Ambien has hypnotic and sedative effects and is similar to benzodiazepines in the structure. It has less potency to addiction and a better safety profile. Learn more about its action.
Ambien is a relatively young medicine that appeared on the pharmaceutical market at the end of the XX century. It is a synthetic analogue of benzodiazepines that was designed to improve the quality of sleep and provide mild hypnotic and sedative effects.
Learn more about its action on the body, ways and rules of administration and safe utilization.
Where to buy Ambien (Zolpidem) Over the CounterMedicine: Ambien (Zolpidem)
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The essence and effects of the medicine
This medicine is a synthetic product that belongs to hypnotics and sedatives. Ambien is a brandname and the active ingredient is zolpidem.
The drugis used orally.It was derived from imidazopyridine and has a structure similar to benzodiazepines.It was createdin 1988 in the laboratory that is nowadays apart of Sanofi.
The main idea of this medicine is as follows:
- to improve sleep quality;
- to decrease the number of night awakenings;
- to make a person more active during the day.
If during the treatment symptoms of insomnia do not improve after 7-10 days, it is better to stop it and search for the cause of this condition. Thus, it may occur due to some mental distress, obstructive sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome.
Furthermore, it may be needed to increase the dose of the medicine and also to improve sleep hygiene or select another option for treatment.
The final decision is up to a healthcare provider and the patient should not experiment with doses to avoid dangerous side effects.
The mechanism of action
Ambien acts through the following mechanisms:
- selective binding to the benzodiazepine receptors;
- enhancing the inhibitory effect of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA);
- inhibiting sleep centers.
All these effects together lead to sedative and hypnotic activity of the medicine. These two effects are the most pronounced and the main indication for its utilization is sleep disorder.
In addition, there is an immediate and controlled-release form. The latter stores the active ingredient on the receptors and improves sleep quality, preventing early morning awakenings.
The action of the medicine becomes obvious in less than an hour after the intake so it should be taken into account during the therapy.
Administration features and dosage forms
Zolpidem is available as:
- tablets of 0.00175; 0.0035; 0.005; 0.00625; 0.01 and 0.0125 g;
- solution for oral use with an active substance content of 5 or 10 mg/ml.
Zolpidem’s absorption and onset of action may be reduced by food so it’s recommended to take it at least an hour after the meal.Controlled-release pills should be swallowed whole and it is prohibited to split, crush or chew them.
For patients with a lower body weight, the initial 5 mg dose or the 6.25 mg immediate-release form is used.
Ambienshould not be administered in quantities exceeding a 1-month supply. This is done for the safety of the patient and to monitor the action of the drug and avoid addiction.
The risk of dependence usually increases with the dose and duration of treatment. However, treatment with such a selective non-benzodiazepine hypnoticis associated with less tolerance or addiction issues than benzodiazepine medicines.
Side effects and contraindications
Side effects are not very common for this medicine.Sometimes patients experience headaches, dizziness, drowsiness and mild digestive issues.Still, there are cases of addiction and overdose, so the treatment must be monitored carefully.
Other possible side effects include:
- allergic reactions including skin rash and itching;
- nausea and vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain;
- increased fatigue, muscle weakness, impaired coordination of movements, dysarthria, mood deterioration, paradoxical reactions, amnesia and vision impairment;
- libido disorders, mainly decreasing in both men and women.
An overdose of this medicine caused a pronounced drowsiness, a disturbance of consciousness with a transition to a coma and may even lead to a fatal outcome. Flumazepilis a specific antidote that must be utilized immediately in case of an overdose.
It is prohibited to combine this medicine with any other substances that inhibit the central nervous system. This list includes other hypnotics and sedatives and alcoholic beverages.
In addition, a healthcare provider must strictly control the dosage and intake for a patient to avoid addiction or withdrawal syndrome after the end of the treatment.
The contraindications for Ambien includeincreased sensitivity to the active ingredient, severe respiratory failure and sleep apnea syndrome and severe liver failure. The medicine is also not prescribed during the first trimester of pregnancy, breastfeeding and for patients younger than 15 years.
Altogether, Ambien appeared to be an active and safe substitute for many other hypnotics and sedatives, including barbiturates and benzodiazepines. Still, its utilization requires caution and attention to the doses and observed effects. Therefore, patients should not neglect the recommendations of the doctors and use the medicine only according to the prescription.