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Ambien Side Effects

Ambien (generic name, Zolpidem) is used for the treatment (short term) of insomnia (i.e. a condition where the person has difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, or early awakening).

Ambien Side Effects

According to observations in controlled clinical trials, the most commonly observed Ambien side effects were drowsiness (2%), dizziness (1%), and diarrhea (1%). These side effects are of course typical of most sleep medicines.

If you are taking Ambien and any of the following side effects occur, they are considered quite serious and use of Ambien should be discontinued and a Doctor contacted immediately. These serious Ambien side effects are - an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, face, or tongue; hives); or hallucinations, abnormal behavior, or severe confusion.

It is quite possible for side effects other than those listed here to occur. If this happens and/or if any seem particularly strange or bothersome, contact a Doctor immediately.

Special Ambien Precautions

Sleep problems are typically temporary and medication should be required for a week or two at most. Insomnia that lasts longer could be a sign of some other medical problem(s) and if you find that you need Ambien for more than 7 to 10 days, be sure to let your doctor know.

Also, when sleep medications such as Ambien are used every night for more than a few weeks, there may be some loss of effectiveness. Remember as well, that you can potentially become dependent on some sleep medications if you use them for an extended period of time or at high doses. Do not suddenly stop taking Ambien if you have been taking it for more than one or two weeks. This may cause uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms so you should definitely speak to your doctor if you need to discontinue treatment with Ambien.

Some individuals using Ambien (especially those taking serotonin-boosting antidepressants) have experienced unusual changes in their behavior and/or thinking. Inform your doctor if you notice such changes.

Ambien should be used with caution if you have liver problems as it will take longer for its effects to wear off. Also, if you have breathing problems, they may actually become worse when you use Ambien.

Exercise caution when driving, operating machinery, or performing other hazardous activities. Ambien will cause drowsiness and may cause dizziness. If you experience drowsiness or dizziness, these activities should definitely be avoided.

Ambien (and other sleep medicines) may cause a special type of memory loss. It should not be taken on an overnight airplane flight of less than 7/8 hours (since "traveler's amnesia" may occur).

Ambien should be taken just before bedtime and you may possibly experience some carryover effects the next day.

If you are pregnant or intend to become pregnant, let your doctor know immediately - babies whose mothers take some sedative/hypnotic type drugs may have withdrawal symptoms after birth, and may seem limp and flaccid. Ambien is not recommended for use by nursing mothers.

Do not drink alcohol while taking Ambien. Alcohol will increase drowsiness and may increase dizziness while you are taking it, which of course could be dangerous for you.

If Ambien is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Ambien with any of the following drugs - the major tranquilizer, chlorpromazine (Thorazine); the antidepressant drug, imipramine (Tofranil); Serotonin-boosting antidepressants such as Paxil, Prozac, and Zoloft; drugs that depress the central nervous system, including Valium, Percocet, and Benadryl.

Warning: This information is intended to supplement, not be a substitute for the expertise and judgment of a doctor. Please consult a doctor for final and more detailed information about the possible side effects of this prescription medication.
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