What is Ambien?

Ambien pill package Ambien is the nation's best-selling prescription sleeping pill. It's designed to make you fall asleep fast and help treat insomnia. There are two versions of Ambien, the regular Ambien and its generic brand, Zolpidem Tartrate, and Ambien CR. The generic Ambien is intended for short-term use. Ambien CR can be taken for as long as a healthcare provider recommends and is intended to help users stay asleep for up to seven hours.

Ambien had an estimated 26.5 million prescriptions in the United States in 2005, according to a New York Times article. The maker of Ambien, Sanofi-Aventis, introduced the drug to the U.S. about 15 years ago, and prescriptions for it have increased steadily since.

Despite its popularity, or perhaps because of it, the sleeping pill comes with a medley of bizarre side effects. These include sleep-driving, sleep-eating, making phone calls and having sex with no memory of it afterward. Or as the people at Sanofi-Aventis like to put it, "with temporary amnesia for the event." Hallucinations are also listed as a side effect.

Investigating Ambien

Folders The following sections of this site are structured as case files, which will attempt to give an in-depth look into the risks and effects of Ambien.

These files include an explanation of how the drug affects the brain, firsthand experiences of Ambien prescribers, official information from the Ambien Web site, the culture of Ambien and its celebrity and social-networking popularity, and additional information, including a 2007 FDA press release requesting stronger warnings for the Ambien label.

Don't pop the pink pills just yet. You're going to want to remember this in the morning.