What Is Intermezzo?

Intermezzo is a brand-name prescription sleep aid, also known as zolpidem in its generic form. The recommended dose of Intermezzo is 1.75 mg for women and 3.5 mg for men. Zolpidem is also sold under the brand name Ambien as well; however, Intermezzo is different from Ambien in a few ways. First, it’s a sublingual tablet which is dissolved on the tongue. Intermezzo can also be taken when someone has only four hours of bedtime left. For example, it could be taken if someone woke up in the middle of the night. Ambien should only be used when a person has 7 to 8 hours of bedtime.

Intermezzo is classified as a sedative-hypnotic but it has similarities to benzodiazepines, such as Xanax and Klonopin. When Intermezzo is taken, it starts working quickly. The drug affects GABA neurotransmitters and receptors. GABA is a naturally-occurring brain neurotransmitter that plays a calming role in the body. When nerve activity in the brain is overactive, GABA reduces it. If someone’s brain isn’t naturally producing those calming chemicals, it can cause insomnia. Since Intermezzo improves the effects of GABA, it has a calming, sedative effect.

Along with drowsiness, side effects of Intermezzo can include memory impairment, dizziness, daytime drowsiness, loss of coordination and feeling lightheaded. Some people report feeling drugged when they use Intermezzo. Intermezzo is only prescribed for a few weeks. It’s not a long-term insomnia treatment because it is a habit-forming drug. People can also form a physical dependence on the drug after only a few weeks of using Intermezzo.

Mixing Alcohol and Intermezzo

People should never mix alcohol and Intermezzo. Additionally, Intermezzo can react badly with benzodiazepines, tricyclic antidepressants and opioids. All of these substances are central nervous system depressants, including Intermezzo. Combining something like alcohol and Intermezzo can cause profound impairment. For example, a person may seem extremely intoxicated and suffer side effects, including falling, lack of coordination, slurred speech, confusion, and impaired thinking and judgment. All of the symptoms that occur with either alcohol or Intermezzo alone are amplified when the two are combined.

While taking Intermezzo, people do things such as sleepwalking, eating, having sex, or even leaving their house and driving without knowing it. People report finding out they did these things the next morning and have no memory of it. These occurrences are incredibly dangerous, and some people have even committed crimes without remembering or having any awareness. Mixing alcohol and Intermezzo can increase the chances of these side effects and blackouts.

When multiple CNS depressants are combined, overdose can happen as well. The risk of overdosing on Intermezzo alone is somewhat rare. When alcohol and Intermezzo are combined, that risk becomes significantly higher. Both alcohol and Intermezzo slow breathing and the heart rate. If they’re combined, they can slow breathing down to a dangerous level. Someone who overdoses on alcohol and Intermezzo may lose consciousness, go into a coma, suffer brain damage or die.

In Summary—Side Effects, Interactions and Blackouts of Mixing Alcohol and Intermezzo

Patients are warned against combining alcohol and Intermezzo. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for people to recreationally mix the two substances despite the severe, dangerous outcomes. From being impaired to blacking out, the practice of mixing alcohol and Intermezzo is risky and unpredictable. There is also the potential for a fatal overdose. Before someone is prescribed Intermezzo, they should let their physician know about any substances they regularly use, including alcohol.

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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.