Prescription Medications

About Ambien

Ambien is the brand name for zolpidem tartrate, a sedative approved by the FDA in 1993.

Ambien is described as a sedative/hypnotic, which is defined as a "substance used to reduce tension and anxiety and induce calm (sedative effect) or to induce sleep (hypnotic effect)" by the Encyclopedia Britannica.

The Encyclopedia Britannica also states that the prolonged use of these drugs for relief of insomnia leads to tolerance, which requires users to take much higher amounts of the drug, in excess of the initial dosage. It can also lead to addiction, which creates withdrawal symptoms such as "restlessness, anxiety, weakness, insomnia, nausea and convulsions" when use of the drug is suddenly stopped.

According to Dr. Nisha Rana, a doctor of pharmacy at Saint John's University who is featured in the video on the next page, zolpidem tartrate is used exclusively to treat insomnia in short periods of time, usually over a span of no longer than 10 days. Zolpidem is taken orally and comes in tablets of five or 10 miligrams.