ZOLPIDEM (Ambien): What is used for?

What is Zolpidem?

Zolpidem is a drug used to treat insomnia. The product ingredient is Zolpidem tartrate.

The brand names of Zolpidem in United States are: Ambien, Ambien CR, Edluar, Intermezzo, and Zolpimist.

Mechanism of action (MOA) of Zolpidem

Specific agonist of central receptors belonging to the complex of the macromolecular receptor GABA-omega that modulates the opening of the chlorine ion channel.

Therapeutic indications, uses and benefits of Zolpidem

Insomnia in adults, when it limits the patient’s activity or subjects him/her to an important stress situation.

Dosage of Zolpidem

Adults: recommended dose 10 mg/day, before bedtime.
Elderly or weakened, liver failure: 5 mg; total dose should not exceed 10 mg.
Do not exceed 2 weeks, max. 4 weeks including gradual withdrawal.

Mode of administration

Take immediately before going to bed or in bed, and do not give any additional doses again during the same night.

Contraindications of Zolpidem

Hypersensitivity to this active ingredient, myasthenia gravis, sleep apnea syndrome, severe liver failure, acute and/or severe respiratory failure.

Warnings and precautions with Zolpidem

Elderly, respiratory failure, liver failure, psychotic illness, depression, history of alcohol or drug abuse.

Risk of inducing anterograde amnesia, psychiatric and paradoxical reactions (more frequent in the elderly), somnambulism and lowering of the level of consciousness (which can lead to falls and consequently cause serious injuries).

After continued use there is a risk of tolerance, physical and psychological dependence. Sudden interruption of treatment leads to withdrawal symptoms.

Do not use in anxiety associated with depression or as primary treatment of psychotic illness. Re-evaluate the patient’s clinical situation at regular intervals.

Risk of psychomotor disturbance the following day, which increases if administered: the dose with less than 8 h of margin before performing activities that require a state of mental alertness; a higher dose than recommended; concomitant with another CNS depressant or with other drugs that increase plasma concentrations of zolpidem, or with alcohol or drugs.

Liver failure

Contraindicated in severe hepatic insufficiency, as it can precipitate encephalopathy.
Caution in hepatic insufficiency use doses of 5 mg, as they do not rinse the drug as quickly as normal individuals.

Kidney failure

Caution. Dosage adjustment is not necessary.

Interactions with Zolpidem

Enhancement of the depressant effect of the CNS with: neuroleptics, hypnotics, anxiolytics/sedatives, antidepressants, narcotic analgesics, antiepileptics, anesthetics and antihistamines sedatives.

Efficiency decreased by: CYP3A4 inducers such as rifampicin.

Plasma concentrations increased by: inhibitors of CYP3A4 as ketoconazole.

Sedative effect enhanced by: alcohol.


There is not enough data to assess its safety. It should be avoided during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester.


Because benzodiazepines and benzodiazepine-like agents are excreted in breast milk, zolpidem should not be given to mothers during breastfeeding.

Effects on driving ability

Zolpidem induces sleep. It can alter the ability to react, hinder concentration and produce amnesia, especially at the beginning of treatment or after an increase in dose. Drowsiness may persist the morning after medication administration. It is not advisable to drive vehicles or operate machinery whose use requires special attention or concentration until at least 8 hours after taking the medication.

Adverse reactions and side effects of Zolpidem

Daytime drowsiness, affective dulling, decreased alertness, confusion, fatigue, headache, dizziness, aggravation of insomnia, amnesia, hallucination, agitation, nightmares, ataxia, vertigo, diplopia, depression, back pain, muscle weakness, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, upper and lower respiratory tract infection, skin reactions.

Zolpidem overdose

Flumazenil antidote.


Source: The content of this active ingredient has been written taking into account the clinical and molecular information of all medicines authorised and marketed in the United States under the Unique Ingredient Identifier (UNII) by the Substance Registration System (SRS) of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the United States Pharmacopeia (USP).

In order to know in detail the information authorized by the FDA for each drug, you should consult the corresponding medication guide authorized by the FDA.


UNII: 7K383OQI23
PubChem CID: 5732
NCI Thesaurus: C62000


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