Your doctor has prescribed zolpidem tartrate to help you sleep. The following information is intended to guide you in the safe use of this medicine. It is not meant to take the place of your doctor's instructions. If you have any questions about zolpidem tartrate tablets be sure to ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Zolpidem tartrate is used to treat different types of sleep problems, such as:
Some people may have more than one of these problems.
Zolpidem tartrate belongs to a group of medicines known as the "sedative/hypnotics," or simply, sleep medicines. There are many different sleep medicines available to help people sleep better. Sleep problems are usually temporary, requiring treatment for only a short time, usually 1 or 2 days up to 1 or 2 weeks. Some people have chronic sleep problems that may require more prolonged use of sleep medicine. However, you should not use these medicines for long periods without talking to your doctor about the risks and benefits of prolonged use.
Most Common Side Effects: All medicines have side effects. Most common side effects of sleep medicines include:
You may find that these medicines make you sleepy during the day. How drowsy you feel depends upon how your body reacts to the medicine, which sleep medicine you are taking, and how large a dose your doctor has prescribed. Daytime drowsiness is best avoided by taking the lowest dose possible that will still help you sleep at night. Your doctor will work with you to find the dose of zolpidem tartrate that is best for you.
To manage these side effects while you are taking this medicine:
There are some special problems that may occur while taking sleep medicines.
Memory Problems: Sleep medicines may cause a special type of memory loss or "amnesia." When this occurs, a person may not remember what has happened for several hours after taking this medicine. This is usually not a problem since most people fall asleep after taking the medicine.
Memory loss can be a problem, however, when sleep medicines are taken while traveling, such as during an airplane flight and the person wakes up before the effect of the medicine is gone. This has been called "traveler's amnesia."
Memory problems are not common while taking zolpidem tartrate. In most instances memory problems can be avoided if you take zolpidem tartrate only when you are able to get a full night's sleep (7 to 8 hours) before you need to be active again. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you think that you are having memory problems.
Tolerance: When sleep medicines are used every night for more than a few weeks, they may lose their effectiveness to help you sleep. This is known as "tolerance." Sleep medicines should, in most cases, be used only for short periods of time, such as 1 or 2 days and generally no longer than 1 or 2 weeks. If your sleep problems continue, consult your doctor, who will determine whether other measures are needed to overcome your sleep problems.
Dependence: Sleep medicines can cause dependence, especially when these medicines are used, regularly for longer than a few weeks or at high doses. Some people develop a need to continue taking their medicines. This is known as dependence or "addiction."
When people develop dependence, they may have difficulty stopping the sleep medicine. If the medicine is suddenly stopped, the body is not able to function normally and unpleasant symptoms may occur. They may find they have to keep taking the medicine either at the prescribed dose or at increasing doses just to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
All people taking sleep medicines have some risk of becoming dependent on the medicine. However, people who have been dependent on alcohol or other drugs in the past may have a higher chance of becoming addicted to sleep medicines. This possibility must be considered before using these medicines for more than a few weeks.
If you have been addicted to alcohol or drugs in the past, it is important to tell your doctor before starting zolpidem tartrate or any sleep medicine.
Withdrawal: Withdrawal symptoms may occur when sleep medicines are stopped suddenly after being used daily for a long time. In some cases, these symptoms can occur even if the medicine has been used for only a week or two.
In mild cases, withdrawal symptoms may include unpleasant feelings. In more severe cases, abdominal and muscle cramps, vomiting, sweating, shakiness, and rarely, seizures may occur. These more severe withdrawal symptoms are very uncommon.
Another problem that may occur when sleep medicines are stopped is known as "rebound insomnia." This means that a person may have more trouble sleeping in the first few nights after the medicine is stopped than before starting the medicine. If you should experience rebound insomnia, do not get discouraged. This problem usually goes away on its own after 1 or 2 nights.
If you have been taking zolpidem tartrate or any other sleep medicine for more than 1 or 2 weeks, do not stop taking it on your own. Always follow your doctor's directions.
Change In Behavior And Thinking: Some people using sleep medicines have experienced unusual changes in their thinking and/or behavior. These effects are not common. However, they have included:
How often these effects occur depends on several factors, such as a person's general health, the use of other medicines, and which sleep medicine is being used. Clinical experience with zolpidem tartrate suggests that it is uncommonly associated with these behavior changes.
It is also important to realize that it is rarely clear whether these behavior changes are caused by the medicine, an illness, or occur on their own. In fact, sleep problems that do not improve may be due to illnesses that were present before the medicine was used. If you or your family notice any changes in your behavior, or if you have any unusual or disturbing thoughts, call you doctor immediately.
Sleep medicines may cause sedation of the unborn baby when used during the last weeks of pregnancy.
Be sure to tell your doctor if you are pregnant, if you are planning to become pregnant, or if you become pregnant while taking zolpidem tartrate.
Safe Use of Sleeping Medicines
To ensure the safe and effective use of zolpidem tartrate or any other sleep medicine, you should observe the following cautions:
1. Zolpidem tartrate is a prescription medicine and should be used only as directed by your doctor. Follow your doctor's instructions about how to take, when to take, and how long to take zolpidem tartrate.
2. Never use zolpidem tartrate or any other sleep medicine for longer than directed by your doctor.
3. If you notice any unusual and/or disturbing thoughts or behavior during treatment with zolpidem tartrate or any other sleep medicine, contact your doctor.
4. Tell your doctor about any medicine you may be taking, including medicines you may buy without a prescription. You should also tell your doctor if you drink alcohol. DO NOT use alcohol while taking zolpidem tartrate or any other sleep medicine.
5. Do not take zolpidem tartrate or any other sleep medicine unless you are able to get a full night's sleep before you must be active again. For example, zolpidem tartrate or any other sleep medicine should not be taken on an overnight plane flight of less than 7 or 8 hours since "traveler's amnesia" may occur.
6. Do not increase the prescribed dose of zolpidem tartrate or any other sleep medication unless instructed by your doctor.
7. When you first start taking zolpidem tartrate or any other sleep medicine until you know whether the medicine will still have some carryover effect in you the next day, use extreme care while doing anything that requires complete alertness, such as driving a car, operating machinery, or piloting an aircraft.
8. Be aware that you may have more sleeping problems the first night or two after stopping zolpidem tartrate or any other sleep medicine.
9. Be sure to tell your doctor if you are pregnant,if you are planning to become pregnant, or if you become pregnant while taking zolpidem tartrate.
10. As with all prescription medicines, never share zolpidem tartrate or any other sleep medicines with anyone else. Always store zolpidem tartrate or any other sleep medicine in the original container out of reach of children.
11. Zolpidem tartrate works very quickly. You should only take zolpidem tartrate right before going to bed and are ready to go to sleep.