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What Is Ambien?

Ambien is a brand name for Zolpidem Tartrate, a nonbenzodiazepine hypnotic sedative drug. This physician-prescribed medication is only intended to be taken on a short-term basis. Used to treat insomnia – or inability to sleep, Ambien is an oral medication available as an elongated or rectangular shaped or extended-release tablet.

After consuming this drug, an individual will experience a sedative effect (calming response) and it induces sleep (hypnotic effect) as well. To eliminate Ambien from your body, it may take several hours. If you are wondering about how long Ambien stays in urine, you should know some hard-hitting facts.

The side effects of this drug include extreme drowsiness, which is why an individual who takes it should not operate machinery items or drive vehicles. Hence, after taking this sedative medication, they should go to bed immediately.

The other extreme condition is that it can induce somnambulism (sleepwalking) or sleep-driving. This can be seen in the many fatalities reported when people get into accidents while in an Ambien-induced sleep-driving.

They may abruptly wake from sleep drive to a different part of the city, or even walk in a different part of the home, without their consciousness. So, if you ask how long Ambien stays in the system, it depends on when an individual takes the medication and its dosage.

Structure of Ambien

Ambien is made of zolpidem tartrate, which is a type of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). It connects to GABAA receptors at the same place as benzodiazepines and enhances GABA effects on the central nervous system.

Ambien is accessible as tablets coated in two-layers:

  • The first layer releases its drug content instantly.
  • Then the other layer permits to release additional drug content.

Chemically, zolpidem is N,N-Dimethyl-2-[6-methyl-2-(4-methylphenyl) imidazo [1,2-a] pyridin-3-yl] acetamide L-(+)-tartrate (2:1). Here is the following structure of Ambien:

Ambien is partly soluble in water, propylene glycol, and alcohol. Ambien is a white to off-white-colored crystalline powder with a molecular weight of 764.88.

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Inactive Ingredients Added to Each Ambien Tablet

  • Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose
  • Lactose monohydrate
  • Polyethylene glycol
  • Sodium starch glycolate
  • Magnesium stearate
  • Titanium dioxide

Inactive Ingredients Added to a 5 mg Tablet

  • FD&C Red No. 40
  • Polysorbate 80
  • Iron oxide colorant

Inactive Ingredients Added to a 6.25 mg Tablet

  • Potassium bitartrate
  • Red ferric oxide
  • Colloidal silicon dioxide
  • Hypromellose
  • Microcrystalline cellulose

Inactive Ingredients Added to a 12.5 mg Tablet

  • Yellow ferric oxide
  • Microcrystalline cellulose
  • Colloidal silicon dioxide
  • Hypromellose
  • FD&C Blue #2

What Is the Normal Dosage Level of Ambien?

Any form of zolpidem, including Ambien, should be taken specifically as designated by your physician. For patients struggling with inadequate sleep, physicians prescribe the lowest effective dose.

The starting dosage level is 6.25 mg for female patients and from 6.25 to 12.5 mg for males. You should not take the medication more than once a night immediately before going to bed.

It is recommended to attain adequate sleep or a complete night’s rest for seven to eight hours as it helps to reduce the risk of next-day impairment. There must be a gap of at least 7-8 hours before the intended time of waking from sleep.

If the 6.25 mg dosage level is not sufficient, consult your doctor, who may increase your dosage level to 12.5 mg. However, you must not take more than 12.5 mg immediately before going to bed. You should only take it orally as a single dose. Ambien should not be re-administered during the same bedtime.

It is important to understand how long Ambien stays in urine to get a better grasp of how powerful the drug is. If a person takes Ambien higher than the prescribed dosage, there could be severe side effects.

Ambien Interactions with Other Drugs

Ambien is less addictive when compared to barbiturates, benzodiazepines, and other prescription sleep aids. However, this drug can still cause dangerous side effects, particularly when a person abuses it in combination with other substances like alcohol or drugs.

Besides, Ambien must not be taken in combination with other Central Nervous System

(CNS) depressants or stimulant drugs that raise the blood levels. If you are on pain medications, cold medicines, muscle relaxants, and medicines like Thorazine, itraconazole, Nizoral, or Rifadin, you should inform your physician before taking Ambien.

Symptoms You Experience when Mixing Ambien with Alcohol

  • Unsteady gait
  • Confusion
  • Impaired response time
  • Disorientation
  • Memory impairment
  • Impaired balance
  • Psychomotor slowing
  • Reduced attention capacity


Symptoms You Experience when Mixing Ambien with Other Drugs

  • Memory loss
  • Lack of concentration
  • Psychological dependence
  • Delusional thinking
  • Hallucinations
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Addiction


What is the difference between Ambien and Xanax?


Ambien is the brand name of zolpidem that helps patients who have a problem with falling asleep and staying asleep.

Ambien can be addictive and might be more likely than other sleep drugs to cause dangerous effects.

An extended-release form is especially beneficial for staying asleep, as it releases the drug for a longer time than the instant-release form of tablets.

Here are the Dosage forms of Ambien:

  • Pill
  • Oral spray
  • Sublingual pill
  • Extended-release


Ambien benefits a person to fall asleep quicker and sleep longer.

Excessive intake of Ambien may also cause somnambulism, drowsy driving, and sleep- eating disorders.

If an individual has liver, kidney, lung issues, or a history of panic disorder, then choosing Ambien may not be the best option. They need to consult their physician first.

The starting price for the Ambien is $18.00.


Xanax is the brand name of Alprazolam, which completely treats short-term stress, depression or panic attacks. When compared to related medications, it is more likely to cause withdrawal signs when you halt its use suddenly. It can also have more severe interactions with some other drugs.

Xanax works very fast within an hour.

Here are the Dosage forms of Xanax:

  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Dissolving tablet
  • Extended-release


Alprazolam can be practiced to control anxiety connected with panic disorder.

When a person abuses this medication for a longer period, they may experience some problems like drowsiness, confusion, and lack of memory power.

If a person is having any kind of problems like liver issues, then practicing Xanax may not be the safest choice because it is processed by the liver.

The starting price for the Xanax is $13.29.

How Do People Become Addicted to Ambien?

Though Ambien is only designated for a short period, many individuals may take more than the recommended dosage level to sleep better and longer. Ambien is a kind of central nervous system (CNS) depressant, so when a person takes a high dose of this medication, the effects can be disastrous. Likewise, when Ambien must not be blended with other depressants or stimulants such as alcohol, opioid painkillers, or muscle relaxers.

When a person takes a higher dosage level for a longer time, they may develop a greater tolerance level to the drug. That means they require more of it in order to get the same effect. Practicing any medication outside of the prescription limitations can easily turn into a mental addiction (dependence) or considered as substance abuse.

What Are the Side Effects of Ambien?

Insomnia is the foremost cause people start taking Ambien. Using this drug without a direction or in a way that is not prescribed by a physician is considered abuse.

Some people tend to take additional tablets for better sleeping and this gradually turns into an addiction. As a CNS depressant, Ambien’s effects on the body include heavy sedation. Ambien abuse leads to some dangerous results that affect the health of the addicts.

So, beware of accidentally taking high doses of the drug. Always check with your physician about how long Ambien stays in the system and what is the right dosage for you.

Some side effects of prolonged Ambien abuse:

  • Dizziness
  • Unsteady balance
  • Drowsiness
  • Unusual dreams
  • Lightheadedness


What Are the Statistics on Abuse and Addiction of Ambien?

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s reports say that since 2005, there has been an increase of 220% in the number of people visiting an emergency room due to zolpidem adverse reactions.

Zolpidem is an effective ingredient in sleeping-beneficial medication like Ambien, Zolpimist, Ambien CR, and Eldar.  The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that emergency department (ED) visits have increased from 13,000 in 2004 to 28,000 in 2008.

According to the estimation, two-thirds of the emergency room visits were from women who were facing the problem of insomnia and received Ambien to treat the disorders.


  • Due to the adverse side effects of Ambien, people over the age of 65 have visited a hospital.
  • In America, approximately 500,000 people are currently abusing Ambien and other drugs.
  • According to IMS Health, about 38 million prescriptions for Ambien medications were written between 2006 and 2011.


In the US, prescription drug addiction is a growing problem because around half of the emergency room or hospital visit involved substance abuse like Ambien. People take it in some form and blend other drugs with Ambien, especially opioid painkillers and alcohol.

If the patients who visit the ER cannot report all the prescribed pills that they have taken, or if the physician fails to carefully make a report of all other designated pills, these mixtures would cause severe ailments.


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