A growing number of people are prescribed sleep aids. Insomnia is one of the most common conditions people in the United States face. There are tens of millions of estimated sufferers of insomnia. Not getting adequate sleep can impact every aspect of a person’s physical and mental health. Intermezzo (zolpidem) is a common prescription sleep aid. Intermezzo has a calming, relaxing effect on the body. While Intermezzo has therapeutic benefits, it’s classified as a Schedule IV drug in the U.S. due to its risk of dependence and addiction.
Intermezzo is a relatively new brand-name prescription drug. The generic name is zolpidem, which is classified as a sedative-hypnotic. Zolpidem is also sold under the brand name Ambien. Intermezzo, a sublingual tablet, is prescribed to patients to treat insomnia. The drug is intended only as a short-term insomnia medication. Along with being taken before bed, Intermezzo is unique in that it can be taken during the night for people as well. Common side effects include nausea, headache, daytime drowsiness and dizziness.
Another risk of Intermezzo and zolpidem is addiction and dependence. Intermezzo is not a benzodiazepine, but it acts similarly to this drug class. Benzodiazepines include commonly abused drugs like Xanax and Klonopin. Due to the way that Intermezzo affects the brain, it may cause people to feel euphoric or pleasantly relaxed -which can often lead to addiction. If someone abuses Intermezzo, they are more at risk of becoming addicted or dependent. Intermezzo is intended only for short-term use to reduce this risk.
Intermezzo is a sublingual tablet, meaning it’s placed on the tongue and dissolved. The two dosage strengths of Intermezzo are 3.5 mg and 1.75 mg. The intermezzo 3.5 mg sublingual tablet is beige and round. It’s printed with “ZZ.” The Intermezzo 1.75 mg sublingual tablet is yellow, round and also printed with “ZZ.” The dosage a person is prescribed depends primarily on individual factors such as body weight, gender and age. When someone is prescribed Intermezzo, there is a dosing time chart available as well. This chart shows when a dose should be taken, based on patient’s sleeping schedule.
Before someone is prescribed Intermezzo, a physician will often ask about any history they may have with substance use disorder. Patients should let their doctor know if they have ever had a problem with prescription drug abuse, illegal drugs or alcohol. Intermezzo does have the potential to be addictive. Intermezzo affects the brain neurotransmitter GABA. GABA is responsible for calming neural activity. Intermezzo increases the effects of GABA. As a result, a person who uses this medication feels more relaxed and drowsy. Intermezzo is classified as a central nervous system depressant. Other CNS depressants include benzodiazepines, alcohol and opioids.
Intermezzo doesn’t have as high of an addiction potential as opioids, but the risk exists nonetheless. The more someone’s brain is exposed to Intermezzo, the more likely it is that substance use disorder will occur. Intermezzo, by affecting GABA, can also trigger a dopamine response -which is often how substance use disorder starts. The best way to reduce the risk of Intermezzo addiction is to use it only as prescribed. Patients should take only the prescribed dose and shouldn’t take it for longer than instructed by their doctor. Intermezzo should not be combined with other substances. Abusing Intermezzo and combining it with other substances increases the likelihood of substance use disorder and dangerous outcomes.
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The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.