Ambien (zolpidem) is a sedative, also called a hypnotic. It affects chemicals in your brain that may become unbalanced and cause sleep problems (insomnia).
Ambien is used to treat insomnia. The immediate-release Ambien is used to help you fall asleep. The extended-release form, Ambien CR, has a first layer that dissolves quickly to help you fall asleep, and a second layer that dissolves slowly to help you stay asleep.
Your doctor will determine which form of this medicine is best for you.
Ambien may cause a severe allergic reaction. Stop taking Ambien and get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor, such as: depression, anxiety, aggression, agitation, confusion, unusual thoughts, hallucinations, memory problems, changes in personality, risk-taking behavior, decreased inhibitions, no fear of danger, or thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself.
Stop using Ambien and call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effects:
- chest pain, fast or irregular heartbeat, feeling short of breath;
- trouble breathing or swallowing; or
- feeling like you might pass out.
Less serious Ambien side effects may include:
- daytime drowsiness, dizziness, weakness, feeling “drugged” or light-headed;
- tired feeling, loss of coordination;
- dry mouth, nose or throat irritation;
- nausea, constipation, diarrhea, upset stomach;
- stuffy nose, sore throat; or
- headache, muscle pain.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.