (zolpidem) are used to treat insomnia. Diazepam is primarily used to treat anxiety, alcohol withdrawal symptoms, seizures, for relief of muscle spasms in some neurological diseases, and for sedation during surgery. Diazepam and Ambien belong to different drug classes. Diazepam is a benzodiazepine and Ambien is a sedative/hypnotic.