Zolpidem is sold as Ambien and it is used for short-term treatment of sleeping problems in adults. If you find it difficult to fall asleep, this drug can help you out so that you can fall asleep faster. So, it can effectively treat insomnia in adults. Zolpidem belongs to a class of drugs called hypnotics or sedatives.
How to use Zolpidem
As mentioned earlier, Zolpidem is used for treating insomnia in adults. Individuals that have problems falling asleep will find it helpful. It is classified as a sedative-hypnotic and should only be used by adults.
The drug carries out its activity on the brain and causes calmness on the nerves, thereby enabling you to fall asleep. While the drug is effective, you should only use it on a short-term basis; you should not use it for more than 1 or two weeks or even less.
The package comes with a Patient Information Leaflet. Make sure you go through it before you start taking the drug. In case you are confused by any of the details in the leaflet, do not hesitate to consult your pharmacist or doctor for clarification.
Zolpidem is to be taken orally. And you should take it on an empty stomach once daily, preferably at night. The drug works very fast and you can start feeling sleepy moments after taking it. As a result of this, you should take it shortly before bedtime. You should avoid taking it with a meal or after a meal since this can prevent it from working fast.
How long does the drug act?
You should be ready to spare 7 to 8 hours for sleep when taking this drug. Consequently, it is not a drug for a few minutes or a few hours of sleep. If you sleep for less than 7 to 8 hours after taking this drug, you may wake up with memory loss. Sleeping for fewer hours after taking Zolpidem can also negatively affect your alertness and you should avoid operating machinery or driving.
The following factors can determine the right dosage to take:
- Your gender
- Underlying medical conditions
- Other medications you are already taking
The doctor will consider these factors before prescribing a particular dose for you.
You should avoid increasing the dose too frequently and make sure you consult the doctor before ever-increasing dosage. The dosages must not be more than 10mg per day. The dose is usually lower in women than men since women metabolize the drug more slowly than men. Older adults too should take lower doses since a higher dose can increase the risk of side effects.
Before you start using the drug, let your doctor know if you have an allergic reaction to the drug or any other thing. You should also let your doctor know if you have any of the following:
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Mood problem
- History of substance use
- Family history of sleepwalking or breathing problems
- Myasthenia gravis
If you sleep for less than 7 to 8 hours after taking the drug, you may be alert after waking up but you will be unable to think clearly or drive. It may also cause blurred vision, double vision, or dizziness. You should also avoid alcohol.
If you are pregnant, you should only use the drug if it is necessary; your doctor or pharmacist can tell you if you can use it in pregnancy or not. If you use the drug in the last 3 months of your pregnancy, your baby may end up with the following conditions after birth:
- Withdrawal symptoms
- Unusual limpness
- Trouble breathing
- Unusual sleepiness
Nursing mothers should also not use the drug since it can be passed into the baby through breast milk, leading to unwanted effects on the baby, like unusual limpness, unusual sleepiness, and trouble breathing.
Sodium oxybate can interact with Zolpidem. Some other drugs that can affect how the drug works in the body are:
- John’s Wort
- Azole antifungals
Taking Opioid, codeine, hydrocodone, alcohol, or marijuana with this drug can cause breathing problems or drowsiness.
Other drugs that can interact with Zolpidem are antihistamines, muscle relaxants, and anxiolytic drugs.
How to manage Zolpidem overdose
Overdose usually leads to a very serious problem. The individual may have trouble breathing or even pass out. When such happens, contact the doctor immediately.
Many of the patients taking Zolpidem do not come down with any serious side effects.
Zolpidem can lead to dizziness. You should not hesitate to contact your doctor if the side effect persists for a long time or worsens.
You may also suffer from daytime drowsiness when taking this drug. You should discuss this with your doctor.
Some other side effects worthy of note are:
- Memory loss
- Behavioral or mood change.
- Aggressive behavior
- Suicide thoughts
- Allergic reactions like swelling, itching, and rash on the throat, tongue, and face respectively
- Severe dizziness
- Troubled breathing
The allergic reaction is a very rare side effect
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