Compare Ambien vs. Unisom

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

Ambien
(Zolpidem)

Unisom Sleeptabs
(Doxylamine)

Helps you sleep. Ambien (Zolpidem) is good for falling asleep and staying asleep, but it can be habit-forming and might be more likely than other sleep medicines to cause disturbing side effects.Treats allergy symptoms and helps you sleep. Unisom Sleeptabs (Doxylamine) can help you get a good night's sleep, but you can have a hard time waking up if you don't give yourself enough time to sleep.
Find lowest prices
Powered by GoodRxSave on your next prescription. Be sure you’re getting the lowest price for your medication, even if you have insurance.
Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
5.089219330855019Ambien
Reviews for Ambien (Zolpidem)
66%
of people say Ambien (Zolpidem) is worth it
50%
say it works well
16%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Unisom Sleeptabs (Doxylamine)
58%
8% vs. Ambien (Zolpidem)
32%
18% vs. Ambien (Zolpidem)
11%
+5% vs. Ambien (Zolpidem)
Side effects
AmbienUnisom
  • Dizziness 4%
  • Drowsiness 3%
  • Allergy 3%
  • Sinus inflammation 2%
  • Dry mouth 2%
  • Sore throat 2%
  • Diarrhea 2%
  • Lack of energy 2%
  • Lightheadedness 1%
  • Low mood disorder 1%
More Ambien side effects »

We haven’t found good data for Unisom side effects.

FDA side effect reports for Unisom »
How it works
AmbienUnisom
Ambien (Zolpidem) is in a class of drugs called sedative-hypnotics. Researchers don't know exactly how it works, but it interacts with your brain to make you relaxed and sleepy.Unisom Sleeptabs (Doxylamine) is an antihistamine. It blocks histamine, a chemical that causes congestion, itching, and other allergic reactions. It also makes you sleepy.
Type of medication
AmbienUnisom
SedativePrescription only
Antihistamine
Ethanolamine derivative
Prescription or OTC
Available as
AmbienUnisom
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Pill
  • Chewable tablet
  • Liquid
Used for (click to learn more)
AmbienUnisom
Risk factors for serious side effects
AmbienUnisom
  • Continuous use for 2 weeks or more
  • Alcohol
  • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
  • Less than 7 hours of sleep
  • Undiagnosed psychiatric conditions
  • Taking with alcohol or drugs
    • Respiratory conditions
    • Liver problems
    • Muscle disease
    • Elderly
    • Higher dose
    • Liver problems
    • Taking Ambien (Zolpidem) with other nervous system depressants
    • Long-term use
    • Women of childbearing age
    • Breast-feeding
    Detailed Ambien (Zolpidem) risks & warnings »
    • Using other drugs with similar ingredients
    • Age 65 years or older
    • Taking with alcohol
    • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
    • Children age 6 years or younger
    • Enlarged prostate
    • History of bladder problems
    • Glaucoma
    • Nursing mothers
    Detailed Unisom Sleeptabs (Doxylamine) risks & warnings »
    Pregnancy category
    AmbienUnisom
    CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

    Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

    See the FDA package insert
    NFDA pregnancy category (Unknown)

    The FDA hasn’t classified this medicine’s effects on unborn babies. Talk with your doctor about this medicine if you’re pregnant or planning on it.

    See the FDA package insert
    Alcohol
    • Avoid alcohol and drugs.
    • Ambien (Zolpidem) can be disinhibiting (like alcohol) or cause hallucinations. Tell your doctor if you notice any unusual changes in behavior.
    • Drinking alcohol while taking Unisom Sleeptabs (Doxylamine) isn't recommended.
    • Don't take it with alcohol or other drugs that make you sleepy.
    Food
    • Works best if taken without food.
    No specific food-related info.
    Kidneys and liver
    • Might not be safe if you have problems with your liver, kidneys, or lungs, or if you have a history of depression.
    No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
    Sex
    No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
    Sleep
    • More likely to cause sleep-walking, sleep-driving, and sleep-eating.
    • It's easy to become reliant on sleep medicines. In the long run, it's better to learn good sleeping habits and behavior so that you can sleep better naturally.
    • Effective at helping people fall asleep faster and sleep longer.
    • Only take it if you have time to sleep for at least 7 hours.
    • Can cause headache, drowsiness, and dizziness.
    • Can cause sleep-walking, sleep-driving, and sleep-eating.
    • All prescription sleep-aid medicines like Ambien (Zolpidem) have a risk of physical dependence. Dependence means that you'll feel withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking the medication all at once. Talk to your doctor about natural ways to improve sleep or treat underlying conditions that prevent sleep.
    • Ambien (Zolpidem) increases your risk of performing potentially dangerous activities while asleep, such as sleep-walking, sleep-driving, and sleep-eating. Talk to your doctor immediately about stopping Ambien (Zolpidem) if any sleep-related activities occur.
    • Ambien (Zolpidem) make you feel drowsy and sleepy, leading to falls and severe injuries. This is especially a risk if your 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 medicine that affects your nervous system or have issues with falls in the past. Check with your doctor first.
    • Shouldn't be used unless you have a full night to sleep.
    • Has fewer side effects than prescription sleep aid medications.
    • Not habit-forming like other sleep aids can be.
    • Unisom Sleeptabs (Doxylamine) makes you tired, so take it before you go to sleep.
    • Unisom comes in two different generic forms, doxylamine (Unisom SleepTabs) and diphenhydramine (other Unisom products). Both are antihistamines that help you sleep.
    • People age 65 years and older have a higher risk of side effects from taking antihistamine medications like Unisom Sleeptabs (Doxylamine). Watch for changes in vision, severe dry mouth, trouble urinating, or constipation. The drowsiness caused by Unisom Sleeptabs (Doxylamine) can make you "unsteady" on your feet, leading to a higher chance of falls.
    Weight
    No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
    Upsides and benefits
    AmbienUnisom
    • 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.
    • Works well to help you fall asleep and doesn't make you feel groggy the next morning.
    • Has fewer side effects than prescription sleep aid medications.
    • Available over the counter without a prescription.
    • Not habit-forming like other sleep aids can be.
    Downsides and risks
    AmbienUnisom
    • Not typically used for long-term treatment because it can be habit-forming.
    • Some people find that it's 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, or lungs, or if you have a history of depression.
    • It's easy to become reliant on sleep medicines. In the long run, it's better to learn good sleeping habits and behavior so that you can sleep better naturally.
    • Shouldn't be used unless you have a full night to sleep.
    • You shouldn't drive after taking Unisom Sleeptabs (Doxylamine) until you know how it affects you.
    • Drinking alcohol while taking Unisom Sleeptabs (Doxylamine) isn't recommended.
    • It can increase the risk of falls, so elderly people shouldn't use Unisom Sleeptabs (Doxylamine).
    Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
    AmbienUnisom
    • Take 30 to 45 minutes before bedtime.
    • Only take it if you have time to sleep for at least 7 hours.
    • Very addictive. Meant for short-term treatment. Dependence can form after daily use for 2 weeks.
    • Can cause headache, drowsiness, and dizziness.
    • Can cause sleep-walking, sleep-driving, and sleep-eating.
    • Works best if taken without food.
    • Avoid alcohol and drugs.
    • Withdrawal symptoms usually resolve in 1 to 2 nights.
    • Report any confusion or changes in thoughts or behavior.
    • Starts working in 30 minutes.
    • Unisom Sleeptabs (Doxylamine) makes you tired, so take it before you go to sleep.
    • Don't take it with alcohol or other drugs that make you sleepy.
    • If you need to use it for more than a few weeks, talk with your doctor. A different medication might work better for you long-term.
    • Unisom comes in two different generic forms, doxylamine (Unisom SleepTabs) and diphenhydramine (other Unisom products). Both are antihistamines that help you sleep.
    Learn more
    More about AmbienSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
    More about UnisomSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert