Generic name: Zolpidem tartrate.

Ambien is a sedative. It works to reduce the activity of certain chemicals in the brain. It is a relatively new drug, and is chemically different from Halcion and Dalmane.

Quick Facts About Ambien


Used to treat insomnia on a short-term basis.

Ambien Dosage

Take before bed, exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If used every night for several weeks, medication loses its effectiveness. May cause dependency if used for a long time or in high doses.

  • Usual adult dose: 10 milligrams before bedtime, not to exceed 10 milligrams per day. Smaller doses may be prescribed if sensitive to medication. Seniors — 5 milligrams before bedtime.
  • Usual child dose: not generally prescribed for children.
  • Missed dose: take only as needed. Do not double doses.

Ambien Side Effects

Overdose symptoms:

excessive sleepiness or even light coma. If you suspect an overdose, immediately seek medical attention. Symptoms more severe if taking other drugs that depress central nervous system; multiple overdose has been fatal.

More common side effects: abdominal pain, abnormal vision, allergy, back pain, confusion, constipation, daytime drowsiness, depression, dizziness, double vision, drugged feeling, dry mouth, exaggerated feeling of well-being, flu-like symptoms, headache, indigestion, Inflammation of the throat,, insomnia, joint pain, lack of muscle coordination, lethargy, lightheadedness, nausea, rash, sinus inflammation, throbbing heartbeat, upper respiratory infection, urinary tract infection, vertigo.

Less common Ambien side effects: abnormal dreams, agitation, amnesia, anxiety, arthritis, bronchitis, burning sensation, chest pain, constipation, coughing, daytime sleeping, decreased mental alertness, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, difficulty concentrating, difficulty swallowing, diminished sensitivity to touch, dizziness on standing, emotional instability, eye irritation, falling, fatigue, fever, gas, general discomfort, hallucination, hiccups, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, increased sweating, infection, lack of bladder control, loss of appetite, menstrual disorder, migraine, muscle pain, nasal inflammation, nervousness, numbness, paleness, prickling or tingling sensation, rapid heartbeat, ringing in the ears, sleep disorder, speech difficulties, swelling due to fluid retention, taste abnormalities, tremor, unconsciousness, vomiting, weakness.

Rare side effects: abnormal tears or tearing, abscess, acne, aggravation of allergies, aggravation of high blood pressure, aggression, allergic reaction, altered production of saliva, anemia, belching, blisters, blood clot in lung, boils, breast pain, breast problems, breast tumors, bruising, chill with high temperature (followed by heat and perspiration), decreased sex drive, delusion, difficulties with blood circulation, difficulty urinating, excess hemoglobin in the blood, excessive urine production, eye pain, facial swelling due to fluid retention, fainting, false perceptions, feeling intoxicated, feeling strange, flushing, frequent urination, glaucoma, gout, heart attack, hemorrhoids, herpes infection, high cholesterol, hives, hot flashes, impotence, inability to urinate, increased appetite, increased tolerance to the drug, intestinal blockage, irregular heartbeat, joint degeneration, kidney failure, kidney pain, laryngitis, leg cramps, loss of reality, low blood pressure, mental deterioration, muscle spasms in arms and legs, muscle weakness, nosebleed, pain, painful urination, panic attacks, paralysis, pneumonia, rectal bleeding, rigidity, sciatica (lower back pain), sensation of seeing flashes of light or sparks, sensitivity to light, sleepwalking, speech difficulties, swelling of the eye, thinking abnormalities, thirst, tooth decay, uncontrolled leg movements, urge to go the bathroom, varicose veins, weight loss, yawning.


Inform your doctor before combining Ambien with:

the major tranquilizer Chlorpromazine (Thorazine); antidepressants such as Tofranil; other drugs that depress the central nervous system, including Valium, Percocet, and Benadryl.

Do not drink alcohol; can increase the side effects of this medication.

Special Cautions

If pregnant or planning to become pregnant, inform your doctor immediately. Babies may have withdrawal symptoms after birth and may seem limp and flaccid. Not recommended for use by nursing mothers.

Seniors are generally prescribed lower dosage levels.

Not generally prescribed for children.

  • Initially, may cause drowsiness and impair your ability to drive a car or operate machinery. Do not take part in any activity that requires alertness.
  • Immediately contact your doctor if you notice unusual changes in your thinking and/or behavior.
  • Can cause memory loss, avoid taking on overnight plane flights of less than 7 to 8 hours; “traveler’s amnesia” may occur.
  • Use with caution if you have kidney disease.
  • Consult with your doctor before stopping if taking Ambien for more than 1 to 2 weeks. May cause withdrawal symptoms ranging from unpleasant feelings to vomiting and cramps.

Note: provides accurate and independent information prescription pills, over-the-counter medicines and natural products. This material is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have questions about  dosage, or Ambien side effects, please contact your healthcare provider.