What is Zolidem

Zolidem is an hypnotic or a sedative drug, that affects the unbalanced chemicals in the brain of people with insomnia.

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There are different forms of Zolpidem. The immediate-release forms are Ambien, Intermezzo, Edluar and Zolpimist. These drugs help one fall asleep. The Ambien CR is an extended-release form of the drug. It has a first layer that dissolves quickly and helps the person fall asleep. The second layer dissolves very slowly that keeps one asleep.

Based on the patients sleeping problem, the doctor will decide which form of zolpidem is useful for the patient.

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Brand names with manufacturer

Ambien, Edluar, Zolpimist, Intermezzo

Type: Prescription/ OTC

Prescription Only, Schedule IV, Class C drug



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Zolpidem is prescribed for short-term treatment of insomnia. Zolpidem helps one fall asleep, but is not effective in keeping one asleep.

What should I know before taking this drug

How to take it

Before taking the drug, read the medication guide or the Patient Information Leaflet if available. Take the medication on an empty stomach by mouth, once a night as directed by the physician. Zolpidem is an quick action drug, so make sure you take it right before you sleep.

The drug should not be taken with or after a meal. This will prevent it from working quickly. The drug should only be taken when one can take at least 7 to 8 hours of full night’s sleep.

Swallow the Ambien CR whole. Do not crush, chew or break the Ambien CR tablet. Do not swallow the Edluar or Intermezzo tablet. Keep the tablet under the tongue and let it dissolve in the mouth without water. In case of spray Zolpimist, prime the spray 5 times into the air away from the face. Then use it on your face.

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Adverse reactions/side effects

The drug can lead to many side effects. Some of the side effects include:

Night eating syndrome or sleep-eating

  • Dizziness
  • Hallucinations
  • Ataxia or poor motor coordination
  • Euphoria or dysphoria
  • Impaired or loss of judgement and reasoning
  • Uninhibited extroversion in a social or an interpersonal environment
  • Change in thinking pattern
  • Daytime drowsiness
  • Stuffy nose, dry mouth
  • Nose or throat irritation
  • Feeling like one might pass out
  • Chest pain or shortness of breath
  • Constipation

When the drug is stopped, the following withdrawal symptoms may be seen:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Increased impulsivity
  • Rebound insomnia

In some people, there is unexplained sleepwalking seen. Some have been found carrying out binge eating when asleep, driving in sleep or carrying out tasks when sleeping. A few have also reported cases of sexual parasomnia or having sex when asleep. Many people have no memory of the tasks or activities they did when asleep.

When not to take the medicine

Do not take the medicine if you have drunk alcohol during the day or just a little time before taking the drug. Do not take the drug if you have kidney disease, liver disease, asthma, bronchitis, sleep apnea, myasthenia gravis. Those with a history of mental illnesses, depression, suicidal thoughts, etc. should not be given zolpidem.



The drug is not recommended for anyone under the age of 18 years.

Old people

The sedative effects of zolpidem is stronger in older adults. Thus, exert caution when prescribing the elderly.

Pregnant women

Tell the doctor if you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant before taking the drug. Zolpidem belongs to the pregnancy category C drug by the FDA. Thus, the drug is only given to a pregnant woman if the benefits are more than the risks.

Lactating women

Zolpidem can pass through breast-milk and harm the nursing baby. Do not take this drug is breast-feeding.


It has been found people who take the drug have no memory of the activities they did after taking the drug. This includes driving, walking, eating, calling up people or even indulging in intercourse. Thus, if something like this happens to you, speak to the physician and stop taking the drug.

What should I do if

I miss dose(s)

Zolpidem is hard to miss as it is to be taken at bedtime.

I take over dose

Call the emergency number or helpline number of any hospital and call for help. Moreover, overdose of zolpidem may lead to fatal consequences. The symptoms of overdose of zolpidem include:

  • Sleepiness
  • Confusion
  • Shallow breathing,
  • Light-headedness
  • Fainting
  • Coma

What to discuss with doctor/pharmacist

One may need to take a lower dose if they are taking other medications such as cold medicine, pain medicine, muscle relaxants, or drugs for depression, anxiety or seizures. So speak about any changes in the dosage, if required.

Drug interactions

Zolpidem may interact with other drugs such as OTC medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

Dosage form

Edluar, Intermezzo, and Ambien CR is available in tablet form. Zolpimist is available in form of a spray.


The immediate-release tablets dose for women is 5 mg and for men is 5 to 10 mg orally daily before bedtime. The sublingual tablets for women is 5 mg and men is 5 to 10 mg placed under the tongue to disintegrate once a day before bedtime. Make sure one has at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep.


Keep the drug in a cool, dry place. Do not freeze the spray. Keep away from direct sunlight and moisture.

Additional information, if any

Do not stop the drug immediately after long-term use. It may lead to severe withdrawal symptoms. Talk to your doctor about reducing the dosage gradually before you completely stop the drug.

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