Table of Contents

  1. What is Ambien?
  2. Ambien composition
  3. History behind the Ambien
  4. Indications
  5. How does Ambien work? (Ambien Mechanism of Action)
  6. How to Take Ambien?
  7. Common Ambien Dose
  8. When to Avoid Ambien?
  9. Ambien Side Effects
  10. Effects on organs
  11. Warnings and Precautions
  12. Reported Allergic Reactions
  13. Effect of Ambien on the menstrual cycle
  14. Drug Interactions To Be Careful About
  15. Interactions with laboratory procedures
  16. Shows Effects / Results in (How Long Does the Effect Stay?)
  17. Is Ambien Addictive?
  18. Can I have Ambien with alcohol?
  19. Can I have Ambien When Pregnant?
  20. Can I have Ambien when feeding a baby?
  21. Can I drive after taking Ambien?
  22. Effect of an overdose of Ambien
  23. Effect of using expired Ambien
  24. Effect of missing a dose of Ambien
  25. Storage requirements
  26. Substitutes

What is Ambien?

Ambien is a sedative drug prescribed in patients suffering from insomnia. Sedative medicine is also called as hypnotic drugs. Let’s explore more details about this medicine like its uses, side effects, precautions, interactions to be careful about etc.  

Ambien Composition

Ambien Tablet is composed of Zolpidem as a key component. This medicine belongs to the class of drugs called as Imidazopyridine.    

History behind the Ambien

The key ingredient in this medicine, Zolpidem isthe most common prescription medicine used in the United States which is in top 50th position of commonly prescribed medicines list in the United States. Zolpidemgot the initial approval for medical use in 1992 and the generic versions were available since 2007.

Ambien Indications

Ambien is prescribed to promote sleep in patients suffering with insomnia. This medicine is prescribed only for short time treatment sleeping problems.   

How does Ambien work? (Ambien Mechanism of Action)

GABA (Gamma AminoButyric Acid) is a naturally occurring neurotransmitter in our brain. In general neurotransmitters main function is to work as chemical messengers in our body particularly in our brain. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that blocks or inhibits certain brain signals and decreases the nervous system activity.

Zolpidem works by in binding to the GABA receptors and increasing the GABA effects which help to further reduce the neurotransmission in the brain and promote sleep.    

How to Take Ambien?

This medicine comes in tablet form and is advised to take at bedtime before going to sleep. Advised to take the entire tablet with water and never crush or chew the tablet. Follow the instruction as per the prescription.

Common Ambien Dose

Dose of this medicine depends on various factors like the patient’s age, gender, body weight, and severity of conditions etc. Ambien is also available in two different variations like immediate-release tablets and extended-release tablets. Decision on which version is suitable for the patient is decided by the doctor treating the condition.   

When to Avoid Ambien?

Ambien is advised to avoid in certain conditions like –

  • Patients with drug addictions
  • After consumption of alcohol even if the alcohol is consumed before bed
  • In children and elder population
  • In people suffering from severe liver disease, respiratory depression, obstructive sleep apnea, myasthenia gravis

Ambien Side Effects

Along with the intended benefits of providing proper sleep, Ambien can cause some side effects and is advised to bring it to your doctor’s notice if the side effects persist. Mentioned below are some common possible side effects.

  • Weakness  
  • Dizziness or Drowsiness during day times
  • Lightheadedness
  • Feeling tired
  • Loss of coordination
  • Stuffy nose
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach upset
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Muscle pains
  • Chest pain
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Irregular heartbeat

Effects on Organs

  • Ambien can cause cognitive impairment including amnesia in elderly. So it is advised to use with caution and medical supervision.
  • This medicine is metabolized in liver. In general it can rarely damage the liver but not advised in patients with severe liver impairment.

Warnings and Precautions

  • It is advised to use with medical supervision in case of patients with medical history of drug abuse.
  • It is advised to avoid in patients with severe liver damage.
  • It is not advised to use along with other medicine that can cause dizziness including alcohol consumption.

Reported Allergic Reactions

Ambien can cause life threatening allergic reactions which needs immediate medical attention. Below are possible allergic reactions.

  • Anaphylaxis (Symptoms are skin rash, nausea, vomiting, difficulty breathing and shock)
  • Angioedema (Symptoms are painless swelling under the skin triggered by an allergy to animal dander, pollen, drugs, venom, food or medication)

Effect of Ambien on the menstrual cycle

Ambien may result in heavy or longer menstrual periods as a rare side effect. Consult your doctor if you suffer such side effects.

Drug Interactions to Be Careful About

Ambien may interact with some medications if used together. Share details about your current medication with your doctor to avoid drug interactions. Below mentioned are some examples of medicine that Ambien is known to show drug interactions.

  • Antidepressants
  • Antipsychotic medicine
  • Anti-anxiety medicine
  • Medicine used to treat cold or allergies
  • Anti-seizure medication
  • Sedatives
  • Sleeping pills
  • Tranquillizers
  • Ketoconazole (Nizoral)
  • Antibiotic medicine such as Rifampin

Read More: About Ketoconazole (Nizoral)

Interactions with laboratory procedures

Limited data is available on effect of Ambien on laboratory procedures.

Shows Effects / Results in (How Long Does the Effect Stay?)

Onset of action of Ambien medication is 45 minutes and its peak effect is seen in 1.6 hours.  

Is Ambien Addictive?

Ambien can be addictive particularly in case of patients with substance abuse history.

Can I have Ambien with alcohol?

Consuming this medicine along with alcohol is not advised as it can increase the dizziness and shallow breathing.

Can I have Ambien When Pregnant?

It is advised to avoid this medicine in pregnancy, but in cases where it is strongly needed is advised to use it with medical supervision. Adverse effect like unusual sleepiness, breathing issues, and unusual limpness is possible in newborn babies.

Can I have Ambien when feeding a baby?

It is not advised to use in case of nursing mothers as small amounts of this medicine can pass through mother milk to the infant and can cause unusual sleepiness and breathing difficulty in infants.

Can I drive after taking Ambien?

No, you cannot drive after taking this medicine as it is intended to use for insomnia and you will feel sleepy after using it. Never do operations like driving and machine operation or any other activities that require alertness.

Effect of an overdose of Ambien

Never take an excess dose than prescribed. An overdose can lead to coma or even death in some cases. 

Effect of using expired Ambien

Intended benefits of the medicine may not be there if expired medicine is used and moreover it is not advised to use an expired medicine to avoid complications. It is advised to check the label for dates while purchasing and never use expired medicine.

Effect of missing a dose of Ambien

There is no harm if you miss a dose but the only thing is you may not get proper sleep. This medicine is prescribed to take at bedtime or at least when you have a minimum of 7 to 8 hours to sleep. If by mistake you missed a dose, it is advised not to take if you don’t have 7 to 8 hours to sleep.

Storage requirements

Ambien tablets need to be stored at room temperature away from direct sunlight and moisture and out of reach to children and pets.

Substitutes medicine to Ambien

Below mentioned medicine may be prescribed by your doctor as a substitute to Ambien.

  • Inzofresh – by Mankind Pharma Ltd
  • Zedtime – Intas Pharmaceuticals Ltd
  • Nitrest – by Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd
  • Zolpid – by Micro Labs Ltd
  • Zolfresh – by Abbott Laboratories
  • Sove – by Ipca Laboratories Ltd



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