Zolpidem, sold under the brand name Ambien among others, is a medication primarily used for the short term treatment of sleeping problems. Guidelines recommend that it be used only after counseling and behavioral changes have been tried. It decreases the time to sleep onset by about 15 minutes and at larger doses helps people stay asleep longer. It is taken by mouth and is available in conventional tablets or sublingual tablets and oral spray. Common side effects include daytime sleepiness, headache, nausea, and diarrhea.
Other side effects include memory problems, hallucinations, and abuse. The recommended dose was decreased in 2013 due to next-morning impairment. Additionally, driving the next morning is not recommended with either higher doses or the long-acting formulation. While flumazenil can reverse Ambien's effects, usually supportive care is all that is recommended in overdose.
Ambien is a nonbenzodiazepine sedative and hypnotic. Ambien is a type A GABA receptor agonist of the imidazopyridine class. It works by increasing GABA effects in the central nervous system by binding to GABAA receptors at the same location as benzodiazepines. It generally has a half-life of two to three hours. This, however, is increased in those with liver problems. Ambien was approved for medical use in the United States in 1992. It became available as a generic medication in 2007.