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  • Ambien is a sleeping aid obtained by prescription only. As with any medication, it may have both short- and long-term side effects.

    The Facts

    Ambien is one brand name for zolpidem, a sedative-hypnotic medication used to treat insomnia by helping the user to fall asleep. Ambien is manufactured by the France-based pharmaceutical company Sanofi-Aventis.

    Length of Use

    Ambien is intended for short-term use only in the treatment of insomnia. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends that you "talk to your doctor about the risks of taking zolpidem for two weeks or longer."

    Long-Term Side Effects

    Short-term use is recommended, the NIH says, because long-term use of hypnotic agents can become complicated by drug tolerance, dependence or rebound insomnia. These side effects may occur as early as within one to two weeks of treatment, reports Pharmacist.com.

    Common Side Effects

    Common side effects of Ambien or other zolpidem products can include headache, somnolence (drowsiness) and dizziness, according to the manufacturer.

    Other Side Effects

    More serious side effects may include behavioral or physical changes such as memory problems or loss, aggression, confusion, heartburn, muscle cramps or allergic reactions. Consult your doctor immediately if you feel you are having adverse or unusual reactions.

    Warning

    Use the medication only as prescribed. Inform your doctor if you are taking any other medications, as there may be adverse interactions.

    Source:

    AmbienCR.com: Side Effects

    National Center for Biotechnology Information: Management of Insomnia

    Pharmacist.com: A Pharmacist's Guide to Insomnia

    More Information:

    MedlinePlus: Zolpidem

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