Jul 20, 2021

A Guide to Zolpidem

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that is characterized by difficulty falling asleep and/ or staying asleep. As sleep is so vital to our overall health and wellness, insomnia can be tremendously disruptive in our lives having a negative impact on not only our health, but also our performance in various areas of life, such as work and also affect our quality of life. 

According to studies, at some point in any given year, 30 to 40% of adults in the U..S have reported experiencing symptoms of insomnia. 9.5% of adults have short-term insomnia, and 1 in 5 cases of short-term insomnia can turn into a chronic form of insomnia. 

Types of Insomnia 

Acute: Acute insomnia is a short-term type of insomnia which can last for days or weeks. Acute insomnia can sometimes occur after a particularly stressful or traumatic event. 

Chronic: If insomnia persits for a longer period of time, for up to a month or more it is categorized as a chronic form of insomnia.

If you or someone you know is suffering from insomnia, or is having difficulty falling and staying asleep, the prescription medication, Zolpidem may be able to help. Read on to learn everything you need to know about the prescription medication Zolpidem to determine if it could be the right drug for you. 

What is Zolpidem? 

Zolpidem which is also marketed under the band names Ambien, Edluar and Intermezzo is a sedative or hypnotic that is used to treat insomnia and help people with difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. Ambien, Intermezzo, Edluar and Zolpimist are immediate-release forms of the medication, while Ambien CR is an extended-release form.

How Does Zolpidem Work? 

As a drug that belongs to a class of medications called sedative-hypnotics,  Zolpidem works by helping to calm down activity in the brain to help encourage sleep. Zolpidem increases a chemical in the brain known as gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) which blocks neurotransmitters in the brain, creating a relaxing effect, allowing you to more easily fall asleep. 

How is Zolpidem Taken? 

It is essential that you first consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new prescription medication. Also, always be sure to carefully follow the recommendations of your health care provider, use the medication as instructed and as per the directions on the prescription label.

It is important that you take your prescription Zolpidem in accordance with the recommendations of your doctor. Refrain from taking the medication in larger amounts than instructed or for longer than prescribed.

Zolpidem is available in regular (Ambien) and extended-release tablets (Ambien CR) and is taken orally. Zolpidem also comes in the form of a sublingual tablet (Edluar, Intermezzo) which is taken under the tongue or in an oral spray (Zolpimist) which is sprayed into the mouth over the tongue. 

The tablets, extended-release tablets, sublingual tablets (Edluar) or oral spray are to be taken once a day, right before your bedtime. The sublingual tablet (Intermezzo) is to be taken one time during the night if you wake up and have trouble falling back asleep. For any form of Zolpidem, it is important to take the medication no more than as it is needed. Zolpidem will take effect more quickly if you do not take it in combination with food or right after eating a meal. 

It is important that you have a full 7 to 8 hours to sleep when using Ambien, Edluar or Zolpimist, so avoid taking the medication unless you have 7 to 8 hours to sleep. Intermezzo should not be taken unless you have 4 hours of sleep left before you need to be up and active. 

It is advised to take Zolpidem only for short-term use. If your symptoms of insomnia persist or worsen after taking the medication for 7 to 10 nights in a row, consult with your doctor. It is important that Zolpidem is not stopped abruptly after being used for long-term use, as it can cause uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawal. 

It is unlikely that you will miss a dose of Zolpidem as it is a medication that is only to be taken as needed before bedtime for short-term use. 

Important Things to Keep in Mind While Taking Zolpidem 

  • It is not advised to take Zolpidem while traveling to help you sleep on an airplane, as you may be awakened before the effects of the drug have worn off. 

  • Amnesia (forgetfulness) can occur and is more likely to occur if you are not able to sleep for a full 7 to 8 hours while taking this medicine. 

  • Avoid driving or or engaging in other hazardous activities while taking this medicine since you may still feel lethargic the morning after taking Zolpidem and your reactions could be compromised and slower than usual. 

  • Wait until you are fully awake to engage in activities that require you to be fully awake or alert such as driving, operating heavy machinery, etc. 

Side Effects of Zolpidem

Common side effects of Zolpidem include drowsiness during the day, feeling dizzy or weak, “drugged” or light-headed. You may also feel less coordinated, experience  stuffy nose, dry mouth or nose or throat irritation. The medicine can also cause side effects of stomach upset such as nausea, constipation and diarrhea as well as headache and muscle pain. 

Side effects of Zolpidem can also include chest pain, fast or irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing or swallowing, or feeling faint. If you feel any of these side effects, contact your doctor immediately. 

Note that Zolpidem can cause a serious allergic reaction that will result in symptoms like hives, trouble breathing, swelling of the face, lips, tongue or throat. If you experience any of these symptoms that indicate a severe allergic reaction, get emergency medical help immediately.

Note that the effects of Zolpdem can be more potent in older adults. Side effects of dizziness or severe drowsiness can lead to accidents such as falls and serious injuries. 

Zolpidem may be the solution treatment for you or someone you know who is struggling with insomnia, having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. At CareCard, it is our mission to help make your prescription payments more affordable, saving members up to 85% on prescription drugs and medications. You can search for a Zolpidem coupon here and learn how CareCard can help make your medication payments more manageable.

Search for a prescription now!

Subscribe to our savings newsletter!

Don't miss out on bonus savings!