Ambien Overview

What is Ambien?

Ambien (zolpidem tartrate) belongs to a class of medicines called central nervous system (CNS) depressants, which slow down the nervous system. Sanofi Aventis was the first to use this formula in the year 1999.

Ambien – Recent News

However, recent news have portrayed that Ambien is a source of sleep disorders. The media has also reported that a number of patients have taken Ambien and experienced temporary memory loss or “amnesia”: unable to remember events that occurred while they used the drug.

Sanofi-Aventis has recently issued responses to these stories, both in the media and on their website. However, the corporation denies the fact that Ambien is a source of sleep disorders. Furthermore, the company asserts that the U.S. Prescribing Information remains accurate: somnambulism (sleep-walking) is a possible rare adverse event.

Ambien Precautions

In some cases, Ambien and other sleep medicines can cause a special type of memory loss or “amnesia.” When this occurs, a person does not remember what has happened during the several hours between using Ambien and the time its effects wear off. However, in order to avoid the negative consequences, you should just take Ambien when you have taken full hours of sleep.

Elderly patients usually have this problem when they take Ambien.

In general, because sleep medicines may lose their effectiveness if they are used every night for a long time, they should only be used for short periods of time (1 or 2 days) and generally for no longer than 1 or 2 weeks. Should you have the need to take Ambien for 7-10 days, you should just have the approval of your doctor.

Ambien may cause some people (especially older persons) to become drowsy, dizzy, lightheaded, clumsy, unsteady, or less alert than they are normally. Drowsiness and feeling dizzy upon waking up is a sign of taking Ambien before going to sleep. Vision problems are also sign of Ambien effects. Make sure you know how you react to Ambien before you drive, use machines, or perform any activity that requires alertness, good coordination, or the ability to think and see well.

If you develop any unusual and strange thoughts or behavior while you are taking Ambien, be sure to discuss it with your healthcare professional. People are also seen to take Ambien and act in an abnormal manner after quite some time. 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.

Stopping Ambien use suddenly may cause withdrawal side effects. This is the reason why you need to contact a medical professional. He should be able to advise you with the proper gradual decrease in medication.

Even if you take Ambien as a medication for insomnia, there may be rebound insomnia that will be produced.

What Should I Tell My Healthcare Professional?

You should tell your healthcare professional if you:

  • Have allergies or more so, specific allergy to Ambien
  • Are pregnant, may become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. Although Ambien has not been studied in pregnant women, animal studies have shown that Ambien may slow the development of offspring when the mother is given doses many times higher than the human dose. Although Ambien passes into breast milk, it has not been reported to cause problems in nursing babies.
  • History of alcohol abuse or current abuse of alcohol
  • Abuse drugs or have a history of drug abuse, or a dependence on certain drugs.
  • Have emphysema, asthma, bronchitis, or other chronic lung disease.
  • Have a history of mental depression.
  • Have sleep apnea (breathing problems during sleep).
  • Have a kidney disease.
  • Have liver disease.

Ambien Side Effects

Tell your healthcare professional if any of the following side effects associated with Ambien use are severe or persistent:

  • Drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • ‘Drugged feeling’
  • Loss of coordination
  • Upset stomach
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • Heartburn
  • Stomach pain or tenderness
  • Changes in appetite
  • Shaking of a part of the body that you cannot control
  • Burning or tingling in the hands, arms, feet, or legs
  • Unusual dreams
  • Dry mouth or throat
  • Cold symptoms
  • Pain or pressure in the face
  • Ringing, pain, or itching in the ears
  • Eye redness
  • Blurred vision or other vision problems
  • Muscle aches or cramps
  • Joint, back, or neck pain

If you experience these side effects, you should report the following:

  • Rash
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Pounding heartbeat
  • Chest pain
  • Fever

Are There Any Interactions With Drugs or Foods?

Ambien and certain other medicines can interact with each other. To be safe, your healthcare professional needs to know all your medicine intake, including vitamins and drugs.

Ambien will add to the effects of alcohol and other CNS depressants, such as antihistamines, or medicine for hay fever, other allergies or colds; sedatives, tranquilizers, or sleep medicines; prescription pain medicine or narcotics; barbiturates; medicine for seizures; muscle relaxants; or anesthetics (including dental anesthetics).

Ambien – Getting Legal Help

While most medications have certain anticipated side effects, a drug manufacturer has a duty to make its products as reasonably safe as possible, and to inform the medical community and the public of known risks associated with its drugs. Through the theory of “product liability,” the manufacturer can have liability on the harmful effects of the product.

If you or a loved one have experienced any dangerous symptoms or unusual medical conditions while taking Ambien, you should first contact your doctor or other healthcare professional. It will be best to consult with a lawyer to help you with your cause.

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