Around one in three people suffer from mild insomnia. The consequences of insomnia can be serious, increasing your risks of having diabetes, obesity, depression, heart attack and even stroke. Insomnia can be a symptom of other ailments. If you are experiencing depression, anxiety or chronic pain, it’s not difficult to see how this can cause a lack of sleep.

We offer prescribed sleeping pills, such as zolpidem and zopiclone which can break the cycle of insomnia into a more routine pattern of sleep. A prescription is a must for these medications, and there are potential side effects, including daytime drowsiness, dizziness and potential addiction. Now let’s move forward to knowing the drug you’re here for.

What is Zolpidem?

Zolpidem is the generic name of the drug Ambien and is a prescribed sedative approved for short-term treatment of sleep disorders like insomnia. The drug has been in existence since 2007 and comes in both immediate-release and extended-release formulation. The drug has proved itself to be effective for helping people fall asleep, but it doesn’t have the same impact when it comes to maintaining a person’s sleep. The initial dose may do little to make a person sleep within weeks, or even days, of consistent use. Still, Ambien is the number-one prescribed drug to treat sleep disorders in the U.S., and has proven itself to be useful for people who find it difficult switching between being awake and asleep.

The drug is prescribed for short-term intake because it has a half-life of around two to three hours. It is a sedative drug prescribed to treat sleep disorders like insomnia.

Zolpidem belongs to a family of hypnotic sedatives that makes a person sleep by activating GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) receptors on the surface of neurons. GABA, one of the oldest and well-known neurotransmitters, is an inhibitory chemical found in the brain.

Zolpidem is a sedative, also called a hypnotic. It affects chemicals in the brain that may be unbalance in people suffering from sleep disorders like insomnia. The immediate-release formulation of the drug is known by names like Ambien, Intermezzo, Edluar, and Zolpimist, which help in making a person fall asleep. The extended-release formulation of the drug is known by names like Ambien CR, which has a first layer that dissolves quickly to help a person fall asleep, and a second layer that dissolves slowly to help a person stay asleep.

How does Zolpidem work?

As we already told you that Zolpidem works in combination with the neurotransmitter GABA, which is one of the 18 major brain chemicals that control communication among brain cells. This causes the release of GABA in the brain. Neurotransmitters are natural body chemicals that act as chemical messengers between nerve cells.

Zolpidem is taken to treat a certain sleep disorder like insomnia in adults. If you have trouble falling asleep, it will help you fall asleep faster, so you are able to sleep throughout the night. The drug belongs to a class of drugs called sedative-hypnotics. It acts on the brain to produce a calming effect. Laboratory tests have proven that Zolpidem works best with GABA to further reduce the possibility of certain brain cells becoming electrically active. Unlike older sleep drugs, the drug targets a specific area of the brain cell.

Benefits and flaws of Zolpidem

Since you’re here looking for information about Zolpidem and how it treats sleep disorders, we shall tell you about the benefits of the drug for those who cannot sleep immediately:-

Zolpidem helps the person taking it to fall asleep within 15 to 30 minutes of intake of the drug. Therefore, it is to be taken only when the person is ready to sleep and has a gap of around seven to eight hours before the time the person sleeps and the time the person wakes up. After taking the drug, patients of insomnia have reportedly remained awake for a lesser period of time than placebo.

After discussing the benefits of Zolpidem, let us discuss about its flaws. In case you’re almost ready to buy the drug meant to treat sleep disorders, you should know about the basic flaw of the drug. We have told you earlier that there should be a gap of around seven to eight hours between the time a person sleeps and wakes up after taking the drug. The reason we told you this is that the drug is prescribed to treat sleep disorders but for a short while. Since Zolpidem is an opioid drug, a person taking the drug regularly may get affected by the drug so much that they may get addicted to the drug. Doing so will not only make the person a drug addict but also make him tolerant to the effects of the drug along with depending on the drug for survival and without taking which the person might not be able to sleep.

Side effects

There are few side effects of the drug that can be categorized into common and serious or severe:-

Common side effects of the drug

  • Headache
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhea
  • Mouth starts drying repeatedly
  • Chest pain
  • Palpitation
  • Grogginess
  • Lightheadedness
  • Pain in the muscles

Serious or severe side effects of the drug

  • Allergic reactions
  • New or worse symptoms of depression
  • Abnormal thoughts or behavior
  • Doing activities while asleep and having no memory of the activity
  • Facing difficulty in breathing
  • Amnesia
  • Hallucination

Drug interaction

Like many other sedative and sleep aids, Zolpidem often has serious interactions with other medications that have a sedative effect.

Some drugs that are known to interact with Ambien include:-

Anti-psychotic drugs

  • chlorpromazine (Thorazine, Thor-Prom)


  • sertraline (Zoloft)
  • Tricyclic Anti-depressant such as imipramine (Tofranil)


  • rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane)

Benzodiazepine Antagonist

  • flumazenil (Romazicon)

When combined with Zolpidem, these drugs can potentially cause negative interactions. Usually, these drugs affect the way Ambien interacts with the brain chemicals.

Other drugs which moderately interact with Zolpidem include:

  • Ativan (Lorazepam)
  • Cymbalta (duloxetine)
  • Trazodone
  • Gabapentin
  • Klonopin
  • Vicodin
  • Lexapro
  • Lisinopril
  • Lyrica (pregabalin)
  • Tramadol