Zolpidem is a sedative (or hypnotic) drug commonly used to treat insomnia and other sleep problems. It is available in two forms; immediate-release and extended release. Immediate-release drugs such as Ambien, Zolpimist, Edluar, and Intermezzo help you go to sleep quickly but do not have a long-term effect, whereas the extended-release form of Zolpidem (Ambien CR) contains an extra layer so that you receive a continuous dosage of the medication and sleep throughout the night.

Before Using Zolpidem

Avoid Zolpidem if you are allergic to lactose or the drug itself. Before starting the medication, it is also recommended that you tell your doctor if you've been diagnosed with a health condition such as;

  • Renal or Liver Disease
  • Respiratory Problems (asthma, COPD, bronchitis, emphysema, etc.)
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Psychological Issues (stress, depression, anxiety, anger, etc.)
  • Myasthenia Gravis
  • Addiction to Alcohol or Drugs

Zolpidem should be stored in a safe place where no one but you can get it. This is because it can cause addiction if it is used inappropriately.

Speak to your doctor before starting Zolpidem if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or plan to have a baby. Although it is uncertain whether Zolpidem can harm a baby during pregnancy, the drug can be passed on to the baby through breast milk and possibly cause damage.

Dosage and Administration

Zolpidem is a short-term medication which should be taken for no longer than a month. If your symptoms do not improve within 1 to 2 weeks, ask your doctor about better alternatives. Do not discontinue use of the medication abruptly, or you may develop withdrawal symptoms. Ask your doctor how to stop taking Zolpidem without causing side effects.

What if I forget a dose?

Missing a dose is uncommon with Zolpidem, as it is usually taken at nighttime. One thing to remember is not to take Edluar, Ambien, or Zolpimist unless you are able to sleep 7 hours minimum. Also, do not take Intermezzo unless you can sleep for 4 hours before starting your day.


Get emergency help if you or a loved one may have overdosed on Zolpidem. An overdose can lead to serious health problems and even cause death. Signs of Zolpidem overdose include but are not limited to; tiredness, disorientation, slow breathing, dizziness, and coma.

Things to Avoid While Using Zolpidem

Zolpidem can impair your ability to think or react normally. For this reason, it is extremely important that you are fully awake before performing certain activities such as; driving, operating machinery, exercising, and walking near heavy traffic. Using Zolpidem for traveling purposes is not recommended, as you may not be completely alert when you've arrived at your destination. Also, do not use Zolpidem if you've consumed alcohol within the last 24 hours.

Side Effects of Zolpidem

Stop using Zolpidem if you experience an allergic reaction to the drug. Signs of an allergic response include; rash, welts, trouble breathing, and swelling of the mouth, face, and throat. If your condition worsens or new symptoms appear, tell your doctor immediately. Make sure to also notify your doctor of any additional symptoms you experience such as; anxiety, sadness, anger, irritation, disorientation, abnormal thoughts, memory loss, suicidal thoughts, and other behavioral problems.

Severe side effects of Zolpidem to look out for include but are not limited to;

  • Pain in the chest area.
  • Fast or abnormal heartbeat.
  • Trouble Breathing
  • Pressure in the chest or feeling of tightness.
  • Difficulty Swallowing
  • Fainting Feeling

Less severe side effects of Zolpidem to watch out for include;

  • Trouble staying awake and keeping balance.
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, or weak feeling.
  • Mouth Dryness
  • Irritation in the throat or nose.
  • Gastrointestinal Issues (nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea, constipation, etc.)
  • Nose Congestion
  • Headaches

There are other possible side effects of Zolpidem which are not listed. Talk to your doctor if you experience any other symptoms.

Drug Interactions

Have a discussion with your doctor about all of the medications you are taking before starting Zolpidem. Even if they're just vitamins, supplements, holistic medication, and over-the-counter drugs. Your doctor may need to lower your dose of Zolpidem if you're taking other drugs that make you sleepy. If necessary, your doctor will find a medication to replace Zolpidem.

It is especially important to notify your doctor if you're taking any of the following drugs:

  • Thorazine (chlorpromazine)
  • Sporanox (Itraconazole)
  • Nizoral (ketoconazole)
  • Rimactane (rifampin)
  • Antidepressant (Zoloft, Tofranil, etc.)