Ambien is an FDA approved medication that is made for delivering relaxed and calm sedative effect to insomnia patients who find it difficult to fall asleep. Chemically, it is zolpidem tartrate and is available under many generic versions.
Noting the potential risks and abuse potential, Ambien has been listed as Schedule IV drug that is regulated by Drug Enforcement Agency and can be bought only on prescription.
Although Ambien’s side effects vary depending upon the dose, duration of consumption and individual’s physiological condition there is a list of side effects that have been reported to affect human performance severely.
Short term and long term side effects of ambien
Like any other sleeping pill, Ambien may lead to headaches, memory loss, lethargy, hangover feeling, weakness, slurry speech, persistent drowsiness and gastrointestinal disturbances like nausea as soon as the person wakes up the next morning after taking Ambien. Additionally, instances of sleepwalking and sleep eating have also been reported by many especially when taken multiple doses. These side effects hamper with daily life and all day performance on immediate call.
Long term effects may not be visible on first few doses but may increase in severity scale down the road. Damaged sleep staging, impaired nervous system, unusual behaviour, seizures, development of intolerance requiring higher doses, dependency and addiction are some of the repercussions of using Ambien for duration longer than required, affecting the quality of life to a great extent.sleep staging, impaired nervous system, unusual behaviour, seizures, development of intolerance requiring higher doses, dependency and addiction are some of the repercussions of using Ambien for duration longer than required, affecting the quality of life to a great extent.
Side effects of Ambien associated with specific systems
Ambien is a sedative-hypnotic that interacts with chemicals in the brain affecting several interlinked metabolic and signaling pathways.
Central nervous system has been reported to have most frequent complaints such as visual disturbances, confused state of mind, nightmares, nervousness, hallucinations, agitation and excessive sedation. In the cardiovascular system, Ambien is known to cause palpitations while cases of urinary tract infection and urinary incontinence have also been associated with this active ingredient of Ambien.
And lastly, worth mentioning is the immunological response leading to allergic reactions such as skin rashes.
Addiction, dependence and tolerance of Ambien
Sedative-hypnotic medications often have a high potential of causing addiction, dependence and developing tolerance and so is the case with Ambien. These effects are not prominent until 4 weeks of use but can be detected thereafter.
The sedative property makes the user become dependent on its calming effect and fails to fall asleep without consuming Ambien. Eventually, this turns into dependency and addiction in the long run.
At one point of time, the drug fails to cause effect and this is when the body becomes tolerant to the dose and demands for increment. And since the body is dependent on sleeping pill, the user increases dose abruptly thereby falling into ambien dependence, tolerance and addiction trap, withdrawing from which in turn cause symptoms such as dysphoria, insomnia, muscle cramps, vomiting, tremors and panic attacks and so on.
Conclusion on ambien – Long story short!
Ambien may hamper performance on grounds of cognitive and psychomotor impairment, confusion and disorientation, reduced attention and alertness, memory and visual impairment and overall unbalanced state of mind and body.
To avoid such severe consequences, Ambien should be taken strictly within the prescribed dose limits and duration and healthcare provider should be immediately consulted in case of even mild symptoms so that attempt of making sleep peaceful doesn’t hamper day activity.