Ambien is used for short-term treatment of insomnia (difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, or early awakening). A relatively new drug, it is chemically different from other common sleep medications such as Halcion and Dalmane. Ambien cause sedation, muscle relaxation, act as anti-convulsants (anti-seizure), and have anti-anxiety properties. Ambien has selectivity in that it has little of the muscle relaxant or anti-seizure effect and more of the sedative effect. Therefore, it is used as a medication for sleep.
In European post-marketing reports of Ambien overdose alone, impairment of consciousness has ranged from drowsiness/sleepiness to light coma. There was one case of cardiovascular and respiratory compromise. Individuals have fully recovered from Ambien overdoses up to 400 mg (40 times the maximum recommended dose). Ambien overdose cases involving multiple CNS-depressant agents, including zolpidem, have resulted in more severe symptoms, including death.
Ambien overdose symptoms include but are not limited to:
- severe nausea or vomiting
- difficult or slow breathing
- slowed heart rate