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Sleeping Tablets

What Are the Side Effects of Zolpidem?

14 Sep 2023

ImageWhat Are the Side Effects of Zolpidem?

Zolpidem, commonly known as Ambien, is a medication often prescribed to treat insomnia and other sleep disorders. Although widely used and effective for many, it is vital to understand the side effects of Zolpidem before beginning treatment. Here we aim to provide a comprehensive look at the potential side effects of Zolpidem, from the most common to the rare and severe. Finally, we will conclude with precautions for individuals considering Zolpidem as a treatment option.

The Most Common Side Effects

Dizziness and lightheadedness

Many patients report feeling dizzy or lightheaded after taking Zolpidem, especially when standing up too quickly. This side effect can increase the risk of falls, so it's essential to rise slowly and maintain your balance when getting out of bed.


It comes as no surprise that a drug meant to induce sleep also causes drowsiness. While this may be an intended effect of Zolpidem, it can become troublesome if it lingers throughout the day, impairing your ability to think clearly and stay alert.

Gastrointestinal Issues

Zolpidem can cause gastrointestinal issues, including constipation, diarrhoea, and gas. However, drinking plenty of water and maintaining a balanced diet can help alleviate these side effects.


Some users experience headaches after taking Zolpidem. Over-the-counter pain relievers like paracetamol, or ibuprofen. Still, it is always wise to consult with your doctor if headaches persist.

The Less Common Side Effects


Although rare, some users report experiencing hallucinations shortly after taking Zolpidem. These can be visual or auditory and might include seeing or hearing things which are not there.

Changes in Appetite

Zolpidem may cause appetite changes, increasing or decreasing the desire to eat. This can result in weight fluctuations, so it is essential to maintain a balanced diet and exercise routine.

Lowered Inhibitions

Zolpidem can sometimes result in lowered inhibitions, causing individuals to engage in risky or reckless behaviour. Discussing this possibility with your doctor before starting treatment is essential.

The Dangerous Side Effects


Sleepwalking (and Other Complex Behaviors)

Certain users may experience complex sleep behaviours while on Zolpidem. For example, sleepwalking, sleep-eating, or even sleep-driving can occur. These actions can put individuals at risk of injury or harm, and discontinuing Zolpidem may be necessary.

Severe Allergic Reactions

Although rare, some people may experience a severe allergy to Zolpidem. Symptoms may include swelling of the face, tongue, or throat, difficulty breathing, and severe rash. Seek medical attention immediately if any of these symptoms occur.

Tips for Safe Use

  1. Always take Zolpidem precisely as prescribed by your doctor.
  2. Do not take alcohol or other drugs that may cause drowsiness while using Zolpidem.
  3. Never crush, break or chew the tablet - swallow it whole.
  4. Do not share Zolpidem with anyone else, even if they have similar symptoms or problems.
  5. Do not stop taking Zolpidem suddenly, as this can cause withdrawal symptoms. Instead, speak to your doctor about tapering off the medication safely.
  6. Store zolpidem in a secure place, away from children or pets, and at room temperature.
  7. Inform your doctor if you have a history of mental illness, depression, or suicidal thoughts, as these may worsen while taking Zolpidem.
  8. Be cautious if you need to operate heavy machinery or drive after taking Zolpidem. It may cause drowsiness or impaired judgement.
  9. If you are pregnant, plan on becoming pregnant, or are breastfeeding, speak to your doctor before taking Zolpidem.

Get in touch with your doctor immediately if you experience any unusual side effects, including swelling of the face, lips, tongue or throat swelling, difficulty breathing, or severe skin rash.