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) 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.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.
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
Reviews for Unisom
58%
+9% better vs. Ambien
32%
+18% better vs. Ambien
11%
-5% worse vs. Ambien
585 reviews
Have you used Unisom Sleeptabs (doxylamine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
AmbienUnisom
  • 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 »

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. 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
Prescription onlyPrescription or OTC
Available as
AmbienUnisom
  • Pill
  • Oral spray
  • Sublingual pill
  • Pill
  • Chewable tablet
  • Liquid
Used for
AmbienUnisom
Risk factors for serious side effects
AmbienUnisom
  • 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 »
  • 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
Detailed Unisom Sleeptabs (doxylamine) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy

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.

Alcohol
AmbienUnisom
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs when taking Ambien (zolpidem).
  • Don't take it with alcohol or other drugs that make you sleepy.
  • Drinking alcohol while taking Unisom Sleeptabs (Doxylamine) isn't recommended.
Kidneys and liver
AmbienUnisom
  • 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
AmbienUnisom
  • 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.
  • Not habit-forming like other sleep aids can be.
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.
  • Generic is available.
  • 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 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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
Have you used Ambien (zolpidem)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about UnisomSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Unisom Sleeptabs (doxylamine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it