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What is Ambien and Ambien CR?
Ambien is a prescription medication used to treat insomnia, a sleep disorder that makes it difficult to fall and stay asleep. It belongs to a class of drugs called sedative-hypnotics, which work by producing a calming effect in the brain. Ambien is available in two forms: an immediate-release tablet and an extended-release tablet called Ambien CR.
How do Ambien and Ambien CR work?
Ambien interacts with a receptor complex in the brain known as GABA-BZ, which helps induce sleep. The immediate-release tablet helps you fall asleep faster, while the extended-release tablet has two layers that dissolve at different times to help you stay asleep. Ambien can also reduce the number of times you wake up during the night.
What are the possible side effects of Ambien?
Common side effects of Ambien include daytime drowsiness, dizziness, and loss of coordination. These side effects should decrease over time, but if they worsen, you should inform your doctor. Severe side effects of Ambien are rare but can include chest pain, irregular heartbeat, trouble breathing, feeling like you may pass out, thoughts of harming yourself, and sudden behavior changes. If you experience any severe side effects, seek medical help immediately.
Precautions to take while using Ambien
Ambien can be addictive and habit-forming, so it’s important to use it in moderation and store it away from children. If you’ve been using Ambien for a long time, you may develop a dependence or tolerance, so talk to your doctor if you think your dosage isn’t working. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid Ambien, as it can harm the baby. Inform your doctor of any medical history, especially liver and kidney disease, mental disorders, breathing problems, and substance use disorder. Avoid alcohol and other CNS depressants while taking Ambien, as they can worsen side effects.
The dosage prescribed for Ambien and Ambien CR
Ambien is taken orally for insomnia. It works best on an empty stomach, so avoid taking it after a heavy meal. Take Ambien right before bedtime, as it has a short onset. The dosage prescribed will depend on your medical condition, age, gender, and response to treatment. Ambien is available in 5mg and 10mg strengths, with the adult dosage being 10mg taken once at bedtime. Those 67 years and older are prescribed 5mg to be taken once at bedtime. If you’re taking Ambien for a prolonged period, taper your dosage before discontinuing to avoid withdrawal symptoms.