Ambien

Generic Name: Zolpidem

  • What is this medication and its most common uses?

    Ambien is a medicine used for the short-term treatment of insomnia, specifically for people who have trouble falling asleep.

    Ambien is a federally controlled substance because it has abuse potential.

  • What should I know when beginning and continuing on this medication?

    How does this medication work?

    Ambien works by decreasing the time it takes you to fall asleep and the number of awakenings you have during the night, thereby increasing your time asleep.

    What are the beneficial effects of this medication and when should I begin to have results?

    What: Ambien may help you fall asleep faster.

    When: For most patients, Ambien acts quickly and therefore should be taken right before you get into bed and only if you have 7-8 hours to devote to sleep. It is important that you take Ambien exactly as your healthcare provider has prescribed. If your insomnia gets worse or is not better within 7 to 10 days, call your healthcare provider as this may mean that there is another condition causing your sleep problems.

    How do I know it is working?

    If you are able to fall asleep faster than you normally would, Ambien is likely working effectively. Your healthcare provider may ask you questions from time to time to assess your sleep pattern.

  • What are the possible side effects of this medication?

    The following is not a full list of side effects. Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Only your healthcare provider can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this medication.

    More common side effects may include: diarrhea, dizziness, drowsiness, drugged feeling.

    Less common side effects may include:

    Mental and physical dependence can occur. Keep Ambien in a safe place to prevent misuse and abuse. Selling or giving away Ambien can harm others, and is against the law.

    Serious allergic reactions with symptoms such as swelling of your tongue or throat; trouble breathing or swallowing; or nausea and vomiting.

    Getting up out of bed while not being fully awake and engaging in activities that you do not know you are doing (such as driving a car ["sleep driving"], making and eating food, talking on the phone, having sex, or sleep-walking).

    Abnormal thoughts and behavior with symptoms such as being more outgoing than usual, increased aggressiveness, confusion, agitation, hallucinations, anxiety, worsening of your depression, or suicidal thoughts or actions.

  • Who should not take this medication?

    Do not take Ambien if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients.

  • What should I tell my healthcare provider before I take the first dose of this medication?

    Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Ambien. Also, talk to your healthcare provider about your complete medical history, especially if you have kidney or liver disease, lung disease, or breathing problems (such as sleep apnea [stopping breathing temporarily during sleep] or myasthenia gravis [a disease characterized by long-lasting fatigue and muscle weakness]); have ever abused or have been addicted to alcohol, prescription medicines, or street drugs; or if you have a history of depression, mental illness, or suicidal thoughts.

  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your healthcare provider uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your healthcare provider may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your healthcare provider's approval.

    Adults: The recommended starting dose is 5 milligrams (mg) for women and either 5 or 10 mg for men, once a day right before bedtime.

    If you are elderly or have liver impairment, your healthcare provider may adjust your dose appropriately.

  • How should I take this medication?

    Take Ambien exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not change your dose or stop taking Ambien without first talking to your healthcare provider.

    Take Ambien right before you get into bed and only if you are able to stay in bed for a full night (7-8 hours) before you must be active again.

    Do not take Ambien with or right after a meal. Ambien may help you fall asleep faster if you take it on an empty stomach.

  • What should I avoid while taking this medication?

    Do not take Ambien if you drank alcohol that evening or before bed, or if you took another medicine to help you sleep.

    Do not drive or engage in other activities that require complete alertness after taking Ambien until you feel fully awake.

  • What are the possible food and drug interactions associated with this medication?

    If Ambien is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your healthcare provider before combining Ambien with the following: alcohol, chlorpromazine, imipramine, ketoconazole, rifampin, or sertraline.

  • May I receive this medication if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    The effects of Ambien during pregnancy are unknown. Ambien can be found in your breast milk if you take it while breastfeeding. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of this medication?

    Ambien should be taken under special circumstances determined by your healthcare provider. If you miss your scheduled dose, contact your healthcare provider or pharmacist for advice.

  • How should I store this medication?

    Store at room temperature.

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