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Ambien (zolpidem) is a sedative, also called a hypnotic. Zolpidem affects chemicals in the brain that may be unbalanced in people with sleep problems insomnia).Ambien is used to treatinsomnia.
The immediate-release tablet is used to help you fall asleep when you first go to bed. The extended-release form, Ambien CR, which has a first layer that dissolves quickly to help you fall asleep, and a second layer that dissolves slowly to help you stay asleep.
How to take
Dosage in Adults
Use the lowest effective dose for the patient. The recommended initial dose is 5 mg for women and either 5 or 10 mg for men, taken only once per night immediately before bedtime with at least 7–8 hours remaining before the planned time of awakening. If the 5 mg dose is not effective, the dose can be increased to 10 mg. In some patients, the higher morning blood levels following use of the 10 mg dose increase the risk of next day impairment of driving and other activities that require full alertness. The total dose of AMBIEN should not exceed 10 mg once daily immediately before bedtime. The recommended initial doses for women and men are different because zolpidem clearance is lower in women.
Elderly or debilitated patients may be especially sensitive to the effects of zolpidem tartrate. Patients with hepatic insufficiency do not clear the drug as rapidly as normal subjects. The recommended dose of AMBIEN in both of these patient populations is 5 mg once daily immediately before bedtime.
Use with CNS Depressants
Dosage adjustment may be necessary when AMBIEN is combined with other CNS depressant drugs because of the potentially additive effects.
The effect of AMBIEN may be slowed by ingestion with or immediately after a meal.
Ambien may cause a severe allergic reaction. Stop taking Ambien and get emergency medical help if you have any 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 Ambien 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 Ambien 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.
Some people using this medicine have engaged in activity such as driving, eating, or making phone calls and later having no memory of the activity. If this happens to you, stop taking zolpidem and talk with your doctor about another treatment for your sleep disorder.You should not use this medication if you are allergic to zolpidem. The tablets may contain lactose. Use caution if you are sensitive to lactose.
To make sure zolpidem is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
- kidney disease;
- liver disease;
- lung disease such as asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD);
- sleep apnea (breathing stops during sleep);
- myasthenia gravis;
- a history of depression, mental illness, or suicidal thoughts; or
- a history of drug or alcohol addiction.
Zolpidem may be habit forming and should be used only by the person it was prescribed for. Never share zolpidem with another person, especially someone with a history of drug abuse or addiction. Keep the medication in a place where others cannot get to it.
FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether zolpidem will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medication.
Zolpidem can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
The sedative effects of zolpidem may be stronger in older adults.
Do not give this medicine to anyone younger than 18 years of age.
You may need a lower dose of Ambien if you take other medicines that make you sleepy or slow your breathing (such as cold medicine, pain medication, muscle relaxants, and medicine for depression, anxiety, or seizures). Tell your doctor if you are currently taking any of these medications. Tell your doctor about all medicines you use, and those you start or stop using during your treatment with Ambien, especially:
- itraconazole or ketoconazole;
- rifampin; or
- an antidepressant--imipramine, sertraline.
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with zolpidem, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.
Since Ambien is taken only at bedtime if needed, you are not likely to miss a dose.
The ideal temperature for storing Ambien is between 59 and 86 degrees (or 15 and 30 degrees Celsius) away from heat, moisture, and sunlight. Keep this medication a safe distance away from children and pets.
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