A sleeping medication that is available by prescription only, zolpidem tartrate (Ambien®) is licensed to treat short-term insomnia. In most cases, it is only used for a couple of days to a few weeks. This drug comes in tablet form and is available in two strengths. Since the medication works very quickly, it's important to take it right before bedtime.
Prior to starting zolpidem, tell your healthcare provider if you are pregnant, drink alcohol regularly, or have sleep apnea or other types of respiratory disease. Most people are able to use zolpidem without any problems. However, it is not suitable for everyone.
In clinical studies, some of the most common side effects included:
- Coordination problems
- Daytime drowsiness.
(Click Zolpidem for a more in-depth discussion, including other side effects to watch for, more detailed dosing guidelines, and what to do in cases of overdose.)