Zolpidem Side Effects

Zolpidem Side Effects

Side effects occur when the treatment or medication causes an unpleasant effect because it does more than deal with the target issue. These can range from mild to severe and is different for each type of medication. Normally following usage and dosage guidelines ensure a pleasant experience and optimum efficacy with most sleeping pills.

An adverse event refers to an unwanted side effect. Side effects can, in some rare cases, be life-threatening. Any type of medication can have adverse events. This includes herbal supplements, vitamins, over-the-counter medications and those which are prescribed as well. For a medication to receive approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the manufacturer must list all of the side effects associated with the medication they produce.

Zolpidem side effects tend to occur when the medication is used in a manner other than specified. This sleep aid is intended for the short-term relief of insomnia and if used in dosages higher than those recommended, there is a greater chance of side effects being experienced.

The FDA encourages those using medications to report any side effect experienced. This can be done through the appropriate channels of an FDA program known as MedWatch. Medwatch allows the problems or adverse events of medications to be reported by consumers or healthcare professionals. This is important as it allows the safety concerns of the medications to be identified.

Common Zolpidem Side Effects

The most common zolpidem side effects include:

  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Tiredness
  • Drowsiness
  • Loss of co-ordination

When feeling dizzy or drowsy, it is recommended that one rests and does not engage in any activity that requires energy. This is also appropriate for circumstances where the side effect, tiredness, is overbearing. Rest is also recommended for people that are experiencing headaches with the use of this sleep aid. It is best to do so in a quiet, dark room and a hot or cold compress to the forehead may also be helpful.

When you feel you have a loss of co-ordination or any cognitive impairment, it is advised that you do not engage in any activity which requires mental alertness.

The side effects listed are not a complete review of all the effects possible. If experienced, these side effects mentioned above typically have a less severe expression.

There is research evidence from dose comparison trials which suggest that a dose relationship exists for many of the side effects associated with the use of this sleep medicine. This is of particular significance for the adverse events which relate to the central nervous system (CNS).

Uncommon Zolpidem Side Effects

Uncommon Ambien / zolpidem side effects refer to those adverse events which are infrequent. Uncommon side effects are generally recorded as those which are experienced in greater than or equal to one in 1000 trial patients and less than 1 in 100.

The infrequent side effects of zolpidem, which are presented with severe expression include:

  • An abnormality in nervous system functioning (which affects alertness)
  • Hypotension

The uncommon side effects which are usually less severe in expression can include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Constipation
  • Muscle weakness
  • Abnormal dreams
  • Prolonged drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Dry mouth
  • Muscle pains

This is not a complete list of the adverse reactions possible and others can occur.

Some people using sleeping tablets like zolpidem 10 mg pills may also experience engaging in activities when they are not fully awake and which they have no memory of later on. This can include walking, making a phone call or even driving. If this occurs when you are using this sleep medication, you should contact your healthcare provider for medical advice. Serious injuries can occur if you operate a motor vehicle or walk whilst not completely awake.

Zolpidem Side Effects

Rare Zolpidem Side Effects

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a rare side effect affects greater than or equal to one in 10 000 test subjects in a clinical or controlled trial and less than one in 1000.

Some of the rare zolpidem side effects are:

  • Sleepwalking
  • Agitation
  • A skin rash
  • Angioedema (type of allergic reaction)
  • Anemia
  • Hallucinations

Allergies, although they may be extremely rare in occurrence, can be fatal. These are evident by skin rashes, hives, fever, itchiness and sometimes even shortness of breath. The more serious complications of an allergic reaction can be in the cases where a patient develops angiodedema.

Angioedema is a significant form of an allergy where there is an accumulation of fluid beneath the skin or mucosa. Swelling is characteristic of this disorder and is an indication the fluid build-up. When the swelling affects the throat or airway passages and restricts breathing, this can be life-threatening and medical attention is necessary.

Zolpidem Effects Explained

There are a few reasons for why side effects can be linked to certain medications.

  • Dosages
  • An individual reaction to any of the ingredients in the medicine
  • Interactions between different medications

No-adherence to a medical practitioner's advice is one of the most common reasons people experience side effects. This includes using the medication in dosages higher than what you are prescribed or more frequently than recommended.

The standard prescription dose for zolpidem is 10 mg per day and immediately before bed time. This is halved for women as females were shown to be more prone to excessive zolpidem side effects than males. Other than females, the elderly are also cautioned when using this medication with regard to heightened adverse events.

In some cases, an allergic reaction may occur when using certain medications. This depends on how your body perceives the ingredients in the medicine. If your body assumes any substance is harmful, an allergic reaction may occur. This response is individualised and does not affect everyone in the same manner.

Medications may also interact with other therapeutics and can result in harmful interactions. For example, medications which are classified as sedatives and hypnotics should not be used concomitantly with zolpidem 10 mg. This can increase the sedative effects of the treatment and potentiate the severity of some adverse events.

There are also disease interactions which affect zolpidem use:

  • Liver disease
  • Renal dysfunction
  • Respiratory dysfunction
  • Glaucoma
  • Depression

Zolpidem is not recommended for use in these cases but if done so, should be preceded under supervision and administered in low dosages.

Updated: 14th January 2021
Review Due: January 2022



Fueled with a passion to try and help people less fortunate than himself Steve immersed himself in the medical industry. By researching new and innovative medical advancements and regularly sharing important information on social media Steve intends to make a difference where it matters most, people's health. His wealth of knowledge and keen eye for detail will help keep our readers informed and contribute towards improved health.

Grant McIntosh – Mar 05, 2021
Hi Steve, This is a very balanced and well written article. All too often writers concentrate only on the positive aspects of a medication and it is good to see a balanced perspective. Grant McIntosh

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