safety medical

Ambien (Zolpidem)

What is Ambien (zolpidem)?

Ambien (zolpidem) is a prescription drug most often used for the treatment of insomnia as well as some brain disorders. It is a nonbenzodiazepine hypnotic drug of the imidazopyridine class of drugs with a short half-life of only two to three hours making its effects felt 15 minutes within ingestion. Ambien functions in a similar way to other benzodiazepine drugs in that it binds to the GABA-A receptors in the brain. Ambien basically slows down brain function thereby promoting sleepiness. It is for this reason it is so effective in treating insomnia. Though it can exhibit muscle relaxing effects as well as anticonvulsant properties it is not recommended it be used in this manner because the doses required to achieve these effects produce bad side effects which outweigh the good. There are also many generic forms of Ambien produced which are cheaper than brand name Ambien tablets.

Ambien vs. Ambien CR

Ambien comes prescribed in a variety of forms and doses depending on the situation and how the patient reacts to the medicine. The two most common forms Ambien is prescribed as are Ambien and Ambien CR. Ambien CR is a extended release version of Ambien. Ambien has been proven to be helpful in initial sleep promotion, but it does not automatically guarantee a long amount of restful sleep. It is for this reason that Ambien CR was created. Ambien CR is designed to deliver Ambien to the patient's system over a longer period of time.

Because of its ability to administer Ambien over a long period of time Ambien CR is used in cases where the patient not only has trouble falling asleep but also have trouble staying asleep. This is achieved by creating a pill where the first layer containing Ambien dissolves quickly promoting initial sleep while the layers underneath are dissolved more slowly throughout the night resulting in a long restful sleep. A difference between Ambien and Ambien CR is also cost. Ambien is available at cheaper prices as a generic drug while there are no generic equivalents of Ambien CR.

Ambien recreational use

In addition to being a powerful sleeping aid many have found Ambien to be an enjoyable recreational substance. The largest reported use of Ambien in a recreational manner is to ease comedowns from other recreational drugs that are in the category of drugs known as uppers. These drugs include amphetamines, methamphetamine, cocaine, and ecstasy. Users of these kinds of drugs often have trouble sleeping so many are turning to using Ambien to combat their drug induced insomnia.

Others have found Ambien to be recreational on its own as well. Some users have reported feelings of euphoria, hallucinations, and a body high from taking Ambien and combating its sleepy effects to stay awake. The recreational potential of Ambien makes sense as it is related to the commonly abused benzodiazepines and effects the same receptors as them. Abusing Ambien is dangerous however as overdose can be fatal and withdrawals have been reported to be on par with alcohol and benzodiazepine withdrawals. Sadly Ambien has also begun to be used more frequently as a date rape drug due to its hypnotic properties and tendency of users to forget events while on the drug.

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