What is zolpidem?
Zolpidem is a prescription drug that comes as an oral tablet and an oral spray.
The oral tablet comes in three forms: immediate-release, extended-release, and sublingual. The immediate-release form releases the drug into your body right away. The extended-release form releases the drug into your body slowly. The sublingual tablet dissolves under your tongue.
How it works
Zolpidem belongs to a class of drugs called hypnotics. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.
Zolpidem increases the activity of GABA. GABA is a chemical in your body that causes sleepiness. Increasing its activity helps you fall asleep.
Benefits of zolpidem?
If you struggle to get a restful night’s sleep, zolpidem has been found to help. Introduced in 1992 under the brand name Ambien, this medication has a long track record of helping people overcome their insomnia.
The benefits of zolpidem include:
- It works quickly – usually within 30 minutes
- Studies confirm that it works to initiate the sleep process
- Many patients see their sleep problems improve in just seven to ten days when taking the medication.
side effects of Zolpidem
Zolpidem may cause a severe allergic reaction. Stop taking this medicine and get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to zolpidem: 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 this medicine 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.
The sedative effect of zolpidem may be stronger in older adults.
Dizziness or severe drowsiness can cause falls, accidents, or severe injuries.
Common zolpidem 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.
How to take zolpidem
The zolpidem dosage your doctor prescribes will depend on several factors. These include:
- the type of insomnia you’re using zolpidem to treat
- your age or sex
- the form of zolpidem you take
- other medical conditions you may have, such as liver damage
Typically, your doctor will start you on a low dosage and adjust it over time to reach the dosage that’s right for you. They’ll ultimately prescribe the smallest dosage that provides the desired effect.
The following information describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. However, be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to suit your needs.