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Ambien

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Ambien

ambien-iconAmbien is a trade name for zolpidem tartrate, a GABA antagonist that is used for insomnia. Ambien will generally initiate sleep in patients within 15 to 30 minutes, but it does not maintain sleep unless a special time-release formula is used. This medication is usually prescribed in doses of 5mg to 10mg. The dosage is usually based on the person’s weight.

Ambien is listed as a Schedule IV drug. It is not considered a narcotic. It is regarded as having a very low potential for addiction, but physical dependence has developed in some cases after more than four weeks of continuous use. Some studies have indicated that this medication may function in a similar way to benzodiazepines, which are addictive, but there is not enough evidence at this time to say that this medication is addictive. It can be abused, however — some people use it recreationally while forcing themselves to stay awake to experience a “high” sensation, and it is also commonly used as a date rape drug.

A common side effect is “carry-over” that causes drowsiness the next day. Other possible side effects are dizziness, confusion and anxiety. Death by overdose is possible due to respiratory depression, especially if combined with alcohol or other sedatives. Some people have experienced sleepwalking, or performing other activities in their sleep such as eating and driving that they do not remember the next day.

Street Names

Some street names for Ambien include no-gos, zombie pills, A-minus, A-bombs and Zs.

Common Forms 

Ambien is a brand name for zolpidem. It is prescribed in tablet form with a standard dose of 10mg.

Drug Class

Ambien is a strong sedative that is usually prescribed for insomnia, but is also used to treat certain brain disorders. It is available by prescription only. This medication is very successful at quickly initiating sleep, but it does not maintain sleep unless it is prescribed in a special time-released formula.

DEA Schedule 

Ambien is a Schedule IV drug. It is seen as having a low possibility of dependence and abuse, and also has legitimate and common medical use.

How is Ambien Commonly Used?

Abuse of Ambien is relatively rare. It is usually only abused by those who are prescribed it and continue to take it for too long or in amounts that are too large. There have been some reports of recreational use by staying awake while on the drug in order to experience a psychoactive state.

General Side Effects 

The primary effect of this prescription drug is to induce sleep, usually within 30 minutes of taking it. Users often find that sleep comes on unexpectedly and they are powerless to stay awake once the drug activates in their body.

Short-Term Effects

Ambien users have reported sleepwalking and performing other activities in their sleep that they cannot remember the next day. This has included eating, driving and engaging in sexual intercourse for some people.

Other possible side effects include dizziness, grogginess, memory problems, impaired judgment or motor skills, or loss of inhibitions. These symptoms can manifest if the user stays awake while the drug is active in their body, or in the morning after using it.

Long-Term Effects

Since Ambien is a relatively new drug, data on long-term effects is still very limited. There have been some anecdotal reports of short-term memory loss in those that have been using it for years, but it is unconfirmed at this time if Ambien is the direct cause. The greatest threat of long-term use is addiction. A physical dependency can develop if the drug is used for a long period of time or used in larger doses regularly.

What are the Dangers of Ambien Use?

Ambien is generally prescribed only for short-term use. Physical dependency and addiction can occur if it is taken for too long or the prescribed dosage is exceeded. Withdrawal symptoms can occur once a dependency has formed.

Abuse and Addiction Rates

Ambien is a very commonly prescribed drug. About 38 million prescriptions are written for zolpidem each year, according to IMS Health. About 500,000 people in the country abuse sedatives, however, and while Ambien use is still relatively rare it does appear to be on the rise. Between 2005 and 2010, emergency room visits for an issue related to Ambien increased by 225%.

What is the Best Treatment for Ambien Addiction?

The best option for dealing with an addiction to this prescription medication is to consult a certified medical treatment facility and talk to the experts there. A period of detox and inpatient treatment may be needed if there are strong withdrawal symptoms when use of the medication is stopped. Dependence on this medication can be dangerous and cause serious complications if not treated properly. Addiction specialists evaluate each patient to determine the best treatment practices. Visit Ambien Rehab for more information on the best Ambien abuse treatment practices.

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