Ambien is a sleeping pill for adults. Prescribed to eliminate insomnia (temporary and situational), inability to sleep, and early and night awakenings.
The drug is a hypnotic belonging to the group of imidazopyridines. The main component is the substance zolpidem. Its activity is similar to benzodiazepines. In addition to hypnotic and sedative effects, it also has muscle relaxant, anxiolytic, anticonvulsant, and amnestic. The mechanism is achieved through an agonistic effect on benzodiazepine nerve endings of types 1 and 2.
The substance reduces the time it takes to fall asleep, eliminates night awakenings (or significantly reduces their number), extends the period of uninterrupted sleep, and improves the quality of its phases.
After penetration into the body, zolpidem is quickly absorbed.
Mode of application
Ambien should be taken according to the instructions for use shortly before going to bed or while already in bed.
It is recommended to start therapy with the smallest amount of Ambien. The maximum daily dosage, which must not be exceeded, is 10 mg. The medication is taken once a day; repeated use during the night is prohibited.
- Children and teenagers
Since the effect of a sedative and hypnotic drug on the children’s body has not yet been fully studied, it is prohibited for use in pediatrics. Ambien can only be taken by patients over 18 years of age.
- Elderly patients
For patients over 65 years of age and debilitated patients, the recommended dose is 5 mg per day since they usually tolerate the effects of zolpidem extremely sensitively. The daily maximum of medication is 10 mg.
How to come off Ambien
If the drug is used occasionally over several days, gradual withdrawal is not required. It should be done after long-term use of Ambien to avoid zolpidem rebound syndrome. In this case, the doctor prescribes a regimen according to which the daily dosage is gradually reduced to minimum values. After this, stop taking sleeping pills.
During pregnancy and breastfeeding
Animal studies have not revealed any negative teratogenic effects of zolpidem on fetal development. Despite this, Ambien should not be used during pregnancy during the first three months of pregnancy. From the 2nd trimester, medication can be prescribed if there are serious reasons for it.
If the drug is prescribed to a woman of childbearing age or intending to become a mother, she should be informed that she must consult with her doctor about stopping the use of Ambien if she plans or suspects pregnancy.
Prescribing Ambien is possible only in cases of serious need when there is no alternative to the drug. In this case, it is necessary to analyze the balance of benefit and harm for the mother and fetus/child.
Contraindications and precautions
Ambien should not be used if:
- Acute and/or severe respiratory dysfunction
- Sleep apnea
- Chronic or acute form of liver dysfunction
- First trimester of pregnancy and breastfeeding
- Under 18 years of age
- Congenital form of galactosemia, lack of lactase in the body, GG malabsorption syndrome.
- Relative contraindications for which prescription and treatment are carried out with great caution:
- Severe form of pseudoparalytic myasthenia
- Liver pathologies
- Chronic alcohol dependence (also for drug addiction, etc.).
Side effects and overdose
The intensity of the body’s negative reaction depends on the dosage taken and individual characteristics. Most often, it manifests itself in depression of the central nervous system. Elderly patients are especially susceptible to adverse reactions.
- NS: drowsiness, headaches, dizziness, anterograde amnesia, increased sleep disturbances, disorders of consciousness, hallucinations, nightmares, agitated state, confusion, increased nervousness, delirium, irascibility, somnambulism, behavior changes
- Common disorders: unsteady gait, drug addiction, falls
- Visual organs: double vision
- Respiratory system: depression of respiratory function
- Gastrointestinal tract: diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting
- Skin: rash, increased sweating, urticaria, itching
- Immune system: Quincke’s edema
- Liver: enzyme activation
- Locomotor system: back pain, muscle weakness.
Taking overdoses of Ambien in combination with other drugs that depress the central nervous system leads to disturbances of consciousness, including coma and death.
The instructions prohibit taking Ambien simultaneously with other sleeping pills. You should also take into account other undesirable effects that may occur during a simultaneous course with other medications.
It is strictly forbidden to take zolpidem with alcohol and alcohol-containing medications since this combination increases the sedative and hypnotic effect.