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What Do You Do When You Run Out Of Ambien?

What Sleeping Pill Is Comparable To Ambien?

Ambien is a brand name medication that is generically known as zolpidem. According to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Ambien is classified as a Schedule IV Substance, which are defined as “drugs with a low potential for abuse and low risk of dependence.” It is a medication that is used to treat certain sleep issues (e.g., insomnia). Ambien belongs to a class of medications known as sedative-hypnotics which are used to induce and/ or maintain sleep. Ambien is a central nervous system depressant that works by acting on certain neurotransmitters in one’s brain, specifically the GABA-A (gamma-aminobutyric acid-A). When Ambien binds to this receptor it elicits a calming effect as it slows down excessive brain activity and inhibits the specific brain activity associated with insomnia. The average half-life, meaning the length of time the substance will remain in one’s system until the concentration in one’s blood has been reduced by half, of Ambien is about 2.5 hours.

Withdrawal Signs & Symptoms

Individuals that abuse Ambien or regularly take higher than normal doses are at increased risk of severe withdrawal symptoms. Common examples of Ambien withdrawal symptoms, may include the following, provided by National Institute on Drug Abuse: 

  • Vomiting
  • Increased heart rate
  • Excessive sweating
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Memory loss
  • Appetite changes
  • Headaches
  • Shaking
  • Dizziness
  • Coordination problems
  • Dry mouth
  • Weakness
  • Constipation 

According to the label from the drug manufacturer, withdrawal symptoms appear in approximately 1% of people taking a therapeutic dose of Ambien. Hence, it is rare for individuals who take a regular therapeutic dose of Ambien to experience withdrawal symptoms. 

What To Do

Ambien is not intended for long-term use; rather short treatment periods lasting one to two weeks long, or less are most common. When an individual with an Ambien prescription runs out, he or she should contact his or her doctor to discuss whether to refill their medication. The purpose of Ambien is to help an individual fall asleep, remain asleep, and obtain meaningful rest. Should an individual run out of Ambien, there are other options, including herbal remedies that can have similar effects such as valerian root, chamomile tea, melatonin, and more. Consulting a medical professional can be advantageous. In situations where an individual does experience severe symptoms of Ambien withdrawal, he or she may be prescribed short-term use of other medications including antipsychotics (e.g., Seroquel), anticonvulsants (e.g., Neurontin), or Klonopin. When the time comes to stop using Ambien, an overseeing medical professional will work with an individual to help reduce and in some cases, prevent the experience of severe withdrawal symptoms. 

For Information and Support 

Substance abuse and addiction can be incredibly dangerous and can result in severe short and long-term consequences. If you or someone you know is suffering from substance abuse or addiction, please get help as soon as possible. The earlier you seek support, the sooner you and your loved ones can return to leading happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives. There is no reason to go through this alone, and we are here to help. Please feel free to reach out to us for further information or with any questions regarding substance abuse or addiction. We are available anytime via telephone at: 213-389-9964, or you can always email us at:

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