Zolpidem is used to treat a certain sleep problem (insomnia) in adults. If you have trouble falling asleep, it helps you fall asleep faster, so you can get a better night’s rest. Zolpidem belongs to a class of drugs called sedative-hypnotics. It acts on your brain to produce a calming effect.
This medication is usually limited to short treatment periods of 1 to 2 weeks or less.
How to use
Take this medication by mouth on an empty stomach as directed by your doctor, usually once a night. Since zolpidem works quickly, take it right before you get into bed. Do not take it with or after a meal because it will not work as quickly.
Do not take a dose of this drug unless you have time for a full night’s sleep of at least 7 to 8 hours. If you have to wake up before that, you may have some memory loss and may have trouble safely doing any activity that requires alertness, such as driving or operating machinery. (See also Precautions section.) Dosage is based on your gender, age, medical condition, other medications you may be taking, and response to treatment. Do not increase your dose, take it more often, or use it for longer than prescribed. Do not take more than 10 milligrams a day. Women are usually prescribed a lower dose because the drug is removed from the body more slowly than in men. Older adults are usually prescribed a lower dose to decrease the risk of side effects.
If you suddenly stop using this medication, you may have withdrawal symptoms (such as nausea, vomiting, flushing, stomach cramps, nervousness, shakiness). To help prevent withdrawal, your doctor may lower your dose slowly. Withdrawal is more likely if you have used zolpidem for a long time or in high doses. Tell your doctor or pharmacist right away if you have withdrawal.
Dizziness may occur. If this effect persists or worsens, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
This medication may make you sleepy during the day. Tell your doctor if you have daytime drowsiness. Your dose may need to be adjusted.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: memory loss, mental/mood/behavior changes (such as new/worsening depression, abnormal thoughts, thoughts of suicide, hallucinations, confusion, agitation, aggressive behavior, anxiety).
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: kidney disease, liver disease, mental/mood problems (such as depression, thoughts of suicide), personal or family history of a substance use disorder (such as overuse of or addiction to drugs/alcohol), personal or family history of sleepwalking, lung/breathing problems (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease-COPD, sleep apnea), a certain muscle disease (myasthenia gravis).
The effects of this drug can last even after you wake up the next day. If you did not get 7 to 8 hours of sleep or took other medications that made you sleepy or are more sensitive to this drug, you may feel alert but not think clearly enough to drive. You may also experience dizziness or blurred/double vision. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you more dizzy. Wait at least 8 hours after taking this drug before driving, and do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. This medication may also increase the risk of falls. Avoid alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis).
Children may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially dizziness and hallucinations.