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Zolpidem, marketed under brand names such as Ambien, is a sedative-hypnotic medication primarily used for the short-term treatment of insomnia. It belongs to a class of drugs known as non-benzodiazepine hypnotics.

Zolpidem works by enhancing the effects of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain, which helps to promote sleep and induce a sedative effect. It is available in immediate-release tablets for the purpose of helping individuals fall asleep and in extended-release tablets for maintaining sleep throughout the night.

It is important to take zolpidem exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. The dosage and duration of treatment will depend on factors such as the severity of your insomnia and your individual response to the medication. Zolpidem is typically recommended for short-term use, usually no longer than 7 to 10 days, to minimise the risk of tolerance, dependence, and rebound insomnia.

Common side effects of zolpidem include drowsiness, dizziness, headache, and next-day grogginess. It may also cause more serious side effects such as complex sleep-related behaviours (such as sleepwalking), memory problems, and allergic reactions. Zolpidem can cause significant impairment, especially if not taken as directed, so it is important to avoid driving or engaging in other activities that require alertness after taking the medication.

Zolpidem should be used with caution in individuals with a history of substance abuse or dependence, as it carries a potential for misuse and addiction.

If you have any specific questions or concerns about zolpidem (Ambien) or its use, it is recommended to consult with your healthcare provider or pharmacist. They can provide you with personalised information and guidance based on your individual needs and circumstances.

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