Zolpidem is in a class of drugs called sedative/ hypnotics or sleep medications. Zolpidem affects chemicals in your brain that may become unbalanced and cause insomnia.
Zolpidem induces sleep and causes relaxation. It is used to treat sleep disorders such as trouble falling asleep, waking up many times during the night, or waking up too early in the morning. Zolpidem is for short-term use only usually 7 to 10 days. Longer-term use must be monitored closely by a doctor.
Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you have the following conditions:
a. kidney disease
b. liver disease
c. asthma, bronchitis, emphysema or other respiratory disease
d. depressed or have suicidal thoughts
You may not be able to take zolpidem, or you may require a lower dose or special monitoring during treatment if you have any of the conditions listed above.
Zolpidem is in the FDA pregnancy category B. This means that it is unlikely to harm an unborn baby. Do not take zolpidem without first talking to your doctor if you are pregnant or could become pregnant during treatment. Zolpidem passes into breast milk and may affect a nursing baby. Do not take this medication without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby. Patients who are over 60 years of age, may be more likely to experience side effects from zolpidem. Hence, these age group may require a lower dose of this medication. Zolpidem is not approved by the FDA for use by children younger than 18 years of age.
Symptoms of a zolpidem overdose may include sleepiness, confusion, dizziness, difficult or slow breathing, and unconsciousness. Seek emergency consult if you have any of these symptoms.
What should I avoid while taking zolpidem?
a. Use caution when driving, operating machinery, or performing other hazardous activities. Zolpidem will cause drowsiness and dizziness. Zolpidem should be taken just before bedtime. You may experience some carryover effects the next day.
b. Do not drink alcohol while taking zolpidem. Alcohol will increase drowsiness and dizziness while you are taking zolpidem, which could be dangerous.
c. Avoid other sedatives, sleeping pills, antihistamines, pain relievers, muscle
relaxants and tranquilizers, including over-the-counter preparations which could potentiate the effects of zolpidem.
Stop taking zolpidem and seek emergency medical attention if you have these serious side effects: an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, face, or tongue; hives); or hallucinations, abnormal behavior, or severe confusion.
You may continue to take zolpidem but talk to your doctor if you experience these less serious side effects: headache, drowsiness, dizziness, or clumsiness; nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation; depression; muscle aches or pains; vivid or abnormal dreams; or amnesia (memory loss).
A problem that may occur when sleep medicines are stopped is known as "rebound insomnia." This means that a person may have more trouble sleeping the first few nights after the medicine is stopped than before starting the medicine. If you should experience rebound insomnia, do not get discouraged. This problem usually goes away on its own.
Zolpidem is habit forming. Do not stop taking zolpidem suddenly if you have been taking it for more than 1 or 2 weeks. This may cause withdrawal symptoms and make you uncomfortable. Talk to your doctor if you need to stop treatment with zolpidem.
Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Tell your doctor about all medicines, prescribed or over-the-counter including vitamins, herbal products that you are taking, and do not take any medicine unless your doctor approves.
Zolpidem tartrate, is a non-benzodiazepine hypnotic of the imidazopyridine class and is available in 5 mg and 10 mg strength tablets for oral administration. Chemically, zolpidem is N,N,6-trimethyl-2-p-toyl-imidazo(1,2,-a)pyridine-3-acetamide L-(+)-tartrate (2:1). Each Ambien tablet includes the following inactive ingredients: hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, lactose, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, polyethylene glycol, sodium starch glycolate, titanium dioxide; the 5 mg tablet also contains FD&C Red No. 40, iron oxide colorant, and polysorbate 80.
Zolpidem has the following structural formula: