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Sounds Like: ZOL.puh.dim

Classification: Nonbenzodiazepine sedative-hypnotic

Controlled Substance Act Schedule: Schedule IV

Other names for Zolpidem

  • Ambien/Ambien CR
  • Stilnox
  • Z-drugs

Zolpidem Addiction

Zolpidem is only prescribed for short periods of use at its lowest effective dose specifically because of its association with drug tolerance and substance dependence. It takes only a few weeks for tolerance of its effects to develop to a significant degree. Quitting easily invokes a withdrawal phase, which often involves seizures. While Zolpidem isn’t a benzodiazepine, its withdrawal symptoms are tantamount to stronger, more violent forms of the same symptoms that benzodiazepines often cause. 

Alcohol bears cross-tolerance potential with Zolpidem, which some experts believe puts them at greater risk of physical dependency (or the development thereof) when they add Zolpidem to their substance arsenal. For this reason, it’s generally not prescribed to those with a history of alcoholism, but it’s also not prescribed usually if the patient has any history of recreational drug use. 

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Intended Use of Zolpidem

Zolpidem is intended to treat insomnia, and it’s only ever prescribed at its lowest effective dose for no more than two to six weeks. In general, though, insomnia is something for which experts commonly suggest using exhausting every other avenue before resorting to the prescription of any medication. This is partly attributable to the fact that Zolpidem’s efficacy has been demonstrated in contemporary research to be no more chemically effective than the placebo effect, as per a 2012 executive review.

How Zolpidem Is Taken

Zolpidem is taken in any of four ways. It can be ingested by swallowing it in its tablet form. It can similarly be administered sublingually, meaning that it is still administered orally but placed under the tongue in a way that diffuses its properties into the blood through tissues present there. Zolpidem can also be administered as an oromucosal spray, which means it is sprayed on the lining of the cheek at its mucous membrane. Lastly, the drug can also be administered rectally.

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Side Effects of

  • Sleepiness
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Memory loss
  • Hallucinations

Signs of an
Addiction to Zolpidem

Inability to sleep without Zolpidem

Unsuccessful attempts to stop using the drug

Difficulty staying below maximal recommended, daily dosage

Common use while already inebriated due to alcohol

Abuse Facts

Zolpidem is widely known in Australia as a drug under the influence of which a student was believed to have been sleepwalking and fell 66 feet from the sydney Harbour Bridge and died. The death got widespread media coverage.

Z-drugs, including Zolpidem, are considered date-rape drugs due to a few high-profile uses in known date-rape cases.