What is Ambien?
The doctor’s answer is a “hypnotic” or “soporific”, i.e. a drug that sends you to sleep. Other drugs are classified as tranquilizers or sedatives. Although they calm and can make you feel drowsy, they do not send you to sleep.
How long can you use Ambien?
This drug should only be taken for short periods of time. As a general rule, get a doctor’s approval if you want to take it for more than one month.
How do you take Ambien?
As with any medication, you should swallow the tablet or capsule whole. Breaking, crushing or chewing the tablets gives you too much of the drug too soon. Tablets are designed to dissolve slowly in your stomach. This gives you a steady concentration of the drug in your bloodstream for longer. Do not take Ambien unless you have allowed seven or eight hours to sleep through to morning. If you have to force yourself to wake early, you will feel very tired through most of the day.
How quickly does it work?
This acts quickly. You should take the tablet and then lie down. You will be asleep in no more than 15 minutes.
Can everyone take Ambien?
The FDA has not licensed this drug for use by anyone under the age of 18 years. Seniors should also take advice on dosage. In addition, four groups should be careful. Anyone who has a long-term breathing problem like asthma should avoid anything that forces sleep. Should you have an attack during the night, you might not wake up. Anyone with kidney or liver disease will have to take a lower dosage. It takes longer for the drug to be cleared out of the bloodstream. Do not use Ambien if you are depressed, particularly if you have thought about harming yourself. Finally, anyone with problems of addiction to alcohol or other prescription drugs should avoid starting the use of Ambien.
What are the side effects?
For most people, Ambien produces restful sleep but a small percentage find themselves with a headache and still drowsy during the day, sometimes with a slight lack of coordination. Some have memory problems. But a very small number of people have become seriously depressed and agitated. If you are tempted by the idea of hurting yourself, call your doctor.
What are the chances of sleepwalking?
A small number of people are reported as performing routine household tasks while asleep. One or two have even driven. If this happens to you, stop taking Ambien.