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Ambien (zolpidem) / Ambien CR


Updated November 06, 2009

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Ambien (zolpidem) / Ambien CR

Ambien 5mg and 10mg tablets


Sleep Aid

Ambien - normal release tablet that helps a person fall asleep.

Ambien CR - continuous release tablet that helps a person fall asleep and stay asleep because of its extended release properties.


  • Ambien
    • 5mg tablet (rust color)
    • 10mg tablet (white)

  • Ambien CR
    • 6.25mg tablet (pink)
    • 12.5mg tablet (blue)


  • Ambien - One 5mg or 10mg tablet at bedtime as needed to sleep.

  • Ambien CR - One 6.25mg or 12.5mg tablet at bedtime as needed for sleep.


  • Take with a full glass of water on an empty stomach.
  • Don't stop taking Ambien suddenly if you have been taking it for an extended period of time; unpleasant withdrawal symptoms will occur.
  • Take Ambien exactly as prescribed and no more often than prescribed.
  • Ambien should only be taken before bed if needed to sleep. Don't take extra doses or at other times during the day.
  • Take the lowest effective dose and only take if necessary.

Side Effects to Report to Your Doctor:

  • Symptoms of an allergic reaction (e.g., wheezing or difficulty breathing, skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue)
  • Changes in vision
  • Confusion
  • Depressed mood
  • Feeling faint or lightheaded
  • Falling down
  • Hallucinations
  • Problems with balance, speaking, or walking
  • Restlessness, excitability, or feelings of agitation
  • Unusual activities while asleep, such as driving, eating, or making phone calls

Drug to Drug Interactions:

Ambien can have adverse affects if taken with:
  • Herbal medicines (e.g., St. John's Wort)
  • Drugs to treat fungal infections (e.g., fluconazole)
  • Some antidepressants (e.g., Zoloft)
  • Some HIV medications (e.g., Norvir)
  • Other sleep aids

Special Warning:

  • Sleeping medications, including Ambien, can and will cause a physical dependence on the medication if taking for prolonged periods of time.
  • Don't drive or operate power tools or machinery after taking Ambien.
  • Keep Ambien (and all medications) locked up and away from children.
  • Ambien should not be taken with sedatives, alcohol or recreational drugs.
  • The dose may need to be adjusted in the elderly and people with liver disease.
  • There are warnings for the use of Ambien in patients with depression, myasthenia gravis and respiratory disease.

For More Information:

To learn more about Ambien and Ambien CR, use About.com's Drug Finder.
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