Ambien is a new generation hypnotic drug that improves the ability of falling asleep and prolongs sleep duration. This hypnotic medication exerts a pronounced hypnotic and sedative, and, to a lesser extent, anxiolytic, muscle relaxing and anticonvulsant effects.
The manufacturer of Ambien is the pharmaceutical company Sanofi Aventis, which supplies the hypnotic in the form of oral tablets. Ambien tablets are available in two forms:
- 5 mg, 10 mg immediate release tablets (Ambien).
- 5 mg, 12.5 mg extended release tablets (Ambien CR).
Ambien is prescribed for adults and adolescents aged 18 and over for short-term treatment of insomnia (no more than one month). The drug reduces the time of falling asleep and the time of wakefulness during the sleep, increases the duration of deep sleep and the phase of fast sleep.
Treatment for insomnia should begin with low effective doses of Ambien. Since women have a lower hypnotic clearance than men do, the therapeutic doses may vary.
- The recommended initial dose of hypnotic for women is one 5 mg Ambien tablet or one 6.25 mg Ambien CR tablet per day.
- The initial dose of the hypnotic for men can range from 5 mg to 10 mg (immediate release tablet) or from 6.25 mg to 12.5 mg (extended release tablet) per day.
Fragile patients, patients with mild or moderate hepatic impairment, and elderly people are prescribed one Ambien tablet of 5 mg/6.25 mg once a day.
Ambien tablets should be taken whole, without crushing or dividing. Sleeping pills are taken immediately before going to sleep, as a single dose.
Ambien can interact with other drugs and have either positive or negative impact over the body.
Mutual increase in action and respiratory depression are possiblein simultaneous use of Ambien with drugs that depress the CNS, like antidepressants, opioids, benzodiazepines, and other hypnotics.
CYP3A4 inducers (Rifampin, St. John’s wort) reduce the hypnotic effect of Ambien, while CYP3A4 inhibitors (Ketoconazole, grapefruit juice), on the contrary, increase the effect of the drug.
To maintain a stable blood concentration of Ambien, it is recommended not to combine the hypnotic with drugs that may alter its plasma concentrations.
Particular care should be taken when using Ambien CR tablets with other sedative-hypnotics agents, since this combination can cause serious side effects.
As a rule, Ambien is well tolerated by patients when used in therapeutic doses. The most frequent side effects, caused by the short-term use of these sleeping pills, come from the CNS, and namely: daytime drowsiness, headache, and dizziness.
However, if a patient does not comply with the dosage regimen and takes Ambien for a long time, he may develop addiction and drug dependence.
Possible side effects of prolonged use are hypnotic ataxia, lethargy, anterograde amnesia and rebound insomnia.
Elderly patients are particularly susceptible to the development of adverse reactions. Adjustmentof Ambien dosage regimen,based on individual tolerance,will help reduce the risk of side effects.
Patients should avoid taking Ambien, if they do not have the opportunity to dedicate 7-8 or more hours to sleep.
To make Ambien tablets act faster, they are recommended to be taken one hour before or two hours after a meal.
The following symptoms may persistfor several days after the end of the treatment course with Ambien: nervousness, hot flushes, dizziness, abdominal pain.