Compare Ambien vs. Belsomra

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Ambien
(zolpidem)

Belsomra
(suvorexant)

Helps you sleep. Ambien (zolpidem) aids in falling asleep and staying asleep, but it can be habit-forming and might be more likely than other sleep medicines to cause side effects.Helps you sleep. Belsomra (suvorexant) helps you fall asleep, but is only avaliable as a brand name so can be expensive.
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
5.1Ambien
Reviews for Ambien
67%
of people (All ages) say Ambien is worth it
50%
say it works well
16%
say it's a big hassle
1375 reviews
Have you used Ambien (zolpidem)?
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Have you used Belsomra (suvorexant)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
AmbienBelsomra
  • Drowsiness 3%
  • Headache 1%
  • Dizziness 4%
  • Allergic reactions 3%
  • Sinus infection 2%
  • Sore throat 2%
  • Dry mouth 2%
  • Lack of energy 2%
  • Back pain 1%
  • Diarrhea 1%
More Ambien side effects »
  • Headache 1%
  • Sleepiness 4%
  • Dizziness 1%
  • Diarrhea 1%
  • Dry mouth 1%
  • Cold and flu 1%
  • Abnormal dreams 1%
  • Cough 1%
More Belsomra side effects »
How it works
AmbienBelsomra
Ambien (zolpidem) is in a class of drugs called sedative-hypnotics. It interacts with your brain to make you relaxed and sleepy.Belsomra (suvorexant) is a newer, non-benzodiazepine option that reduces wakefulness and help with sleep by inhibiting the orexin receptors in the brain.
Type of medication
AmbienBelsomra
Prescription onlyPrescription only
Available as
AmbienBelsomra
  • Pill
  • Oral spray
  • Sublingual pill
  • Pill
Used for
AmbienBelsomra
Risk factors for serious side effects
AmbienBelsomra
  • Continuous use of Ambien (zolpidem) for 2 weeks or more
  • Alcohol
  • Taking other medications that make you less alert
  • Less than 8 hours of sleep.
  • Undiagnosed psychiatric conditions
Detailed Ambien (zolpidem) risks & warnings »
  • Uncontrolled psychiatric conditions
  • Alcohol
  • Other medicines that make you sleepy or dizzy
  • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
Detailed Belsomra (suvorexant) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy
Alcohol
AmbienBelsomra
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs when taking Ambien (zolpidem).
  • Not safe to take with alcohol or sleeping medications.
Kidneys and liver
AmbienBelsomra
  • Might not be safe if you have problems with your liver, kidneys, lungs, or if you have a history of depression.
No kidneys and liver related info.
Sleep
AmbienBelsomra
  • Ambien (zolpidem) makes you feel drowsy and sleepy, potentially leading to falls and severe injuries. This is especially a risk if you're older. Falls from sleep medicines like Ambien (zolpidem) have caused severe injuries such as hip fractures and head injury. You may need a lower dose if you're taking other medications that also cause drowsiness. Check with your doctor first.
  • Only take it if you have time to sleep for at least 8 hours.
  • Effective at helping people fall asleep faster and sleep longer.
  • If you have COPD or sleep apnea, talk to your doctor first about Belsomra (suvorexant) before starting it. Belsomra (suvorexant) can make it hard to breathe.
  • Only take if you plan to sleep at least 7 hours.
  • May be helpful if other sleep aids don't work.
  • Not recommended if you do not plan to sleep for at least 7 hours.
Upsides and benefits
AmbienBelsomra
  • Effective at helping people fall asleep faster and sleep longer.
  • Extended release form is particularly good for staying asleep, and you can use it for longer than the immediate release form.
  • Generic is available.
  • May be helpful if other sleep aids don't work.
  • Works quickly, especially on an empty stomach.
  • Might be a good option for the elderly.
Downsides and risks
AmbienBelsomra
  • Not typically used for long-term treatment because it can be habit-forming.
  • Some people find that Ambien (zolpidem) becomes less effective over time.
  • More likely to cause sleep-walking, sleep-driving, and sleep-eating.
  • Might not be safe if you have problems with your liver, kidneys, lungs, or if you have a history of depression.
  • Not usually used for long-term treatment since it can be habit-forming.
  • Belsomra (suvorexant) is likely expensive since it's only available as a brand name, but coupon savings program could be available.
  • Not recommended if you do not plan to sleep for at least 7 hours.
  • Belsomra (suvorexant) may cause sleep paralysis.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
AmbienBelsomra
  • Take 30 to 45 minutes before bedtime.
  • Only take it if you have time to sleep for at least 8 hours.
  • Can be addictive. Meant for short-term treatment. Dependence can form after daily use for 2 weeks.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs when taking Ambien (zolpidem).
  • Withdrawal symptoms can occur if you abruptly stop the drug and you've been regularly using it. The symptoms usually resolve in 1 to 2 nights.
  • Report any confusion or changes in thoughts or behavior.
  • Take Belsomra (suvorexant) 30 minutes before bedtime.
  • Only take if you plan to sleep at least 7 hours.
  • Taking Belsomra (suvorexant) on an empty stomach will quicken the effects.
  • Belsomra (suvorexant) can be addictive and is meant for short-term treatment.
  • Can cause headaches and/or dizziness.
  • Not safe to take with alcohol or sleeping medications.
  • If Belsomra (suvorexant) does not help you sleep after taking it for 10 days, consider talking to your doctor/pharmacist about other potential causes of insominia.
Learn more
More about AmbienSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Ambien (zolpidem)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about BelsomraSide effectsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Belsomra (suvorexant)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it