Compare Ambien vs. Hetlioz

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

Ambien
(zolpidem)

Hetlioz
(tasimelteon)

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.Keeps the sleep cycle normal for completely blind people who aren't able to see light. Hetlioz (tasimelteon) is the only approved medicine to help completely blind people who are unable to see light maintain regular sleep cycles. It is only available as a brand name, so it 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)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it

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Have you used Hetlioz (tasimelteon)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
AmbienHetlioz
  • 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 10%
  • Abnormal liver tests 5%
  • Nightmares or abnormal dreams 10%
  • Common cold or flu 7%
  • Urinary tract infection 5%
More Hetlioz side effects »
How it works
AmbienHetlioz
Ambien (zolpidem) is in a class of drugs called sedative-hypnotics. It interacts with your brain to make you relaxed and sleepy.Hetlioz (tasimelteon) is a melatonin receptor agonist. It helps you to sleep at night and stay awake during the day.
Type of medication
AmbienHetlioz
Prescription onlyPrescription only
Available as
AmbienHetlioz
  • Pill
  • Oral spray
  • Sublingual pill
  • Pill
Used for
AmbienHetlioz
  • Non 24 Hour Sleep Wake Cycle
Risk factors for serious side effects
AmbienHetlioz
  • 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 »
    Detailed Hetlioz (tasimelteon) risks & warnings »
    Pregnancy
    Alcohol
    AmbienHetlioz
    • Avoid alcohol and drugs when taking Ambien (zolpidem).
    No alcohol related info.
    Kidneys and liver
    AmbienHetlioz
    • 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
    AmbienHetlioz
    • 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 go to sleep at a different time, don't take Hetlioz (tasimelteon).
    Upsides and benefits
    AmbienHetlioz
    • 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.
    • Hetlioz (tasimelteon) is not addictive.
    • Hetlioz (tasimelteon) is the only drug that's approved to help people unable to see light to have regular sleep cycles.
    • If you have to stop taking Hetlioz (tasimelteon) suddenly, you're not likely to have withdrawal.
    Downsides and risks
    AmbienHetlioz
    • 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.
    • Hetlioz (tasimelteon) can take weeks to months for you to notice any effect.
    • Hetlioz (tasimelteon) is only available as a brand name so it can be expensive.
    Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
    AmbienHetlioz
    • 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 Hetlioz (tasimelteon) at the same time every night.
    • Take Hetlioz (tasimelteon) on an empty stomach. Swallow capsule whole. Don't crush or chew the capsule.
    • If you go to sleep at a different time, don't take Hetlioz (tasimelteon).
    • Hetlioz (tasimelteon) might take weeks or months before you notice any effects.
    • If you smoke tobacco, Hetlioz (tasimelteon) might not work as well.
    Learn more
    More about AmbienSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
    Have you used Ambien (zolpidem)?
    Worth itNot sureNot worth it
    More about HetliozSide effectsFDA package insert
    Have you used Hetlioz (tasimelteon)?
    Worth itNot sureNot worth it