Ambien (Zolpidem) Side Effects, Downsides & Tips

Zolpidem, also known as Ambien, is a medication that is used to treat sleeping disorders such as insomnia. It belongs to a group of sedative drugs that are known as hypnotics. What this medication does is that it affects the natural chemicals that are present in the brain and balances them out. It helps by calming down the nervous system and helps in relieving stress.

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This medication helps you in falling asleep faster and allows you to get a good night sleep. Ambien is usually used for a limited period and is often used in adults to treat various sleeping issues especially insomnia.

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Side Effects

Ambien, just like any other drug, has many side effects. However, understand that there must be a reason why your doctor has prescribed you this drug. The benefits of this drugs must outweigh the side effects for your doctor to have prescribed you this medication after all. Following are some of the side effects that one experiences while taking this drug.

Minor Side Effects

Some minor side effects associated with using this drug include:

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling drugged and lightheadedness
  • Loss of coordination
  • Stuffy nose
  • Dry mouth
  • Nose and throat irritation
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Muscle pain

 

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Major Side Effects

Some more severe side effects of using this drug include

  • Memory loss
  • Mental changes (depression, thoughts of suicide, hallucinations, etc.)
  • Chest pain trouble breathing
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Feeling short of breath
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Allergic reaction

In some rare cases, people have unconsciously sleepwalked, made calls, had sex, cooked food and did other activities, and when woken up had no recollection of doing them at all.

How to use Ambien?

Before using this medication, make sure to follow all of the directions given to you by your doctor. This medication to be taken orally, take it on an empty stomach about once every night. Since this drug works immediately, go to bed as soon as you take the medicine. You must not take this medication with food as it will lose its effectiveness and won’t work. Make sure that when you’re taking this medication, you get up to 7 to 8 hours of sleep. If you wake up before that, you will experience memory loss and may find it difficult to do any work, especially one that requires you to stay alert.

The dose prescribed to you depends on your age, gender, condition and your response to the treatment. Do not take more than 10 milligrams of this medication per day. Older adults are prescribed lower dosage to decrease the risk of side effects. Do not increase the dosage without asking your doctor and do not use this medication for a prolonged time.

Also, do not stop using this medication suddenly as you might experience withdrawal symptoms as well. This drug can cause addiction and should be monitored when used by someone who suffers from substance abuse. You will have trouble falling asleep for a day or two after taking this medication; however, it’ll soon get better.

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Precautions

With every medication, you must be on the lookout to prevent any mishap from happening. You need to be aware of certain things. Also, there are certain medical conditions, and to ensure your health and safety if you suffer from any of them you must inform your doctor beforehand. Following are some of the conditions that you must inform your doctor about.

  • Allergies
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Mental problems (depression, anxiety, thoughts of suicide)
  • Substance use disorder
  • A family history of sleepwalking
  • Breathing problems
  • Blurred vision
  • Muscle disease (myasthenia gravis)

 

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This drug makes you sleepy hence you must not consume alcohol or marijuana when taking this medication. Limit your alcohol and marijuana usage while you’re taking this medication.

Older adults may experience severe dizziness, increasing their chances of falling.

Pregnant women, as well as nursing mothers, must not take this medication as it can have harmful effects on the baby.