Prescription onlyLower-cost generic available

Ambien

(Zolpidem)

  • Pill
  • Extended release
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Helps you sleep.

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Prescription onlyLower-cost generic available

Our pharmacists’ bottom line

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.

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  • 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.
  • 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.

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Side effects for Ambien (Zolpidem)

From clinical trials of Ambien / Insomnia ( 313)

  • DrowsinessDrowsiness8% for Ambien vs.5% for placebo
  • DizzinessDizziness5% for Ambien vs.1% for placebo
  • AllergyAllergy4% for Ambien vs.1% for placebo
  • Sinus inflammationSinus inflammation4% for Ambien vs.2% for placebo
  • Dry mouthDry mouth3% for Ambien vs.1% for placebo
  • Back painBack pain3% for Ambien vs.2% for placebo
  • Sore throatSore throat3% for Ambien vs.1% for placebo
  • Lack of energyLack of energy3% for Ambien vs.1% for placebo
  • Drugged feelingDrugged feeling3% for Ambien vs.0% for placebo
  • DiarrheaDiarrhea3% for Ambien vs.2% for placebo

What to expect when you take Ambien (Zolpidem) for Insomnia

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Tips from our pharmacists
  • 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.

Risks and Warnings for Ambien (Zolpidem)

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    • Higher risk if:
    • Continuous use for 2 weeks or more

    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.

Means that some groups have a high risk of experiencing this side effect

Tips from pharmacists and people taking Ambien (Zolpidem)

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The FDA category for this medication is C. It is advised that you: Weigh risks vs. benefits
Pregnancy
Alcohol
  • Tips from our pharmacists
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs.
  • Risks from our pharmacists
  • Ambien (Zolpidem) can be disinhibiting (like alcohol) or cause hallucinations. Tell your doctor if you notice any unusual changes in behavior.
  • Do not consume alcohol before taking this medication. You may not be yourself, or remember what you did.
    Age: 37
    Gender: Man
    Taken for: Insomnia (short-term treatment)
Food
  • Tips from our pharmacists
  • Works best if taken without food.
  • Less effective on consecutive nights. Try to use every OTHER night at most, and of course, only if needed. The less you use it, the more effective it will be. Also, don't eat ANYTHING for at least 2 hours before taking it or else it most likely won't work, and even if it does, it's way less effective and a bad habit to start. Most people don't seem to understand that "don't eat for 2 hours before taking" doesn't mean just no meals, you can't go snacking on anything either.
    Age: 25
    Gender: Man
    Taken for: Insomnia (short-term treatment)
  • try to take at the same time each night. also, drugs by themselves may put you to sleep. but the quality of that sleep requires us to change habits like watching tv in bed, laptop in bed, eating late, etc.... meditation, counting sheep, allowing thoughts to come and go without acting on them are positive ways of relaxing oneself and allowing the medication to do its thing. i also find taking without food worked best for me.
    Age: 43
    Gender: Man
    Taken for: Insomnia (short-term treatment)
  • Works great for me. Try to take on an empty stomach (at least 3 hours since last meal) and it's much more effective.
    Age: 43
    Gender: Man
    Taken for: Insomnia (short-term treatment)
Kidneys & liver
  • Upsides and downsides from our pharmacists
  • Might not be safe if you have problems with your liver, kidneys, or lungs, or if you have a history of depression.
Sleep
  • Upsides and downsides from our pharmacists
  • 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.
  • Tips from our pharmacists
  • 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.
  • Risks from our pharmacists
  • 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.
  • It helped getting to sleep, but didn't stop me from waking up during the night (19 times according to my fitbit)
    Taken for: Insomnia (short-term treatment)
    Duration taken: Less than a week
  • I split the tablets, usually taking only 2.5 mg. Helps me get to sleep quickly with no side effects.
    Age: 71
    Gender: Woman
    Taken for: Insomnia (short-term treatment)
  • Helps me get to sleep but not particularly effective in helping me stay asleep in new time zone
    Taken for: Insomnia (short-term treatment)
    Duration taken: A year or so