Ambien is a sedative that is used in many different medical conditions but is most often seen in Insomnia and difficulty sleeping. It is also known as Zolpidem and is also known as a hypnotic medication.

Ambien is intended to help individuals to fall asleep sooner and stay asleep longer. It can be taken by oral tablets that are swallowed or sublingual tablets that are placed under the tongue.

It most cases, it is recommended that the individual receiving counseling and have tried behavioral changes prior to starting Ambien. In the United States, it was first approved for medical use in 1992 and it was available in generic form in 2007.

Ambien is a Schedule IV controlled substance. It is one of the most commonly used medications in the United States.


Ambien is intended for short-term usage which is about 2 to 6 weeks. It can improve sleep quality, decrease the time to fall asleep, and lengthen the time asleep.


Don’t take if you have the following:

1.)  Sleep Apnea
2.)  Myasthenia Gravis
3.)  Severe Liver Disease
4.)  Respiratory Depression
5.)  Severe Psychotic Illness
6.)  Children
7.)  If you currently are or have been addicted to other substances

****  Be careful to avoid driving while taking Ambien.  Avoid in children and the Elderly. Older people have a greater sensitivity to the medication and greater impairment to function can be seen.


Category C – this means that it is recommended during pregnancy only if the benefits outweigh the risks.

Side Effects

–  Fatigue
–  Drowsiness
–  Lethargy
–  Dizziness
–  Abnormal dreams
–  Diarrhea
–  Constipation
–  Dry Mouth
–  Headache
–  Others

**** Residual “Hangover” sensation is often reported. This includes sleepiness, impaired motor, and psychomotor and cognitive function has been seen.  This is a result of the hypnotic medication of Ambien.

Tolerance, Dependence, Withdrawal

There is an increased risk of dependency and withdrawal when taking this medication and stopping.

Tolerance is when a medication at a lower dose, no longer helps, and a greater dose is required

Abrupt withdrawal may cause several symptoms and problems – especially if high doses were being used.

In rare cases, a benzodiazepine is given to help the withdrawal process.

Alcohol has a cross-tolerance and therefore, alcoholics or recovering alcoholics may be at increased risk of abusing Ambien. The same can be said about those abusing or with long-term use of Opioids.


When an accidental or purposeful overdose of these medications occurs – emergency medical personal should be notified. This may include Emergency Room.

Overdosing can lead to coma and/or death in some cases.  A medication called Flumazenil can be used to reverse some effects of an overdose.