Side Effects

Side Effects

Side Effects of Ambien and How to Handle it

Ambien also referred to as Zolpidem, its active ingredient is a hypnotic or sedative that is used to treat insomnia. The active ingredient is generally well-tolerated but it can cause various side effects. Sleepiness is one of the most common side effects of this medication.

Some of the less common effects include:

  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Clumsiness

You may also suffer from some rare side effects including:

  • Wheezing
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Falling
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Fainting
  • Swelling face
  • Sleeping problems
  • Irritability

It is advisable to seek medical attention if you experience side effects. But some of them may not require medical attention. The side effects may ease when your body adjusts to the active ingredient.

Your doctor will advise you on the best way to prevent or reduce these side effects. If the side effects persist, you should consult your physician.

The medication can affect various parts of the body including:


Some of the gastrointestinal effects include diarrhea, anorexia, vomiting, and dyspepsia. Patients may also develop transient parethesthesia on their tongue.


Myagia and arthralgia are some of the potential side effects of this medication.


Infections are possible in some of the patients who take this medication.


A patient who is on Ambien can suffer from hepatotoxicity but this is rare.

Nervous System

Ambien affects the nervous system and causes dizziness, visual disturbances, confusion, amnesia, lightheadedness, nervousness, agitation, nightmares, agitation, and delirium.

If used in high doses for a long time and then withdrawn, the medication can lead to seizures. This can cause falls especially in older patients.


Respiration depression is another potential side effect of this medication. If you suffer from this side effect, you can use flumazenil. A study has also demonstrated that this medication can also lead to apneic episodes if a patient suffers from obstructive sleep apnea. But this usually occurs if a patient takes twice the recommended dose.

Respiratory side effects tend to occur when patients use more than the required dose. Rhinitis and lower and upper respiratory tract infections can also occur when high doses of Ambien are used.


Ambien can lead to some cardiovascular side effects such as palpitations.


Patients can suffer from psychotic reactions when they are on zolpidem therapy.


Patients who use Ambien can also suffer from hypersensitivity that affects the larynx, tongue, and glottis. The hypersensitivity is common when patients use the initial dose of this medication. Some patients may also suffer from vomiting, throat closing, and dyspnea.

Medical therapy may be necessary. If the hypersensitivity affects your throat or glottis, you may suffer from airway obstruction and this can be fatal.

Other Side Effects

One of the side effects you should watch out for is tolerance to this medication’s pharmacologic effects. This can occur but it is rare. Patients usually suffer from withdrawal symptoms once they stop taking the medication abruptly. The symptoms can also be caused by fast tapering.

Some of the withdrawal symptoms that you should look out for include:

  • Sweating
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Agitation
  • Tremor

Patients who use Ambien in form of an oral spray may suffer from a dry mouth. Some patients also report sleep driving when they are withdrawing from this medication.

It is important to take the recommended dosage of this medication to prevent and reduce the potential side effects. Adults are supposed to take 10 mg of Ambien if it is in form of a spray or conventional tablets. If you are using the extended release tablets, you can take up to 12.5 mg.

Alcohol tends to increase the effect of this medication and this is why it is advisable to avoid any alcoholic substances if you are using this medication. You should not combine it with any other sedatives because they also have additive effects.

Drugs with kenoconazole and sporanox can also increase the amount of Ambien in your blood therefore precaution is advised.

There are very limited studies when it comes to Ambien use among pregnant women but it can be found in breast milk and this can have an adverse effect on a breastfeeding baby.

The side effects of this drug tend to differ from one patient to another and it is necessary to work closely with your physician to get the right dose to reduce or prevent them.