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Ambien is a frequently prescribed medication used to treat insomnia. It affects chemicals in the brain that may be unbalanced in people with sleep problems and insomnia. And it belongs to a class of medications called Sedative- hypotonic. It is the brand name of Zolpidem. It works on the brain to produce a calming effect.

Zolpidem works by activating the neurotransmitter GABA, which slows down the brain and the central nervous system (CNS). It is used to treat insomnia but is only intended for short-term use. It affects chemicals in the brain that may be unbalanced in people with sleep problems and insomnia. This works in the brain to produce a calming effect.

There are two forms of Ambien, a quick-release form that helps initiate sleep and an extended-release form that helps maintain sleep.

Ambien was first approved for medical use in the U.S.A. in 1992 and its generic form was discovered in 2007. It is the most commonly prescribed and used sleeping medication used in the U.S.A.

How To Take Ambien?

Ambien is taken exactly as prescribed by the doctor in the prescription. Any overdose or underdose or completely stopping it immediately can harm the health of a person. Ambien should not be shared with a healthy person as it may cause addiction and is illegal.

  • Read the medication guide before taking it.
  • Take it just before going to bed when you are ready to sleep.
  • Swallow the tablet whole. Do not try to crush or chew it.
  • It is always recommended to take the medicine on an empty stomach.
  • Do not take this medicine if you have drunk alcohol the same evening or just before bedtime.

Composition Of Ambien:

Each Ambien 6.25 mg contains zolpidem tartrate as the active ingredient and colloidal silicon dioxide, hypromellose, lactose monohydrate, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, polyethylene glycol, potassium bitartrate, red ferric oxide, sodium starch glycolate, and titanium dioxide as inactive ingredients.

Dosages Of Taking Ambien:

The dosages of Ambien are different for men and women.

Immediate Release Tablets:

For Adults:

  • Ambien 5 mg for women and  5-10 mg for men and the dose may be altered as per the requirement.
  • It is taken once a day before taking food.

For Older Adults:

  • 5 mg once a day at bedtime.
  • They can be changed according to the doctor.

Extended-Release Tablets:

For Adults:

  • 6.25 mg for women and 6.25 to 12.50 mg for men and the dose may be altered as per the requirement.
  • It is taken once a day before taking food.

For Older Adults:

  • 6.25 mg once a day at bedtime.
  • The dose can be altered by the doctor according to the requirement.


The method for storing Ambien is:

  • Keep the Ambien medication at room temperature.
  • Keep it away from light and moisture.
  • Do not store it in the bathroom.
  • Do not keep it inside the refrigerator.

Overdose And Missed Dose:

Every medicine should be taken according to the doctor’s prescription and it should be continued on a regular/daily basis. But if it is taken in an amount more than prescribed, it is termed an ‘overdose’; if it is not taken at any scheduled point, then it is termed a ‘missed dose’.


An overdose of any medication is dangerous to our health, so an overdose of Ambien also has some bad effects on our health. Overdose of Ambien leads to deep sleep from which you cannot be awakened, confusion, shallow breathing, feeling light-headed, fainting, several cardiovascular diseases, and coma.

Missed Dose:

Taking medicine at an improper time and irregularly leads to a missed dose. People after missing a dose usually take a double dose which leads to an overdose. In case you miss a dose, do not panic. Take the dose immediately or continue with your regular dose or consult your doctor.

Side Effects Of Using Ambien:

Ambien is a variant of sleeping pills. As all sleeping pills have side effects, Ambien has. It has both common and serious side effects.

Common Side Effects:

The common side effects are:

  • Hives
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Swelling in face, tongue, lips, and throat.
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Tired feeling
  • Loss of coordination
  • Stuffy nose
  • Dry mouth
  • Irritation in the nose and throat
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhoea
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain

Serious Side Effects:

The serious side effects are:

  • Memory loss
  • Mood and behavior change
  • Depression
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Hallucination
  • Confusion
  • Agitation
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Anxiety
  • Chest pain
  • Irregular and fast heartbeat
  • Short breathing

Alternative For Ambien:

There are both natural and medicinal alternatives for Ambien.

Natural Alternatives:

The natural alternatives are:

  • Valerian root
  • Melatonin
  • Chamomile

Medicinal Alternatives:

The medicinal alternatives are:

Precautions While Taking Ambien:

Patients suffering from insomnia need to take some precautions before taking Ambien. These are:

  • Test whether you are allergic to Ambien or any other sleeping pills.
  • Describe both your physician and mental history before the doctor.
  • Tell your doctor if you were drug abused in the past as Ambien is habit-forming.
  • Test whether you have any kidney disease, liver disease, glaucoma, lung/ breathing problems, or mental disorder.
  • As drowsiness is one of its side effects, one should not drive, should not operate any machine, or do any serious work as it can be dangerous.
  • Using Ambien while pregnant can harm your unborn baby.
  • Breastfeeding mothers are advised first to consult a doctor and follow the advice.

Other Food And Medicine Interactions:

One should make it clear to the doctor if he/she is taking any other medicines before the doctor prescribes Ambien as it can be dangerous if some specific medicines are taken with it.

Medicine Interaction:

Medicines that should not be taken with Ambien are:

  • Sodium Oxybate
  • Ketoconazole
  • Rifampin
  • Gabapentin
  • Lisinopril
  • Metoprolol

Food And Beverage Interaction:

The food items and beverages which should not be taken with Ambien are:

  • Cannabis
  • Alcohol
  • Alcohol causes drowsiness. So taking alcohol along with Ambien can cause severe drowsiness, dizziness, tiredness, and body imbalance.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Why Ambien is preferred to Restoril?

Ambien is preferred to Restoril as research says that Ambien has been shown to be significantly better at reducing the number of awakenings after falling asleep. This is the reason that makes Ambien preferable over Restoril.

Is Ambien Habit-Forming?

As Ambien is Sedative in nature, it is obviously habit-forming in nature. But you can control it with your thoughts and by using the medicine in a regular way.