There are millions of people in the world that struggle with insomnia to varying degrees. Although you’ll find a decent number of medications available for treatment, Ambien tends to be one of the most common.
This is due to a handful of reasons that pertain to effectiveness, bioavailability, and more. In this article, you’ll get a comprehensive look at how Ambien works and why it’s such a relevant prescription drug for insomniacs.
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Ambien at a Glance
Utilized to treat insomnia, Ambien works in unique ways to achieve the desired result.
The Ambien drug was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1992, and it has been used consistently on a global scale ever since. Ambien is in the benzodiazepine family, and it’s a receptor agonist that can help improve sleep quality in patients.
Trouble falling asleep is rather common in most people, but some deal with it to a chronic degree that requires the assistance of prescription medication.
Doctors may not always prescribe Ambien for those who struggle to get decent rest, but for some people, it’s a need.
Not only does Ambien decrease the amount of time it takes to fall asleep, but it also helps to increase the overall duration of sleep.
This also means patients taking Ambien won’t be disrupted as much throughout the night. Individuals dealing with transient insomnia are the best use case for a drug like Ambien, although it can be applied to many different sleep troubles.
There are quite a few specifics behind how Ambien works within the body. It also doesn’t deliver the exact same experience to each patient, as every person’s body responds differently to medication. To understand the drug further, it’s important to take a look at the science of how it works.
How Ambien affects the human body
Ambien is available in multiple forms of administration. Whether it’s extended-release or immediate acting, both are effective solutions for those trying to get some sleep.
Some of this considers the needs and preferences of the patient, but doctors may prescribe one or the other depending on the patient’s situation.
The drug is also known to have a favorable tolerability profile. This simply means that, when taken according to the manufacturer’s directions, patients should experience a seamless and helpful process. You won’t find any reports of liver injury caused by the drug, and it comes with a very low risk of developing withdrawal symptoms or drug dependence.
There are a few other properties of the drug that can sometimes be felt after administration.
Along with providing better sleep, there have been reports of muscle relaxant properties. From a patient’s perspective, this may not be so noticeable, but it’s part of the sensation that comes with the drug.
Another interesting use case for Ambien is that it has been shown to be decently effective in restoring brain functionality.
This is primarily seen in patients who are suffering from a vegetative state after a brain injury. Moreover, Ambien has the potential to reverse the offset metabolism of damaged brain cells after such an injury.
Aside from the drug’s efficacy and use cases, there’s always a handful of precautions that should be considered before taking Ambien.
What patients need to know beforehand
Even if Ambien is seen as a relatively common prescription drug, it may not be the best choice for everyone. Taking the necessary precautions is wise to ensure the quality of the patient’s health doesn’t decline any further.
Some precautions to consider include:
- Potential allergies related to Ambien
- How Ambien blends with other prescription or non-prescription drugs
- Discussing the risks and benefits with a medical professional
- Avoid drinking alcohol while on Ambien
- Patients may experience changes in mental health and general behavior
As mentioned earlier, each person’s body responds differently to medication. There are some rules, like those mentioned above, that shouldn’t be ignored. Regardless of your health or age group, prescription drugs should be taken with precaution to ensure you remain as healthy as possible.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but accidental overdoses happen more often than you might think. It’s vital to understand the dosage instructions before starting a regimen with Ambien. Dosage instructions are bound to vary between patients, so make sure you don’t miss any of the details while consulting with your doctor.
Here are a few signs and symptoms that come with an overdose:
- Potential for loss of consciousness
- Extreme drowsiness
- Slowed heartbeat and breathing
These symptoms can have drastic adverse effects on the health of a patient and shouldn’t be taken lightly. An overdose is easy to avoid by simply following the instructions for administration. However, some people, based on age or medical history, might need help with getting the dosage correct when needed.
For an overview of some of the most important questions regarding the Ambien prescription drug, feel free to review the FAQ section down below.
Is Ambien a hypnotic or sedative drug?
You may be surprised to learn that Ambien is classified as both a hypnotic and sedative drug. This is due to the various effects that come with administration and its overall mechanism of action within the body.
These terms shouldn’t be confused in the sense that you won’t have control over yourself; they’re simply a means of classifying the drug itself. It’s important to know that Ambien plays an important role as a central nervous system depressant. This also includes being a GABA receptor agonist and a sedative.
How long until Ambien starts to work in the body?
For most people, Ambien takes around 30 minutes for rapid onset to occur. This is a pretty general timeframe, as it could be quicker or take longer for some individuals. You’ll also find a difference in the drug’s action between extended-release or immediate-acting forms of Ambien.
However, the full effects of Ambien are generally felt between one to two hours after administration. This gives people ample time to fall asleep and stay asleep. Overall, Ambien has a gradual mechanism of action that takes a little time before it becomes fully effective.
Can Ambien cause liver damage?
If a patient follows administration instructions, there should be no signs of liver damage in the body. This is also true for short or long-term use of the prescription drug. In the event a patient decides to intentionally abuse the drug and avoid administration instructions, it could potentially take a toll on the liver over time.
If there were ever a case where someone encountered liver damage from Ambien, it would arise from long-term abuse. Nevertheless, there have been no recordings of Ambien causing any kind of liver damage to a patient.
Is Ambien a drug that can be abused?
Make no mistake, Ambien can easily be abused by anyone. Considering it isn’t known for causing drug dependence or withdrawal symptoms, a patient would have to intentionally abuse the drug. This is a slippery slope that could cause more harm than good down the road.
Unfortunately, most people aren’t required to be monitored for the drug’s administration unless they have some history of known drug abuse. Ambien should only be taken per the instructions provided by a medical professional.
What happens if I miss a dose?
This isn’t a significant issue from a health perspective, but it may cause disruptions in the quality of your sleep. With most medications, a consistent intake schedule is suggested for optimal results. Every so often, a patient may forget to take a dose on any given day, and this is entirely fine for the most part.
However, it’s best to stick to a consistent schedule so you can experience consistent results. You shouldn’t experience any adverse side effects by missing a dose. Then again, those who are used to Ambien’s effects during sleep may feel more disturbed on the day they forgot to take their medicine.
Are there any potential health risks?
Any prescription drug on the market comes with a list of potential health risks and side effects. There’s no guarantee that you’ll experience any yourself, but it’s still important to be aware of what’s possible.
Ambien is known for the following potential side effects; dizziness, headaches, drowsiness, fatigue, constipation, nausea, and many others. It’s also important to note more serious side effects such as hives, itching, shortness of breath, vomiting, swelling of the face, and more. The list of potential health risks is quite long, but they can be avoided by following intake instructions.
Can I drive after taking Ambien?
It’s highly suggested to avoid operating any kind of heavy machinery after taking Ambien. Considering its hypnotic and sedative effects, you may not feel fully functional after the medicine starts to kick in. Choosing to operate heavy machinery while on Ambien could pose high risks for you and those around you.
It’s important to be cognizant of your schedule and when you need to take your medication. Ambien focuses on helping people get a better night’s sleep, so most people tend to take the drug in the evening. The consensus is that no one should be driving a car while on Ambien.
Is it possible to take other medications with Ambien?
There is no yes or no answer to this, as it’s entirely specific to the drugs in question. While some drugs may be okay, other drugs could be a hard no due to potential health risks. Always consult with your doctor if you need to take one or more medications while on Ambien.
They’ll be able to give you a list of drugs you can or cannot take while on an Ambien prescription. This may be challenging for some individuals, but it’s always best to be safe in this regard.
Can I buy Ambien over the counter?
Ambien is a drug that requires a prescription, which means you’ll need to set up an appointment with a doctor. This may be seen as an inconvenience, but it’s vital considering the effects Ambien is capable of.
How Ambien makes the body feel can be rather light for some and much heavier than for others. Speaking with a doctor ensures you understand what the drug is capable of and learn everything you need to know regarding administration, side effects, and dosage.