Ambien is a highly potent sleep medication that contains the active ingredient Zolpidem. The sedative and hypnotic effects of the drug are suitable for treating insomnia and other sleep disorders. The Ambien medication is a non-benzodiazepine that falls under schedule IV drug class. This prescription sleep drug is used only for the short term and when the condition is severe.

How does Ambien work?

The way to use Ambien is to take it in a way that will help to restore the sleep-wake cycle. This is because the sleep medication does not cure the condition itself but can be used to bring back the sleep cycle to normal. The drug works by binding with the GABA receptors and enhancing its effects to induce sleepiness. It begins to work in less than 15 minutes after taking the dose with peak effects lasting for about two to three hours.

Ambien dosage

Ambien can be taken as either immediate release compressed tablets or as extended release capsules. The tablets come in 5mg and 10mg dosage strengths, which the Ambien CR capsules are available in 6.25mg and 12.5mg strengths. The dose that is recommended for women is 5mg. This may be increased according to the response to the drug and also the severity of the condition.

What is the way to take Ambien effectively?

The Ambien drug is best used with the help of the healthcare provider. Take the prescribed dose only when you are ready for bed as it would start to take effect immediately. Ensure that you have enough sleep time available of at least seven or eight hours. Do not use the drug in high doses or for longer than prescribed else you may easily develop tolerance and dependence. Get the doctor’s help while discontinuing Ambien to prevent any potential withdrawal symptoms.


  • Do not take the sleep drug if you are allergic to Zolpidem.
  • The drug should not be consumed if you have had alcohol before bedtime.
  • Avoid doing any tasks that may require your full concentration as there can be daytime drowsiness.
  • Inform the doctor of all existing health issues, particularly if you having breathing troubles.
  • Notify the doctor if you are expecting a baby or currently breastfeeding.
  • The sleeping pills should not be taken by anyone below the age of 18.
  • Do not share the drug with any person not prescribed for it even if the symptoms are similar.

Side effects

Common side effects:

  • Tiredness
  • Loss of coordination
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Daytime drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Stuffy nose

Severe side effects

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Mood swings
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Trouble with memory
  • Hallucinations
  • Feeling like passing out
  • Trouble breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Behavioral changes

Other drug interactions

There is the possibility for Ambien to easily interact with other sleep drugs, narcotic painkillers, antidepressants, anxiety medications, anticonvulsants, prescription cough medicine, and muscle relaxants. Check with the doctor before simultaneously using other drugs, even if they are just vitamins, herbal supplements, or over the counter pills.


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