Ambien (Zolpidem) is a Schedule IV controlled substance in the U.S., according to the Controlled Substances Act. It is a non-benzodiazepine sedative which is basically used for insomnia. It is a short-acting drug which acts as quickly as 15 mins and has its effects for about 2-3 hours. People can buy Ambien to induce sleep and it doesn’t help in maintaining sound sleep. The controlled release version of Ambien, Ambien CR helps in maintaining sleep. It is also used by people to be in the sedative euphoric state. Many generic versions of Zolpidem are entering the market. Zolpidem is usually prescribed for about 6 weeks.
Side Effects of Using Ambien
The common side effects encountered while taking Ambien are
- Zolpidem seems to cause muscle relaxation and have anticonvulsant properties, though dose required to achieve these effects is high
- High doses of Ambien can cause hallucination and memory loss
- It causes drug dependence, drug tolerance
- Dizziness, headaches, nausea, vomiting
- Poor motor coordination
- Should be used cautiously with other CNS depressants and alcohol.
- Rebound insomnia
- Long-term use with high doses of Zolpidem can cause seizures
Measures to Curb Side Effects:
The medicine should be used only under close supervision of a registered medical practitioner. It should be started to consume with the lowest dose for the short period of time. Body usually adjusts too few side effects during the course of treatment.
In general, Zolpidem side-effects are well tolerated. The medicine can cause fatigue. Ambien should be taken before going to bed, as this is a sleep initiator. After taking this medicine the individual will not be active. The person will be drowsy and will forget his actions done during the night.
Hypersensitivity reactions such as angioedema if occurs, the patient should not be given Zolpidem again. Angioedema if at all occurs, happens after taking the first dose or the subsequent doses.
Correct Ambien dosage should be done to avoid withdrawal side effects such as confusion, seizure, headache nausea, increased impulsivity.
Activities which require alert and attention such as driving or working on machines should be avoided. Ambien has “hangover” properties.
To avoid side-effect dose titration should be done over a prolonged period of time maybe for months. This will help to decrease withdrawal symptoms. Few practitioners opt for longer acting benzodiazepine equivalents in place of Ambien and then gradual dose titration is done.
In severe cases of drug dependence and drug abuse, the patient has to be hospitalized. The inpatient is then detoxicated using flumazenil to get rid of zolpidem drug dependence or addiction.