What should I know about Ambien?

One of the well-known and widely prescribed sleep aid medications that are prescribed for treating insomnia conditions is Ambien. It has a place in the class of medication known as sedative-hypnotics. It is available in two forms, an immediate release tablet and an extended-release tablet. The former is prescribed to help you fall asleep while the latter is prescribed to help you stay asleep without frequent night awakenings. The dodge form will be recommended by your physician and should be taken for the prescribed duration. 


What should I know before taking Ambien?

  • If the medication is not suitable for your conditions it may react adversely by causing allergic reactions. Breathing difficulties, hives, and swelling of the lips, face, and throat are some of the commonly experienced allergic reactions and if immediate medical attention is not given, can elevate to something serious.
  • Do not recommend this medication to your friend or neighbors, the ones prescribed for you are based on the assessment of your condition so recommending them to your friend is not advisable. 
  • Ambien is known to cause cognitive impairment, so if you have taken Ambien previously you might avoid performing activities that require your concentration and avoid unnecessary accidents. Wait until you are completely awake and alert before you proceed to do your day’s activities. 
  • Do not increase the Ambien dosage amounts without consultation and never take the medication for longer than necessary
  • Not be taken if you have consumed alcohol


What should I know before I start taking Ambien?

  • It is to be kept in mind that Ambien can cause people to experience parasomnia. This is a condition where they do activities like driving vehicles, walking, or cooking while still asleep and have no recollection of these events or the following activities. If you experience such conditions it is wise to consult your doctor who might recommend a reduced dosage or an alternative.
  • Some of the components of the medication, especially Zolpidem are known to cause allergic reactions in some. 
  • Ambien is not suitable for those having lactose intolerance. Use caution if you are sensitive to lactose. 
  • This medication is not approved for use on children below the age of 18. 
  • Further caution should be exercised by those
  • Who’s had a history of depression, mental illness, or suicidal thoughts
  • Have breathing problems or issues in the lungs
  • Are addicted to drugs or alcohol
  • Have sleep apnea problems
  • Renal and hepatic issues


Consult your doctor about the use of this medication during your pregnancy, especially in the 3rd trimester. Taking this pill during that time is known to cause withdrawal effects in your child such as extreme drowsiness and breathing problems.

Do not breastfeed while taking Ambien as the components of the drug [based on the child can have adverse reactions. 


What is the right way to take Ambien?

  • Ambien should be taken exactly as recommended by your doctor. Follow carefully the instructions of your doctors and stick religiously to the dosage regimen
  • The dosage amounts may vary in both men and women and is strictly not recommended for children
  • The pills come along with a medication guide. Read all the information related to the pills carefully before you start to use them. If you have any doubts or clarification consult your doctor or pharmacist immediately
  • Taking the medication for a duration longer than necessary can cause addiction. This can cause the patient to misuse them to  become tolerant of the medication
  • Do not sell or give away the medications as it is against the law
  • Misuse of Ambien can cause dangerous adverse effects that can be life-threatening
  • Do not take Ambien unless you have a sufficient sleep about 7-8 hrs and if you still feel drowsy after that do not perform any activities
  • It is a short term prescription medication and if your condition does not improve after the recommended period consult your doctor, do not self medicate, and take doses higher than necessary
  • Usage of this drug in high doses for a long time can cause withdrawal effects when you stop taking it, under such circumstances, your doctor will taper the dosage amounts and gradually reduce them unless you no experience the withdrawal effects
  • Your insomnia may worsen after you have stopped the usage of Ambien and that is quite normal. If there is no improvement you can talk to your doctor about it. 
  • Do not break or crush the medication


Ambien Overdose:

Ambien overdose can be fatal and if immediate medical help is not given it can even lead to coma and death. The symptoms of Ambien overdose are confusion, shallow breathing, and lightheadedness. Fainting, and extreme sleepiness. Taking the medication along with other drugs or alcohol can worsen the condition further. 

Do not wake up unless you have slept off the medication. Waking up suddenly can cause memory issues and not having adequate sleep can make you feel dizzy and drowsy the following day. Do not operate machinery or drive vehicles if you are not alert. 


Ambien side effects:

The side effects of Ambien are based on the dosage amounts that you have taken and the duration. First-time users may feel mild adverse effects that tend to go away once the body gets used to the medication. Report any unusual experiences such as depression, hallucinations, anxiety, and aggression that occur after you have taken the medication. The physical side effects of Ambien are sharp pain in the chest, breathing difficulty, and always on the verge of becoming unconscious. 

The sedative effects of the medication are more pronounced in elderly patients due to their slow metabolic activities. 

The complete list of side effects is not given here. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details about the medication and hope it works for you. 


Can I take other medications while taking Ambien?

Ambien can either interact with other medications or reduce their effectiveness. Never combine this sleep aid with any anti-depressants or opioids as it increases the risk of side effects. Caution should be exercised when taking vitamins, herbals, and other substances while under Ambien therapy. Provide a complete list of your medication to your doctor so that you can get the appropriate suggestion.