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Brand Name: Ambien

Generic Name: zolpidem

It is used to treat insomnia
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What is this medicine?

Ambien (zole PI dem) is used to treat insomnia. This medicine helps you to fall asleep and sleep through the night.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • depression
  • history of a drug or alcohol abuse problem
  • liver disease
  • lung or breathing disease
  • suicidal thoughts
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to zolpidem, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

Take this medicine by mouth with a glass of water. Follow the directions on the prescription label. It is better to take this medicine on an empty stomach and only when you are ready for bed. Do not take your medicine more often than directed. If you have been taking this medicine for several weeks and suddenly stop taking it, you may get unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Your doctor or health care professional may want to gradually reduce the dose. Do not stop taking this medicine on your own. Always follow your doctor or health care professional's advice.

A special MedGuide will be given to you by the pharmacist with each prescription and refill. Be sure to read this information carefully each time.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What if I miss a dose?

This does not apply. This medicine should only be taken immediately before going to sleep. Do not take double or extra doses.

What may interact with this medicine?

  • herbal medicines like kava kava, melatonin, St. John's wort and valerian
  • medicines for fungal infections like ketoconazole, fluconazole, or itraconazole
  • medicines for treating depression or other mental problems
  • other medicines given for sleep
  • some medicines for Parkinson' s disease or other movement disorders
  • some medicines used to treat HIV infection or AIDS, like ritonavir

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Visit your doctor or health care professional for regular checks on your progress. Keep a regular sleep schedule by going to bed at about the same time each night. Avoid caffeine-containing drinks in the evening hours. When sleep medicines are used every night for more than a few weeks, they may stop working. Talk to your doctor if you still have trouble sleeping.

Do not take this medicine unless you are able to get a full night's sleep before you must be active again. You may not be able to remember things that you do in the hours after you take this medicine. Some people have reported driving, making phone calls, or preparing and eating food while asleep after taking sleep medicine. Take this medicine right before going to sleep. Tell your doctor if you are have any problems with your memory.

After you stop taking this medicine, you may have trouble falling asleep. This is called rebound insomnia. This problem usually goes away on its own after 1 or 2 nights.

You may get drowsy or dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs mental alertness until you know how this medicine affects you. Do not stand or sit up quickly, especially if you are an older patient. This reduces the risk of dizzy or fainting spells. Alcohol may interfere with the effect of this medicine. Avoid alcoholic drinks. This medicine may cause a decrease in mental alertness the morning after use, even if you feel that you are fully awake. Tell your doctor if you will need to perform activities requiring full alertness, such as driving, the next morning after you have taken this medicine.

If you or your family notice any changes in your behavior, or if you have any unusual or disturbing thoughts, call your doctor right away.

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All visitors to AARP.org should seek expert medical care and consult their own physicians for any specific health issues. Read this disclaimer in its entirety.
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Note: This information is not intended to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions, or adverse effects for this drug. If you have question about the drug(s) you are taking, check with your health care professional.
 
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