What is Ambien?
Ambien, also known as Zolpidem, is a medication used to treat insomnia. It was approved by the FDA in 1992 and is primarily used for patients who have difficulty falling asleep. Ambien reduces sleep latency, increases the duration of sleep, and decreases the number of awakenings during sleep. It is available in both quick-acting and controlled-release forms.
Ambien is used for the short-term treatment of insomnia in adults who have difficulty falling asleep.
While Ambien is generally safe when taken at prescribed doses, it may cause potential side effects such as dizziness, daytime drowsiness, weakness, tiredness, lightheadedness, feeling drugged, stuffy nose, loss of coordination, and rebound insomnia.
Ambien has CNS depressant effects that may include sedation, sleepiness, dizziness, and changes in psychomotor ability. It is recommended to take a single dose of 5mg for women and a single dose of 5 or 10mg for men before bedtime, at least 7-8 hours before the planned time of awakening. Ambien may cause impaired psychomotor performance and should not be taken before engaging in activities that require mental alertness or motor coordination.
Mechanism of Action
Ambien interacts with the GABA-BZ receptor complex and offers different pharmacological properties with the benzodiazepine class of drugs. It binds to the (BZ1) receptor specifically with an acute affinity for the alpha 1/alpha 5 subunits. Ambien gets metabolized to three pharmacologically by different hepatic cytochrome P450 (CYP) isoenzymes, primarily CYP3A4, but also CYP1A2 and CYP2C9.
Use in Pregnancy and Nursing
Ambien is considered a pregnancy category C drug. There are currently no adequate studies completed in pregnant women to determine the safety of Ambien use during pregnancy. Ambien should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit exceeds the potential risk to the fetus. The effect of Ambien on the nursing infant is unknown at this time. Caution should be observed when Ambien is administered to a nursing mother.