What is Zolpidem?

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  • Written By: Autumn Rivers
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 05 February 2019
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Zolpidem is a prescription drug that is typically used to treat insomnia, as it is considered a sedative. In most cases, it is only used as an insomnia treatment for a short period of time, such as a few weeks. It typically comes in the form of a tablet or oral spray, though an extended release tablet is also available. It is not recommended that patients take this drug while pregnant, breastfeeding, or drinking alcohol regularly. Depression, allergies, sleep apnea, and liver or kidney disease should be reported to the doctor before taking zolpidem.

In the U.S., a prescription is required for zolpidem, and its main use is as a short-term treatment for insomnia. It not only helps patients get to sleep in the first place, but also helps them stay asleep due to its sedative properties. It is usually given in a tablet, though patients also have the choice of using extended release tablets that allow the drug to continually release into the system, typically reducing side effects. An oral spray is also available, which is desirable to some since it is known for being absorbed into the body quicker than the tablet.


Some people suffering from insomnia are not eligible for this treatment, as there are various reactions that may occur with other drugs. For example, the effect of alcohol is usually increased when ingested during treatment with zolpidem, so it is not recommended that patients combine the two. Those suffering from depression, sleep apnea, allergies to medications, or kidney or liver disease are typically not supposed to take zolpidem since complications may occur. Pregnant and breastfeeding women are also advised to seek another type of treatment for insomnia since this drug's effects on the baby are unknown.

Like any other medication, zolpidem does come with side effects, though they are usually both rare and minor. The most common effects tend to be bothersome but not particularly harmful, such as dizziness, lightheadedness, drowsiness even during the day, and diarrhea. Some people also experience heart palpitations, constant fatigue, sinus irritation, a skin rash, and dry mouth. While these zolpidem side effects are not usually severe enough to stop treatment, there are some symptoms that should be considered serious enough to report to a doctor. Slurred speech, depression, fainting, blurry vision, hallucinations, aggression or unusual behavior in general should all be considered cause for concern, and warrant an immediate call to the doctor.



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