What is Ambien?

Zolpidem, sold under the brand name Ambien, among others, is a medicine primarily used for the short-term treatment of sleeping problems. Guidelines recommend that it be used only after cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia and behavioral changes, such as sleep hygiene, have been tested.

Ambien Uses

Zolpidem is used to treat certain sleep problems (insomnia) in adults. If you're having 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-hypnotic drugs. It acts on your brain to produce a calming effect. Usually, this medicine is limited to short treatment periods of 1 to 2 weeks or less.

How to use Ambien

Read the Medication Guide and, if available, the Patient Information Leaflet provided by your pharmacist before you start taking zolpidem and every time you refill it.

Take this medicine orally as directed by your doctor, on an empty stomach, usually once in the night. Since zolpidem is working quickly, take it right before you get to bed. Don't take it with or after a meal, because it won't work as quickly.

Do not take a dose of this medicine unless you have a full night sleep time of at least 7 to 8 hours. If you have to wake up before that, you may have some memory loss, and you may have trouble doing any activity that needs to be done safely.

Dosage is based on your gender, age, medical condition, other medications you may take, and response to treatment. Do not increase your dose, take it more often, or use it longer than prescribed. Do not take more than 10 milligrams per day. Women have usually prescribed a lower dose because the drug is removed from the body more slowly than men do. Older adults are usually prescribed a lower dose to reduce the risk of side effects.

If you suddenly stop using this medicine, you may have symptoms of withdrawal (such as nausea, vomiting, flushing, stomach cramps, nervousness, shakiness). Your doctor may lower your dose slowly to help prevent withdrawal. Withdrawal is more likely if you have been using zolpidem for a long time or at high doses. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have a withdrawal right away.

Although it helps a lot of people, it can sometimes cause addiction. This risk may be higher if you have a substance use disorder (such as overuse or drug/alcohol addiction). Take this medicine the same as prescribed to reduce the risk of addiction. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for further details.

Ambien Side Effects

  • Chest pain
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Feeling short of breath
  • Trouble breathing
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Passing out feeling
  • Dizziness
  • Severe drowsiness
  • Falls down
  • Accidents
  • Daytime drowsiness
  • Weakness
  • Feeling drugged
  • Light-headed
  • Tired feeling
  • Loss of coordination
  • Stuffy nose
  • Dry mouth
  • Dry nose
  • Throat irritation
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Upset stomach
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain


  • Tell your doctor or pharmacist before taking zolpidem if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain some inactive ingredients that may cause allergic reactions or other problems. Please talk to your pharmacist for more details.
  • Before using this medicine, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, in particular: kidney disease, liver disease, mental or emotional problems (such as depression, thoughts of suicide), personal or family history of substance use disorder (such as overuse or drug addiction/alcohol), personal or family history of sleepwalking, lung/breathing problems (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorders).
  • The effects of this drug may last even after you wake up the next day in the morning. If you didn't get 7 to 8 hours of sleep or take other drugs that made you sleepy or more sensitive to this drug, you may feel alert but don't think enough to drive. You may also experience dizziness or blurred or double vision. Wait at least 8 hours after taking this medicine before driving, and do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. This medicine may also increase the risk of falling.
  • Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially dizziness, confusion, restlessness, and excessive somnolence. These side effects may cause the risk of falling.
  • Tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use before you have surgery (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
  • This medicine should only be used during pregnancy when needed. Babies born to mothers who have used this drug late in the last 3 months of pregnancy may develop unusual sleepiness, difficulty breathing, unusual limpness, or symptoms of withdrawal. Get medical help right away if you notice any unusual symptoms in your newborn baby.
  • A small amount of this medicine passes into breast milk and may have undesirable effects on a nursing infant (such as unusual sleepiness, trouble breathing, or unusual limpness). Get medical help right away if you notice any unusual symptoms in your child. Ask your doctor if you should pump and discard your breast milk during and for 23 hours after the dose of this medicine to reduce the risk of these effects in your baby. Before breastfeeding, consult your doctor.


Other medications may affect your body's removal of zolpidem, which may affect how zolpidem works.

The risk of serious side effects (such as slow/slow breathing, severe somnolence/dizziness) may be increased if this medicine is taken with other products that may also cause somnolence or difficulty breathing. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any other medications, such as opioid pain or cough relievers (such as codeine, hydrocodone), alcohol, marijuana (cannabis), other sleep or anxiety medications (such as alprazolam, lorazepam, zopiclone), muscle relaxants.

Ambien vs Ativan



Also known as zolpidem Also known as lorazepam
Ambien (zolpidem) helps to fall asleep and stay asleep, but it can be habit-forming and may be more likely to cause side effects than other sleep medicines. Ativan (lorazepam) is an effective medication for occasional or short-term anxiety. It is less likely to have drug interactions, but more likely to cause withdrawal symptoms compared to similar drugs.
It is used for Insomnia short-term treatment and Insomnia long-term treatment Used for:
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Alcohol withdrawal
  • Nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy
  • Sedation before a medical procedure
  • Seizures
Forms available
  • Pill
  • Oral spray
  • Sublingual pill
Forms available
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Injection

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Ambien bad for you?

Although Ambien is classified as a sedative, it can give users a rush of energy and euphoria when used at high doses. However, the misuse of this drug may result in extreme somnolence, confusion, and clumsiness, all of which increase the risk of falls, fractures, and other accidental injuries.

What does Ambien do?

Zolpidem is used to treat certain sleep problems (insomnia) in adults. If you're having 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-hypnotic drugs. It acts on your brain to have a calming effect.

Who's not supposed to take Ambien?

Ambien is used in adults for the short-term treatment of sleep problems called insomnia (trouble falling asleep). AMBIEN is not recommended for use in children under 18 years of age. AMBIEN is a federally controlled substance (C-IV) that can be abused or lead to dependence.

Is Ambien good for sleeping?

Zolpidem, commonly known as Ambien, slows down brain activity, allowing you to sleep. The immediate-release form dissolves right away, helping you to fall asleep quickly. The extended-release version has two layers—the first one helps you fall asleep, and the second one slowly dissolves to help you stay asleep.

Do I have to take Ambien every night?

Ambien is designed for short-term use only. Taking it at doses higher than recommended for long periods increases your chance of becoming addicted

Is Ambien safe long term?

Ambien cr is indicated for the treatment of insomnia. It is a treatment option that can be considered by you and your healthcare professional along with lifestyle changes and can be taken for as long as your healthcare professional recommends.

Is 5mg Ambien addictive?

While it generally takes longer for users to develop an addiction to Ambien than to Benzos and withdrawal from Ambien is generally less serious and dangerous than withdrawal from Benzo, Ambien is still an addictive substance. It is now recognized that Ambien has a very similar potential for abuse to Benzos.

Disclaimer: The information provided herein is accurate, updated and complete as per the best practices of the Company. Please note that this information should not be treated as a replacement for physical medical consultation or advice. We do not guarantee the accuracy and the completeness of the information so provided. The absence of any information and/or warning to any drug shall not be considered and assumed as an implied assurance of the Company. We do not take any responsibility for the consequences arising out of the aforementioned information and strongly recommend you for a physical consultation in case of any queries or doubts.