Description and Brand Names

Drug information provided by: IBM Micromedex

US Brand Name

  1. Ambien
  2. Ambien CR

Descriptions


Zolpidem is used to treat insomnia (trouble sleeping). It belongs to the group of medicines called central nervous system (CNS) depressants, which slows down the nervous system. Zolpidem will help you get to sleep faster and sleep throughout the night. In most cases, sleep medicines should only be used for short periods of time, such as 1 or 2 days, and for no longer than 1 or 2 weeks.

This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription.

This product is available in the following dosage forms:

  • Tablet
  • Tablet, Extended Release
  • Spray

Before Using

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:

Allergies

Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.

Pediatric

Use of zolpidem is not recommended in children. Safety and efficacy have not been established.

Geriatric

Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of zolpidem in the elderly. However, elderly patients are more sensitive to the effects of this medicine (eg, confusion, dizziness, and falling) than younger adults.

Breastfeeding

There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.

Drug Interactions

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking this medicine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.

  • Calcium Oxybate
  • Magnesium Oxybate
  • Potassium Oxybate
  • Sodium Oxybate

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Abametapir
  • Acepromazine
  • Alfentanil
  • Alprazolam
  • Amobarbital
  • Anileridine
  • Aripiprazole
  • Aripiprazole Lauroxil
  • Asenapine
  • Baclofen
  • Benperidol
  • Benzhydrocodone
  • Boceprevir
  • Bromazepam
  • Bromopride
  • Buprenorphine
  • Buspirone
  • Butabarbital
  • Butorphanol
  • Cannabidiol
  • Carbinoxamine
  • Carisoprodol
  • Carphenazine
  • Ceritinib
  • Cetirizine
  • Chloral Hydrate
  • Chlordiazepoxide
  • Chlorpromazine
  • Chlorzoxazone
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Clarithromycin
  • Clobazam
  • Clonazepam
  • Clorazepate
  • Clozapine
  • Cobicistat
  • Codeine
  • Conivaptan
  • Cyclobenzaprine
  • Daridorexant
  • Dexmedetomidine
  • Diacetylmorphine
  • Diazepam
  • Dichloralphenazone
  • Difenoxin
  • Dihydrocodeine
  • Diphenhydramine
  • Diphenoxylate
  • Doxylamine
  • Droperidol
  • Enflurane
  • Esketamine
  • Estazolam
  • Eszopiclone
  • Ethchlorvynol
  • Ethopropazine
  • Ethylmorphine
  • Fedratinib
  • Fentanyl
  • Fexinidazole
  • Flibanserin
  • Flumazenil
  • Flunitrazepam
  • Fluphenazine
  • Flurazepam
  • Fluspirilene
  • Fosnetupitant
  • Fospropofol
  • Gabapentin
  • Gabapentin Enacarbil
  • Halazepam
  • Haloperidol
  • Halothane
  • Hexobarbital
  • Hydrocodone
  • Hydromorphone
  • Hydroxyzine
  • Idelalisib
  • Indinavir
  • Isoflurane
  • Itraconazole
  • Ketamine
  • Ketazolam
  • Ketobemidone
  • Ketoconazole
  • Lemborexant
  • Levocetirizine
  • Levorphanol
  • Lofexidine
  • Lopinavir
  • Lorazepam
  • Loxapine
  • Meclizine
  • Melperone
  • Meperidine
  • Mephobarbital
  • Meprobamate
  • Meptazinol
  • Mesoridazine
  • Metaxalone
  • Methadone
  • Methdilazine
  • Methocarbamol
  • Methohexital
  • Methotrimeprazine
  • Methylene Blue
  • Metoclopramide
  • Midazolam
  • Molindone
  • Moricizine
  • Morphine
  • Morphine Sulfate Liposome
  • Nalbuphine
  • Nefazodone
  • Nelfinavir
  • Netupitant
  • Nicomorphine
  • Nitrazepam
  • Nitrous Oxide
  • Olanzapine
  • Opium
  • Opium Alkaloids
  • Orphenadrine
  • Oxazepam
  • Oxycodone
  • Oxymorphone
  • Papaveretum
  • Paregoric
  • Pentazocine
  • Pentobarbital
  • Perampanel
  • Perazine
  • Periciazine
  • Perphenazine
  • Phenobarbital
  • Pimozide
  • Piperacetazine
  • Pipotiazine
  • Piritramide
  • Posaconazole
  • Prazepam
  • Pregabalin
  • Primidone
  • Prochlorperazine
  • Promazine
  • Promethazine
  • Propofol
  • Quazepam
  • Quetiapine
  • Ramelteon
  • Remifentanil
  • Remimazolam
  • Remoxipride
  • Ritonavir
  • Ropeginterferon Alfa-2b-njft
  • Saquinavir
  • Scopolamine
  • Secobarbital
  • Sertindole
  • Sufentanil
  • Sulpiride
  • Tapentadol
  • Telaprevir
  • Telithromycin
  • Temazepam
  • Thiethylperazine
  • Thiopental
  • Thiopropazate
  • Thioridazine
  • Tilidine
  • Tizanidine
  • Tolonium Chloride
  • Topiramate
  • Tramadol
  • Trazodone
  • Triazolam
  • Trifluoperazine
  • Trifluperidol
  • Triflupromazine
  • Trimeprazine
  • Voriconazole
  • Zaleplon
  • Zopiclone
  • Zotepine

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Fluvoxamine
  • Rifampin
  • St John's Wort

Other Interactions

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.

Using this medicine with any of the following is usually not recommended, but may be unavoidable in some cases. If used together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use this medicine, or give you special instructions about the use of food, alcohol, or tobacco.

  • Ethanol

Other Medical Problems

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Alcohol abuse, history of or
  • Drug abuse or dependence, history of—Dependence on zolpidem may develop.
  • Depression, or history of or
  • Lung disease (eg, COPD) or other breathing problems or
  • Mental illness, history of or
  • Myasthenia gravis (muscle disease) or
  • Sleep apnea (breathing problems during sleep)—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
  • Kidney disease or
  • Liver disease—Use with caution. The effects may be increased because of slower removal of the medicine from the body.
  • Liver disease, severe—Use must be avoided in patients with this condition. May increase risk of developing encephalopathy (brain disease).

Proper Use

Take this medicine only as directed by your doctor. Do not take more of it, do not take it more often, and do not take it for a longer time than your doctor ordered. If too much is taken, it may become habit-forming (causing mental or physical dependence).

This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Read and follow the instructions carefully. Ask your doctor if you have any questions.

Take zolpidem just before going to bed, when you are ready to go to sleep or when you are having trouble falling asleep. This medicine works very quickly to put you to sleep.

Swallow the extended-release tablet whole. Do not divide, crush, or chew it.

Do not take this medicine when your schedule does not permit you to get a full night's sleep (7 to 8 hours). If you must wake up before this, you may continue to feel drowsy and may experience memory problems, because the effects of the medicine have not had time to wear off.

Take this medicine on an empty stomach. Do not take this medicine with food or right after a meal because it may not work as well.

Do not take this medicine if you have drank alcohol the same evening or just before bedtime.

Dosing

The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For treatment of insomnia (trouble sleeping):
    • For oral dosage form (extended-release tablets):
      • Adults—6.25 milligrams (mg) (for women) or 6.25 or 12.5 mg (for men) once a day at bedtime. Your doctor may increase your dose as needed. However, do not take more than 12.5 mg per day. Take only 1 dose a night as needed.
      • Older adults—6.25 mg once a day at bedtime.
      • Children—Use is not recommended.
    • For oral dosage form (tablets):
      • Adults—5 milligrams (mg) for women and 5 or 10 mg for men once a day at bedtime. Your doctor may increase your dose as needed. However, do not take more than 10 mg per day. Take only 1 dose a night as needed.
      • Older adults—5 mg once a day at bedtime.
      • Children—Use is not recommended.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose of this medicine, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.

Use this medicine only when you cannot sleep. You do not need to keep a schedule for taking it.

Storage

Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.

Keep out of the reach of children.

Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.

Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.

Precautions

It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure this medicine is working properly and to check for unwanted effects.

Using this medicine during the last 3 months of pregnancy can harm your newborn baby. Check with your doctor right away if your baby has pale or blue lips, fingernails, or skin, difficult or trouble breathing, excessive sleepiness, or limpness. Tell your doctor right away if you are pregnant or if you think you have become pregnant while using this medicine.

If you think you need to take zolpidem for more than 7 to 10 days, be sure to discuss it with your doctor. Insomnia that lasts longer than this may be a sign of another medical problem.

Zolpidem may cause serious allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis and angioedema, which can be life-threatening and require immediate medical attention. Call your doctor right away if you have a rash, itching, hives, trouble breathing or swallowing, or any swelling of your hands, face, mouth, or throat while you are using this medicine.

This medicine may cause you to do things while you are still asleep that you may not remember the next morning. It is possible you could drive a car, sleepwalk, have sex, make phone calls, or prepare and eat food while you are asleep or not fully awake. Tell your doctor right away if you learn that any of these has happened.

This medicine will add to the effects of alcohol and other central nervous system (CNS) depressants. CNS depressants are medicines that slow down the nervous system, which may cause drowsiness or make you less alert. Some examples of CNS depressants are antihistamines or medicine for hay fever, allergies, or colds, sedatives, tranquilizers, or sleeping medicine, prescription pain medicine or narcotics, barbiturates or medicine for seizures, muscle relaxants, or anesthetics (numbing medicines), including some dental anesthetics. This effect may last for a few days after you stop taking this medicine. Check with your doctor before taking any of the above while you are using this medicine.

This medicine may cause some people, especially older persons, to become drowsy, dizzy, lightheaded, clumsy or unsteady, or less alert than they are normally, which may lead to falls. Even though zolpidem is taken at bedtime, it may cause some people to feel drowsy or less alert on arising. Also, this medicine may cause double vision or other vision problems, or severe injuries (eg, hip fractures, severe bleeding in the head). Do not drive or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how this medicine affects you.

If you develop any unusual and strange thoughts or behavior while you are using zolpidem, be sure to discuss it with your doctor. Some changes that have occurred in people using this medicine are like those seen in people who drink alcohol and then act in a manner that is not normal. Other changes may be more unusual and extreme, such as confusion, worsening of depression, hallucinations (seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there), suicidal thoughts, and unusual excitement, nervousness, or irritability.

Do not change your dose or stop using it without first checking with your doctor. Your doctor may want you to gradually reduce the amount you are using before stopping completely. This may help prevent a worsening of your condition and reduce the possibility of withdrawal symptoms, including confusion as to time, place, or person, hallucinations, holding false beliefs that cannot be changed by fact, seizures, stomach or muscle cramps, tremors, unusual excitement, nervousness, or restlessness, or vomiting.

If you think you or someone else may have taken an overdose of this medicine, get emergency help at once. Taking an overdose of zolpidem or taking alcohol or other CNS depressants with zolpidem may lead to serious breathing problems (eg, respiratory depression) and unconsciousness. Symptoms of an overdose include: severe drowsiness, severe nausea or vomiting, staggering, and trouble breathing.

Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal (eg, St. John's wort) or vitamin supplements.

Side Effects

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

Less common

  1. Chest pain
  2. confusion about identity, place, and time
  3. discouragement
  4. false or unusual sense of well-being
  5. fast, irregular, pounding, or racing heartbeat or pulse
  6. feeling sad or empty
  7. fever
  8. general feeling of discomfort or illness
  9. irritability
  10. lack of appetite
  11. lightheadedness
  12. loss of interest or pleasure
  13. shakiness and unsteady walk
  14. trouble concentrating
  15. trouble sleeping
  16. unsteadiness, trembling, or other problems with muscle control or coordination
  17. unusual tiredness or weakness

Rare

  1. Anxiety
  2. attack, assault, or force
  3. black, tarry stools
  4. bladder pain
  5. bloody or cloudy urine
  6. burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, "pins and needles", or tingling feelings
  7. change in walking and balance
  8. chest tightness
  9. chills
  10. cold sweats
  11. cough
  12. crying
  13. decreased awareness or responsiveness
  14. deep or fast breathing with dizziness
  15. delusions of persecution, mistrust, suspiciousness, or combativeness
  16. difficult, burning, or painful urination
  17. difficulty with swallowing
  18. dizziness
  19. dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up from lying or sitting position
  20. dry mouth
  21. fainting
  22. false beliefs that cannot be changed by facts
  23. feeling of unreality
  24. fever
  25. frequent urge to urinate
  26. hives, itching, or skin rash
  27. irregular heartbeat
  28. irritability
  29. lack of feeling or emotion
  30. light-colored stools
  31. lower back or side pain
  32. nausea
  33. numbness of the feet, hands, and around the mouth
  34. pale skin
  35. poor insight and judgment
  36. problems with memory or speech
  37. puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  38. quick to react or overreact emotionally
  39. rapidly changing moods
  40. restlessness
  41. seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there
  42. sense of detachment from self or body
  43. severe sleepiness
  44. sore throat
  45. sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth
  46. stomach pain
  47. swollen glands
  48. thoughts of killing oneself or changes in behavior
  49. trouble recognizing objects
  50. trouble thinking and planning
  51. trouble walking
  52. trouble breathing
  53. uncaring
  54. unease or dissatisfaction with life
  55. unusual bleeding or bruising
  56. vomiting
  57. yellow eyes or skin

Get emergency help immediately if any of the following symptoms of overdose occur:

Symptoms of overdose

  1. Change or loss of consciousness
  2. difficult or trouble breathing
  3. irregular, fast or slow, or shallow breathing
  4. pale or blue lips, fingernails, or skin
  5. sleepiness or unusual drowsiness

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common

  1. Drowsiness
  2. headache
  3. muscle aches
  4. sleepiness or unusual drowsiness
  5. stuffy or runny nose

Less common

  1. Back pain
  2. being forgetful
  3. belching
  4. body aches or pain
  5. congestion
  6. diarrhea
  7. difficulty having a bowel movement
  8. difficulty with moving
  9. double vision
  10. feeling of constant movement of self or surroundings
  11. heartburn
  12. hoarseness
  13. indigestion
  14. longer or heavier menstrual periods
  15. loss of memory
  16. muscle pain or stiffness
  17. pain or tenderness around the eyes and cheekbones
  18. seeing double
  19. sensation of spinning
  20. stomach discomfort
  21. tender, swollen glands in the neck
  22. unusual drowsiness, dullness, tiredness, weakness, or feeling of sluggishness
  23. voice changes

Rare

  1. Bad, unusual, or unpleasant (after) taste
  2. blemishes on the skin
  3. blindness
  4. blurred vision
  5. breast pain
  6. change in near or distance vision
  7. change in taste
  8. changes in patterns and rhythms of speech
  9. decreased interest in sexual intercourse
  10. difficulty in focusing the eyes
  11. eye pain
  12. feeling of warmth
  13. frequent urge to defecate
  14. inability to have or keep an erection
  15. increased appetite
  16. increased sensitivity of the skin to sunlight
  17. increased sweating
  18. itching of the vagina or genital area
  19. lack or loss of strength
  20. loss in sexual ability, desire, drive, or performance
  21. pain during sexual intercourse
  22. paleness of the skin
  23. pimples
  24. redness of the face, neck, arms, and occasionally, upper chest
  25. redness or other discoloration of the skin
  26. severe sunburn
  27. slurred speech
  28. stomach upset
  29. straining while passing stool
  30. tearing
  31. thick, white vaginal discharge with no odor or with a mild odor
  32. weight loss

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.