What is Ambien (Zolpidem)?
Zolpidem is the generic name for Ambien, which was introduced to the major public in the 1990s. Doctors prescribed it to treat sleeping disorders such as insomnia. After it had proven useful as a sleep-initiating medicine, which exudes its sedative effects within 15 minutes of intake, a few slight changes had to be made; in 2013, the Food and Drug Administration (the FDA) issued a requirement to decrease the recommended dose for women by half. They based their reasoning on various studies, which showed that the medicine could leave women drowsy the morning after, which in turn puts them at risk of causing a traffic accident.
Furthermore, research showed that Zolpidem has particular muscle relaxant and anticonvulsant properties, which can be very useful for muscle relaxation or for preventing seizures. However, the dosage needed to achieve these effects would have to be increased by 10 and 20 times, which is not a safe solution; hence, this theory never came to fruition.
Why Use Ambien For Opiate Withdrawal?
Drug withdrawal can cause many severe side effects, some of which include low energy, irritability, anxiety, agitation, and last but not least insomnia. Since doctors prescribe Ambien as a sleep-initiating medicine, it makes perfect sense to someone dealing with insomnia to take it, especially during a sensitive and hard period such as an opiate withdrawal.
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In some cases, reports show that Ambien did wonders for those struggling with insomnia while going through opiate withdrawal; however, there is one significant risk that should not be overlooked. Ambien too can cause dependence, which means if an opiate addict manages to leave behind his/her opiate addiction, they might gain another one to Ambien. Overall, one should bear in mind that Ambien consumption during opiate withdrawal is not necessarily a win-win situation, but that is not to say that one can not benefit from its sleep-initiating effects.
What Should One Do Before Taking Ambien for Opiate Withdrawal?
The best and safest decision one can make, is to consult a doctor before taking Ambien during opiate withdrawal. It is a unique and strenuous process; furthermore, each addict may have an entirely different withdrawal experience. Your doctor is the one that can tailor an effective withdrawal plan and make sure you suffer minimal side effects. Make sure to take Ambien only if a medical professional deems it safe for you. Also, let your doctor know if you have any of the following conditions:
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Asthma, bronchitis, emphysema
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Sleep apnea
- Myasthenia gravis—neuromuscular disease
- History of depression
- Alcohol addiction
Ambien Side Effects
Like most medications, Ambien can also cause a host of side effects which include:
- Daytime drowsiness
- Weakness, feeling “drugged.”
- Tired feeling
- Loss of coordination
- Stuffy nose
- Dry mouth
- Dry nose or throat irritation
- Muscle pain
If you notice any of these symptoms while on Ambien, immediately call your doctor.