Compare Ambien vs. desipramine

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

Ambien (zolpidem)

Prescription only

Norpramin (desipramine)

Prescription only
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.

3.7/ 5 average rating with 1375 reviewsforAmbien
Stabilizes your mood.

Norpramin (desipramine) is not a first choice for treating depression because of its effects on the heart, but it can be good if other medicines haven't worked.

Upsides
  • 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.
  • Norpramin (desipramine) is available in generic and in many different strengths, so the dose can be more customized.
  • Norpramin (desipramine) has fewer side effects than similar tricyclic antidepressants.
Downsides
  • 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.
  • Norpramin (desipramine) isn't recommended if you or your family has heart disease, seizures, or glaucoma.
  • Norpramin (desipramine) isn't a first choice for depression because it has more side effects than other antidepressants.
  • In some people, Norpramin (desipramine) can make you sleepy. In other people, Norpramin (desipramine) can keep you awake.
  • If you have diabetes, Norpramin (desipramine) can make your blood sugar go up.
  • Not recommended in children under 12 years of age.
Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Oral spray
  • Sublingual pill
  • Pill
Price
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Reviews
1375 reviews so far
67%
saidit'sworth it
50%
saiditworked well
16%
saidit'sa big hassle

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Side effects
18possible side effects
  • Drowsiness
    8%
  • Headache
    7%
  • Dizziness
    5%
  • Allergic reactions
    4%
  • Sinus infection
    4%
  • Dry mouth
    3%
  • Back pain
    3%
  • Lack of energy
    3%
  • Drugged feeling
    3%
  • Diarrhea
    3%
  • Sore throat
    3%
  • Flu-like symptoms
    2%
  • Racing heart
    2%
  • Lightheadedness
    2%
  • Depression
    2%
  • Abdominal pain
    2%
  • Constipation
    2%
  • Rash
    2%
See more detailed side effects
The Norpramin (desipramine) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
Risks and risk factors
  • Dependence and withdrawal
    • Continuous use of Ambien (zolpidem) for 2 weeks or more
  • Driving impairment
    • Alcohol
    • Taking other medications that make you less alert
    • Less than 8 hours of sleep.
  • Abnormal thoughts
    • Undiagnosed psychiatric conditions
  • Performing activities while asleep
    • Taking Ambien (zolpidem) with alcohol or drugs that cause drowsiness
  • Risk of falls and injury
    • Higher dose
    • Liver problems
    • Taking Ambien (zolpidem) with other nervous system depressants
    • Long-term use
    • Elderly (70 years or older)
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Higher risk of suicide
    • People under age 24
  • Possible bipolar disorder
  • Serotonin syndrome
    • Tricyclic antidepressants
    • Fentanyl
    • Tramadol
    • Buspirone
    • ADHD medicines
    • Triptans
  • Changes to the heartbeat
    • History of heart disease
  • Higher risk for seizures
    • History of seizures
    • History of brain damage or alcohol withdrawal
See more detailed risks and warnings