The Ambien brand of sedatives has grown increasingly popular over the years, and the addition of new two-layer time-released Ambien CR has only multiplied sales of this drug. But is Ambien really a safe and reliable sleep aid?
While the history and original creation of Ambien, otherwise known as the generic name Zolpidem, is rather difficult to come by, these drugs have been available to consumers in the United States since its clinical trials were completed in 1991.
Ambien is a hypnotic sedative and intended for the treatment of intermittent insomnia. The recommended period of use for sleep disturbances is a relatively short span, usually two to six weeks.
This drug is commonly used off-label to treat Restless Leg Syndrome (or RLS), has been a long-time favorite of the Air Force – for the purpose of making sure pilots get enough sleep between missions, and is favored by methamphetamine and cocaine addicts as a reliable source of “coming down” from their high.
Interestingly, recent reports show that Ambien has shown to increase brain function in individuals in a vegetative state.
Yes, Ambien has serious and rather danger side effects. Common side effects of Ambien include: sleep walking, sleep eating, driving during sleep, waking up in strange locations, talking or even carrying on conversations while asleep, total amnesia of events or “black out”, hallucination, paranoia, increased appetite, loss of motor function, impaired judgment, euphoria, decreased sex drive, delusional thoughts and behaviors, increase in impulsive behaviors, poor balance and difficulty walking, and erratic thoughts and behaviors.
A study among Ambien users has found that it is extremely common for an average user to take Ambien multiple times a night, without realizing it. Due to the likeliness of amnesia and impaired thoughts and judgment, users will often forget that they have already taken their nightly pill and will take another, or even several more.
Contrary to popular belief and even statements made in advertisements for Ambien, dependency and addiction are possible outcomes when using this drug. Ads for Ambien clearly state that it is usually taken for two to six weeks, but can be taken for as long as your prescriber recommends – and the longer the time of intake, the better the chance of addiction.
Ambien is closely related to the Benzodiazepine family of drugs (common anti-anxiety medications such as Xanax and Valium) and offers very comparable effects, such as a strong sense of well-being and euphoria. Due to these effects and the combination of long-term use, physical and psychological dependency can easily occur with Ambien.
Ambien withdrawal symptoms include: insomnia or “rebound insomnia,” seizure, heavy sweating, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, “creepy crawly” sensations in limbs, depression, anxiety, paranoia, and thoughts of suicide.
Prescription literature of this drug recommends seeking medical help before changing or stopping dosing of Ambien. A medically supervised “taper” (the commitment of a gradual reduction in intake over the term of several weeks or even months, depending upon history) is advised if one wishes to stop taking Ambien.
The prescription drug epidemic is growing more frightening every day and dangerous drugs like Ambien are being commonly abused but addicts and used recreationally.
Other medications with the same active ingredients as Ambien include: Ambien CR, Zolpidem, Ivedal, Nytamel, Stilnoct, Stilnox, Zoldem, Zolnod, and Zolpihexal.