Ambien is the brand name for zolpidem, a sedative approved by the FDA in 1993. Zolpidem is available only with a prescription under the brand name Ambien. Zolpidem is a sedative hypnotic of the imidazopyridine family. Here's how zolpidem works: GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter found in the brain. When zolpidem enters the brain, it binds to a receptor on GABA, creating a powerful sedative effect, which induces sleep. Zolpidem is used almost exclusively to treat insomnia for short periods of time, usually over a span of no longer than ten days. Zolpidem is taken orally and is available in 5 and 10 milligram tablets.This medication should be taken at bedtime without food to induce rapid onset of sleep. Because zolpidem can be highly addictive, it is important to take only as much as your doctor prescribes. The FDA has ordered zolpidem to carry stronger warning labels to inform consumers about its risks. These risks include doing activities, such as eating and driving, without any recollection afterward. The most common side effects of zolpidem include drowsiness, dizziness and poor motor coordination, but you should ask your doctor for a complete list.Also, be sure to tell your physician immediately if you experience signs of allergic reaction like facial swelling, difficulty breathing, seizures,or any other significant changes. Zolpidem should not be taken in conjunction with alcohol and should be used cautiously by people who have respiratory diseases, as the drug can have a depressive effect on breathing. Ask your doctor for a full list of medications and conditions that should not be combined with this medication. Ambien can be helpful for patients who have difficulty sleeping. However, the medication should always be used under the direct care of a physician. Please ask for and review all of the information provided by your doctor before taking medication"The information in this video is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise of your physician. Always consult your doctor before using this drug."
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Last Updated:December 20, 2012