Ambien (Zolpidem) is a prescription drug used most commonly to treat insomnia. It is a short-acting non-benzodiazepine that stimulates the GABA receptors in the central nervous system. Ambien works more quickly than most benzodiazepines and has a shorter life span (usually 2 to 3 hours). Ambien has the same effects on the human brain and body that benzodiazepines like Diazepam, Alprazolam, Clonazepam, Flunitrazepam and Lorazepam; have, albeit, the effects are subdued.
Ambien is available orally in two common forms: immediate release and extended release. The immediate release tablet helps you fall asleep when you first get into bed. The extended release form has another layer of Ambien that dissolves slower compared to the immediate release form and is designed to increase the amount of sleep at night.
Side Effects of Ambien
- Allergic reactions
- Swollen face
- Feeling of being “drugged”
- Breathing trouble
- Chest pain
- Irregular heartbeat
- Trouble with swallowing food
- Dry mouth
- Stuffy nose
- Muscle pain
- Memory loss
- Cognitive disorders
- Balance impairment
- Personality changes
Ambien Do’s and Don’ts
People taking Ambien should follow the prescription on the label. It works best when it is taken according to the prescribed dosage.
The CR (extended release) tablet should be swallowed- do not crush, chew or dissolve it.
It is for short term use only. A doctor should be consulted if insomnia doesn’t subside within 10 days of taking medicine.
It should not be administered to another individual because different people have different dosage requirements.
It should not be administered if little sleep was received the previous night. It is ideal to have at least 6-7 hours continuously before Ambien is taken.
Ambien can cause allergic reactions. In the case of swelling of the face or tongue, immediately contact your physician. People who are allergic to Zolpidem should stay away from Ambien. Individuals with liver or kidney conditions, myasthenia gravis, asthma, bronchitis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) should inform the doctor about these conditions before taking it.
Addiction and Overdose
Ambien has been abused for recreational purposes due to its sedative properties. However, the drug has high potential for addiction and overdose, and should be used in prescribed doses for the prescribed duration only.
In the case of an overdose, medical attention should be sought immediatly as an overdose can be fatal. When taken with other medications, Ambien can have pronounced effects on the patient. If drug overdose is suspected, immediate action should be taken.
Ambien withdrawal can cause some withdrawal symptoms such as:
- Thoughts of suicide
Addiction to and overdose of Ambien is a serious matter, and should be dealt with in the controlled environment of a drug rehabilitation facility. Physicians and psychologists work with patients to help wean them off of Ambien and help them realize that drug dependency and cravings are the problem. With the right treatment respective to each individual case, people can recover from Ambien addiction.