How Effective and Safe is Ambien in Treating Insomnia?

How Does Ambien Work in Treating Insomnia?

The sedative (or a hyptonic) which treats the chemical imbalance in the brain causing problems like sleeping disorders and insomnia is Ambien and is also known as Zolpidem.

Though the chemical structure of Zolpidem is different from the benzodiazepines, it works by enhancing the effects of the chemical transmitter GABA in the brain. Ambien is the trade name of Zolpidem.

How Effective is Ambien in Treating Insomnia?

How Effective is Ambien in Treating Insomnia?

Ambien and Ambien CR (Controlled Release) are mainly used to effectively treat insomnia. There are two layers to this medicine, the first layer dissolves and the immediate-release tablet makes you fall asleep. The second layer helps to keep to asleep. The form of Ambien which is required for you shall be prescribed by the doctor to you.

You should keep in mind that Ambien has a long lasting effect. If you are a woman or you have taken Ambien CR, the extended –release tablet, you may feel sleepy or drowsy even after waking up. It usually takes 4 hours after waking up to be reasonably alert again. It may make you fall asleep very soon and will keep you asleep for a long time.

  • Food delays speed of effect so Ambien will work faster if not taken with food.
  • For a faster result, take Ambien when you are empty stomach.
  • Never take the medicine with alcohol or immediately before going to bed.
  • Ambien CR helps in sleep initiation and keeps you asleep. Do not consume the formulation by crushing or chewing it.
  • Avoid driving the next day after you have taken a high dose of Ambien since it causes slight impairment.
  • There is no clear demonstration on the effects of this medicine on children so it should not be given to kids.
  • The medicine is recommended if used for a short time span. If your sleeplessness worsens after taking Ambien inform your doctor.

Response and effectiveness of Ambien is excellent. Usually Ambien or Controlled Release Ambien (Ambien CR) takes 0.5 to 1 hour to kick in and function. If taken after food, the process delays. The medicine is 2 layered, the 1st one helps you fall asleep and the 2nd layer keeps you stay asleep.

How Safe is Ambien in Treating Insomnia?

  • The use of the drug ambien is safe but it should not be taken when you are on any other medication. The usual range of side effects on the patients are:
    Shortness of breath.
  • Lack of strength to hold the body up. You may feel drowsy and not stable enough to stand.
  • To avoid any kind of accident, do not drive and work on open machines while you are on this medication.
  • Drowsiness and unsteadiness on standing, drugged feeling, light-headedness, headache, dizziness, an increased risk of falls.
  • If you plan to sleep at least 8 hours, then only take in Ambien CR.
  • Do not share the pill with any other person to avoid illness in them. Also keep dosage as prescribed. Prevent yourself of making it a habit.

Side Effects of Ambien

There is a risk of developing severe allergies like hives, breathlessness, unwanted swelling in your face, tongue, lips or throat. In that case stop taking the medication and visit the doctor and get medical assistance immediately. You should never share Ambien that has been prescribed to you even if you see that the symptoms of the other person are similar to you.

Always remember that the dosage of this medication vary from person to person and also vary for men and women. Children are never prescribed Ambien. To avoid serious side effects never share the medication unless he or she is prescribed the same dosage.

There can be occurrences that you may not remember while you are on this medicine. While taking the medicine, you might be driving; talking, eating and afterwards you might not remember the occurrences of such incidents. In such case, stop taking Ambien immediately and inform your doctor about it so that he or she can prescribe some other medicine for insomnia. Keep the medicine away from the reach of others. Also do not take it while you are going to bed or while you are consuming alcohol.

As spoken earlier, you might develop serious allergic reaction like swelling of lips, throat or face, find difficulty in breathing and hives. You are suggested to stop the medication immediately and consult a doctor. Other more dangerous side effects can be loss of memory, hallucinations, and memory problems, change in personality where you can get prone to risks. You can also develop self-harm and suicidal tendencies, depressions. Some of the other physical side effects are:

  • Shortness of breath, chest pain and increase in heartbeat rate,
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Feeling of passing out.
  • In such cases too, stop the medication and contact your doctor.
  • Common Ambien side effects may include:
  • Pain in the muscles, head ache
  • Tiredness, blocking of nose, dry mouth, itchiness in throat
  • Light-headiness, dizziness, nausea.
  • Losing co-ordination
  • Bowel disorders.


Even though Ambien effectively induces sleep in the patient, it is definitive to create a drowsy effect in him or her the next day. He or she may even sleep-drive or cause other disturbing behavioral patterns that are harmful for him or her. Also it can affect adversely if taken with alcohol.

Also Read:

Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 10, 2017

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