More Bad News for Ambien (Zolpidem)?

Dr. Sharon Orrange
Dr. Orrange is an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine in the Division of Geriatric, Hospitalist and General Internal Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
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Zolpidem is the generic version of Ambien, which is also available in a longer acting form known as Ambien CR. These sleep medications (zolpidem, Sonata, Lunesta) are widely popular and known for their lack of hangover effect the next morning. These “atypical” benzodiazepines are different from “typical” benzodiazepines like Ativan, Xanax, or Valium in that they are used to treat insomnia but not anxiety.

Weird things can happen to people who take them, especially if you take one and continue to walk around and do things in your house. Now there is more concerning information that emergency department (ED) visits for adverse reactions related to zolpidem increased by 220% in a recent 5-year period. That’s important.

Scared or not? Know these things about zolpidem:

Think of zolpidem as a short-term solution to insomnia, don’t take it with alcohol or other medications, and think about taking the lowest doses possible.

Dr O.

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