Intermezzo (Zolpidem) Prescription Facts

Intermezzo is a prescription medication, also known as zolpidem in its generic form, that is taken as a sublingual tablet. Intermezzo is used for the treatment of insomnia. It’s classified as a non-barbiturate and non-benzodiazepine hypnotic; however, Intermezzo is similar to benzodiazepines in many ways. Intermezzo is a central nervous system depressant. It slows neural activity in the brain -which is how it works to help with insomnia. Intermezzo is prescribed to help patients both fall asleep and stay asleep. Zolpidem should only be taken if someone has at least four hours of sleep left in their sleep schedule. As with other similar sleep aids, Intermezzo is only prescribed for short-term use due to its potential for addiction and dependence.

Intermezzo Regulations

Intermezzo is classified as a Schedule IV drug in the United States. This means it can be prescribed and does have medical uses, but it can also be habit-forming. According to prescribing information, Intermezzo starts working quickly and it’s best when taken on an empty stomach. Patients should always let their physician know if they’re taking any other substances, including vitamins, supplements, and over-the-counter medications. The medication may cause withdrawal symptoms, especially if it’s used at high doses or for extended periods of time. Intermezzo sublingual tablets shouldn’t be chewed, crushed or swallowed. Nothing should be eaten after taking Intermezzo.

Most Commonly Abused Drugs Containing Zolpidem

As was touched on, zolpidem is the generic name for Intermezzo. The same drug is sold under the brand-name Ambien. Ambien use has caused some controversy and problems for patients. There are cases of sleepwalking and dangerous activities associated with the use of Ambien. People who used the medication have reported instances where they wake up the next morning to realize they’ve done certain things but have no memory of it. Ambien has also led to an increasing number of dependence and addiction cases. Continued exposure to Ambien can change brain function and pathways, which can lead to addiction.

How Intermezzo Affects the Brain and Body

Intermezzo is a central nervous system depressant. It slows the functionality of the brain and body. When someone uses Intermezzo, it starts working quickly to increase the effects of the neurotransmitter GABA. With Intermezzo usage, there’s a calming effect that helps people fall asleep. Other effects of Intermezzo can include slurred speech, impaired coordination and memory problems. People who take Intermezzo may seem as if they are intoxicated from alcohol. They may have problems walking, or they may seem dizzy or confused. People may also feel lingering fatigue the day after taking Intermezzo.

Half-Life of Intermezzo

There are two recommended dosages of Intermezzo -1.75 mg is typically prescribed to women and smaller people and 3.5 mg is prescribed to men and larger people. Intermezzo is supposed to be used once a night as needed. “Half-life” is a term that refers to how long it takes half the dose of a drug to be eliminated from the system. The elimination half-life of a dose of 3.5 mg is around 2.5 hours, but can range from 1.4 to 3.6 hours. This means it takes around five hours for an entire dose of Intermezzo to be eliminated from the body. There may be metabolites left behind by zolpidem, however. Therefore, complete clearance of the drug could take up to 14 hours. This is still a very short half-life compared to a lot of prescription medications.

Factors That Influence How Long Intermezzo Stays in Your System

While the half-life information is based on averages, there is some variance in how long Intermezzo stays in the system. Individual factors, such as how much of the drug is used and how often someone uses it, affect the time. Other factors that influence how long the drug stays in the system include gender, age, body mass, how well their organs function, body fat percentage and even urinary pH. For example, younger people tend to metabolize prescription drugs like Intermezzo more quickly than elderly people. If someone eats a meal before taking Intermezzo, it can affect the clearance time. While being hydrated can lead to faster clearance, eating a lot beforehand can mean a slower clearance time. The larger a dose of Intermezzo a person takes, the longer it will likely take their body to metabolize it. If someone combines Intermezzo with another substance, such as alcohol, this can also affect the elimination time. Finally, for people who regularly take Intermezzo, it could take longer for it to be eliminated from the system. Intermezzo can accumulate in the body.

How Long Does Intermezzo Stay in Your Urine, Hair, and Blood

Intermezzo may show up on certain drug tests, but most standard test panels aren’t going to show the drug. Usually, for a drug like Intermezzo to be detected a more advanced test would be required. Metabolites are what drug tests usually screen for. Metabolites are left behind as the body processes a drug. There is a specific metabolite of Intermezzo that can show up in a urine test for up to three days after the last dose. In a blood test, the detection time for the drug is shorter than that of a urine test. The use of Intermezzo would, therefore, show up in a blood test for less than 72 hours after the last dose. With a hair test, use of Intermezzo could show up three to five weeks after the last dose.

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, today can be the day to make a change. Contact our addiction and treatment specialists at The Recovery Village.

Medical Disclaimer

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.