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Ambien History: A Drug with Mixed Reviews

Ambien is the trade name for a drug called Zolpidem, and is prescribed primarily for the treatment of insomnia. Ambien works in a similar way to benzodiazepines, which are a class of drugs used to treat anxiety and nervousness. It is a quick-acting drug, and can start having effects within 15 minutes after taking it. Thus, it can help people to fall asleep quickly, although it's effectiveness in helping people stay asleep has not been demonstrated.

Ambien History

The history of seeking an effective sleep aid is a long one. While there have been many drugs other than Ambien which have been shown to be effective in promoting sleep, many of them seem to have hangover-like effects. The day after taking them, many people report feeling unrested, groggy, or out-of-sorts. Ambien was developed as a drug that can induce sleep without causing the other after-effects.

The clinical trials for Ambien were completed in 1991, and since then it has been available to consumers. It wasn't until 2007 that the FDA approved the manufacture of a generic form of Ambien, which made it more widely available. This wider availability, however, increased the numbers for Ambien addiction.

Taking Ambien in the long-term can lead to tolerance and dependence. Part of this syndrome involves Ambien creating rebound insomnia, which is increased difficulty sleeping after stopping administration of the drug. It has also been demonstrated that there can be adverse central nervous system effects when ceasing taking Ambien. Thus, it is suggested that people take Ambien only for short stretches of time. It is best utilized when someone is having a sleeping problem and needs to take Ambien for a couple of days in order to restore normal sleeping patterns.

The recommended treatment for insomnia is 3-5 pills per week for a period of not longer than 12 weeks. The 10mg dose of Ambien seems to be just as effective as the 15mg dose when it comes to treating insomnia. Although Ambien is effective, it has not been demonstrated to be more effective than other sleep interventions in the long term. For example, cognitive behavioral therapy has been shown to have long-term benefits, while Ambien has not.

When someone has developed a dependence on Ambien, they generally must begin a dose-reduction period that lasts over weeks to months in order to minimize the occurrence of withdrawal symptoms. The physical symptoms of withdrawal can resemble that seen during withdrawal from benzodiazepines like Xanax, and thus can be physically uncomfortable. Sometimes, a doctor will switch someone from Ambien to another benzodiazepine like Valium, and then reduce the dosage of this drug. There are also rapid detoxification programs for Ambien, although they are generally only needed in special circumstances.

Because alcohol also increases tolerance in the receptors that mediate Ambien's effects, alcoholics may be even more susceptible to Ambien tolerance and dependence. Thus, Ambien usage should be avoided in those with a history of alcoholism. Patients who have a history of drug use may also want to avoid taking Ambien, as it could increase drug-seeking.

Ambien has the potential for overdose. When too much Ambien is taken, someone may display excessive sleepiness and depressed functioning of the respiratory system. This can lead to coma and even death in severe cases. An overdose can be treated with flumazenil, which acts as an antagonist at the receptors where Ambien works.

Ambien history is especially interesting when discussing the behavior that has resulted from taking Ambien. Unless Ambien is taken right before bed, and in bed, it can result in sleepwalking, loss of memory, and abnormal behavior. This makes it especially dangerous to take before driving. Even at home, however, there have been many reports of people taking Ambien then participating in abnormal behavior, such as eating a large amount of food. Doctors recommend taking Ambien after you are already tired and in bed, in order to avoid circumstances of this nature.

Ambien has proven to be very helpful to many people experiencing problems sleeping. Like other prescription drugs, however, it must be taken with caution. When taking Ambien, it's important to follow the recommendations in order to avoid dependency or tolerance. If one becomes dependent upon Ambien, there are ways to wean them off the drug and restore normal sleeping patterns naturally.


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