Ambien, also known by its generic name Zolpidem, is a prescription medication primarily used for the short-term treatment of insomnia, a sleep disorder characterized by difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. It belongs to a class of drugs called sedative-hypnotics, which enhance the activity of a neurotransmitter in the brain known as gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA slows down brain activity and promotes relaxation, helping individuals to fall asleep.
This is available in different formulations, including immediate-release tablets, extended-release tablets, and sublingual tablets. The immediate-release tablets are typically taken right before bedtime. In contrast, extended-release tablets are designed to gradually release the medication to help individuals stay asleep throughout the night. The sublingual tablets are placed under the tongue and dissolve quickly.
The medication is generally prescribed for short-term use, typically for a few weeks or less, to avoid the development of dependence or tolerance. It is important to and instructions a healthcare professional provides to ensure safe and effective use.