Zolpidem Overview

Zolpidem is a generic sedative-hypnotic medication. It is also sold under the commonly prescribed brand-name medications Ambien, Ambien CR, Intermezzo and Zolpimist. Ambien and Ambien CR are sold in tablet form, while Intermezzo is a sublingual version of the drug. Zolpimist can be sprayed into the mouth or on the tongue.

Zolpidem is prescribed for insomnia as it tends to make people using it feel drowsy very quickly. Zolpidem can also be given to patients who have trouble staying asleep. People who take zolpidem should go to bed soon after they ingest it and plan to get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep. If someone gets up too soon after taking zolpidem, they’re at risk for sleepwalking or doing dangerous things while asleep. Zolpidem’s side effects can include not only drowsiness, but also memory, coordination and alertness impairment.

Before someone is prescribed zolpidem, their doctor should have a full rundown of any other substances that they regularly use. This can include vitamins, supplements, prescription and non-prescription medications and alcohol. Patients should also speak with their doctors about any past substance abuse issues they may have had. A doctor should be aware if a patient has ever consumed large amounts of alcohol, used illicit drugs or abused prescription medications before prescribing zolpidem.

Zolpidem Abuse

Zolpidem is a short-acting hypnotic drug. Although it is not a benzodiazepine drug, it does have effects which are similar to those of benzodiazepines. As a sedative-hypnotic, zolpidem slows brain functionality -which can help induce sleep. People often abuse zolpidem because it can create a sense of euphoria or pleasant relaxation. Much like benzodiazepines, zolpidem works on the GABA receptors in the brain, creating a calming effect. Zolpidem helps the brain release more GABA and increases its effects. GABA is a neurotransmitter that calms neural overactivity. As well as inducing sleep, Zolpidem can reduce anxiety and it has muscle relaxing properties.

To avoid the risk of zolpidem abuse, this drug is intended as a short-term treatment. The longer someone uses zolpidem, the greater the risk of abuse and addiction. When someone uses zolpidem in high does, they’re more likely to experience pleasurable effects which can contribute to abuse. Anytime someone is using zolpidem non-medicinally or outside of the doctor’s instructions, it’s considered abuse. Specific signs of Zolpidem abuse can include taking large doses, taking it more often than prescribed, using it recreationally or mixing it with other substances like alcohol. Long-term effects of Zolpidem abuse can include addiction and dependence, as well as a variety of psychological and physical symptoms.

Zolpidem Addiction

People often wonder if you can become addicted to zolpidem. Any time a drug is interacting with neurotransmitters and potentially causing a dopamine or reward response, addiction is possible. To lower the risk of substance use disorder, it’s important to use it only as directed. Over the years as zolpidem has become more popular, there have been more instances of substance use disorder associated with it. Most zolpidem addiction begins when people develop a tolerance to the drug. They need higher doses to get the same effects. People start to realize that along with the drug’s sleep-inducing properties, they like the other effects it gives them when consumed at higher doses. That creates the potential for substance use disorder. This is especially true for people who have a history of personal addiction, or addiction in their family.

It’s also important to note that while it’s a milder drug, zolpidem has many of the same psychological and physical effects as benzodiazepines like Xanax and Valium. Xanax and Valium addiction, abuse and overdoses are a significant problem in the United States. Mixing zolpidem with alcohol is another common practice, which is highly dangerous. This practice can increase the chances of a polysubstance addiction problem. Mixing zolpidem with other substances can also lead to a higher likelihood of a dangerous overdose, which can result in coma or death.

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.