Ambien (zolpidem) Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, and Efficacy | Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD | RxEconsult

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Ambien (zolpidem) Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, and Efficacy Category: Sleep Disorders by - November 12, 2011 | Views: 9069 | Likes: 0 | Comment: 1  

Ambien | Zolpidem

Medication Class: Sedative-hypnotic
Manufacturer(s): Sanofi Aventis
Approval Date: December, 1992

What is Ambien and how does it work

Ambien is a sedative-hypnotic medication (causes drowsiness) that affects the activity of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), a neurotransmitter in the brain that controls sleep. Ambien affects the activity of nerves that are responsible for sleep.

What does Ambien treat

Ambien is used for the short-term treatment of insomnia (sleep disorder) involving difficulty falling asleep.

How effective is Ambien

  • Transient insomnia (sleep problem over a few nights only): Ambien 7.5mg or 10mg were more effective on sleep latency (time it takes to fall asleep), sleep duration and number of awakenings compared placebo.
  • Chronic insomnia (sleep problem lasting more than 3 weeks): Ambien 10 mg administered for 5 weeks was superior to placebo on sleep latency and sleep efficiency.
  • Improvement in sleep duration, number of awakenings, and sleep quality is evident within the first week.

What are interesting facts about Ambien

  • Ambien is a controlled substance that may be abused. Individuals with a history of drug abuse should be monitored carefully if treated with Ambien.
  • Unlike benzodiazepine type sedative hypnotics, Ambien is not a muscle relaxant.
  • It is available in a long-acting formulation (Ambien CR) and spray (Zolpimist).
  • It is used for short-term insomnia associated with travel.
  • Generic versions are available.

How is Ambien dosed and administered

  • 5-10 mg taken orally once daily immediately before bedtime.

What are the side effects of Ambien

Common: Drowsiness, headache, dizziness, lethargy, ‘drugged’ feeling, constipation or diarrhea, dry mouth, back pain, sinusitis (sinus infection), pharyngitis (sore throat), and flu-like symptoms.

Serious: Heart palpitations, worsening of depression, aggressive behavior, hallucinations, amnesia (memory loss), anaphylaxis (serious allergic reactions such as throat swelling and difficulty in breathing), suicidal thoughts, withdrawal symptoms, drug dependence.

Ambien drug interactions

  • CNS depressants: Central nervous system (CNS) depressants, such as alcohol or antidepressants, increase the effect of Ambien on sleep and movement.
  • Rifampin: Decreases the effect of Ambien by reducing its blood levels.
  • Ketoconazole (Nizoral) or itraconzaole (Sporanox): Both drugs may increase the effect and side effects of Ambien by increasing its blood levels.

What is the cost of Ambien

Ten 10 mg tablets of brand name Ambien cost about $90. Ten 10 mg tablets of the generic version coast about $19.

How to obtain prescription assistance for Ambien

For prescription assistance for Ambien, please visit Sanofi prescription assistance program.

References: Ambien FDA Prescribing Information and Medication Guide.



This medication summary is for information only and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified healthcare provider.


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