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Ambien

What is Ambien

Ambien is in a class of drugs called sedative/hypnotics or sleep medications. Ambien affects chemicals in your brain that may become unbalanced and cause insomnia.

Ambien induces sleep and causes relaxation. It is used to treat sleep disorders such as trouble falling asleep, waking up many times during the night, or waking up too early in the morning. Ambien is for short-term use only--usually 7 to 10 days. Longer-term use must be monitored closely by a doctor.

Ambien may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

General medical information about Ambien

Use caution when driving, operating machinery, or performing other hazardous activities.Ambien will cause drowsiness and may cause dizziness. If you experience drowsiness or dizziness, avoid these activities.Ambien should be taken just before bedtime. You may experience some carryover effects the next day.

Do not drink alcohol while taking Ambien. Alcohol will increase drowsiness and may increase dizziness while you are taking Ambien, which could be dangerous.

Do not stop taking Ambien suddenly if you have been taking it for more than 1 or 2 weeks. This may cause withdrawal symptoms and make you uncomfortable. Talk to your doctor if you need to stop treatment with Ambien.

What you should find out before taking Ambien

Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you
- have kidney disease;
- have liver disease;
- have asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, or another respiratory disease; or
- are depressed or have suicidal thoughts.

You may not be able to take Ambien, or you may require a lower dose or special monitoring during treatment if you have any of the conditions listed above.

Ambien is in the FDA pregnancy category B. This means that it is unlikely to harm an unborn baby. Do not take Ambien without first talking to your doctor if you are pregnant or could become pregnant during treatment.

Ambien passes into breast milk and may affect a nursing baby. Do not take this medication without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

If you are over 60 years of age, you may be more likely to experience side effects from Ambien. You may require a lower dose of this medication.

Ambien is not approved by the FDA for use by children younger than 18 years of age.

How should take Ambien

Take Ambien exactly as directed by your doctor. If you do not understand these directions, ask your pharmacist, nurse, or doctor to explain them to you.

Take each dose with a full glass of water.

Take Ambien just before you go to bed. It will make you drowsy, and you could fall and hurt yourself if you take your dose before you are ready for sleep.

Take Ambien only if you are able to get a full night's sleep before you must be active again.

Do not take more of this medication than is prescribed for you.

Do not stop taking Ambien suddenly if you have been taking it for more than 1 or 2 weeks. This may cause withdrawal symptoms and make you uncomfortable. Talk to your doctor if you need to stop treatment with Ambien.

Store Ambien at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

If you miss a dose:

Since Ambien is usually taken only if you need it to help you sleep, missing a dose will not cause any problems. Take the missed dose only if you can be sure that you will get 7 or 8 full hours of sleep after the dose. If you do not sleep for 7 or 8 full hours, you may experience carryover effects from Ambien after you wake up.

What happens if you overdose:

Seek emergency medical attention.

Symptoms of a Ambien overdose may include sleepiness, confusion, dizziness, difficult or slow breathing, and unconsciousness.

Avoid while taking Ambien

Use caution when driving, operating machinery, or performing other hazardous activities. Ambien will cause drowsiness and may cause dizziness. If you experience drowsiness or dizziness, avoid these activities. Ambien should be taken just before bedtime. You may experience some carryover effects the next day.

Do not drink alcohol while taking Ambien. Alcohol will increase drowsiness and may increase dizziness while you are taking Ambien, which could be dangerous.

Avoid other sedatives, sleeping pills, and tranquilizers, including over-the-counter preparations. They should not be used while you are taking Ambien unless your doctor directs otherwise.

Possible side effects of Ambien

If you experience any of the following serious side effects, stop taking Ambien and seek emergency medical attention:
- an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, face, or tongue; hives); or
- hallucinations, abnormal behavior, or severe confusion.

Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Continue to take Ambien and talk to your doctor if you experience
- headache, drowsiness, dizziness, or clumsiness;
- nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation;
- depression;
- muscle aches or pains;
- vivid or abnormal dreams; or
- amnesia (memory loss) after a dose.

A problem that may occur when sleep medicines are stopped is known as "rebound insomnia." This means that a person may have more trouble sleeping the first few nights after the medicine is stopped than before starting the medicine. If you should experience rebound insomnia, do not get discouraged. This problem usually goes away on its own after 1 or 2 nights

Ambien is habit forming. Stopping this medication suddenly can cause withdrawal effects if you have taken it continuously for several weeks. Talk to your doctor about the safe use of this medication.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect Ambien

Ambien may increase the effects of other drugs that cause drowsiness, including antidepressants, alcohol, antihistamines, other sedatives (used to treat insomnia), pain relievers, anxiety medicines, and muscle relaxants. Tell your doctor about all medicines that you are taking, and do not take any medicine unless your doctor approves.

Drugs other than those listed here may also interact with Ambien. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicines, including herbal products.

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