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About Ambien

Discussion forum about the side effects of Ambien. Share your experience and opinion about Ambien. What would you tell your best friend about this product? Please remember that we do not give medical advice. That is for your local health care provider, who is familiar with your medical history.

3 years on Ambien
Date: 2/27/2005
I have been taking 10mg of Ambien every night now for about 3 years. At first, it knocked me right out within 15 minutes and I slept soundly for 7 to 8 hours straight. My husband told me that I sometimes woke up during the night and would act 'funny'. He said it seemed as if I was caught in a nightmare and filled with terror. Other times I would go get something to eat. Other times I would be sexually aggressive...and I don't mean in a sexy way. I stayed on Ambien because it really helped me sleep. It improved my whole quality of life. Now, a few years later, it takes about an hour for the Ambien to take affect. And, I sleep for about 6 hours straight. I still wake up feeling refreshed and I never have had a hangover. I have found that it's best for me to take it on an almost empty stomach and to take it right before bed. If I take it and don't get into bed I end up wide awake and hungry. Also, it is when I don't go right to bed that I have trouble with memory. Example...I may take it, get into bed and my husband and I will watch a movie. I usually don't remember much of the movie at all. And, I fall asleep right in the middle of it all. Just for reference, the other medications I take are birth control pills and thyroid medication. I do not drink or smoke. I have had trouble with sleep since I was a little girl and wish I had been able to find relief sooner. Best of luck to everyone!

Inconsistent results
Date: 2/27/2005
This is the second time have taken ambien. I do notice that some nights it has no effect what so ever. Other nights it puts me to sleep in about 30 minutes. It does make me drowsy on those nights, but it won't put me to sleep.

Ambien long-term
Date: 3/2/2005
Is there any research showing a connection between taking Ambien long-term and gastric emptying problems?

AskDocWeb: No, and since Ambien is meant for short-term use only, there is little chance of any long-term studies being conducted.

Neurological changes
Date: 3/2/2005
I have been taking ambien nightly (10mg) for about 18 months. It definitely has helped my sleep but I am concerned that I cannot sleep without it. I have also had some neurological changes in the past few months including sudden onset of dizziness, pressure on the top of my head at times, sensitivity to headlights when driving at night. It could just be a correlation co-efficient, I don't know.

AskDocWeb: These are side effects that indicate you should discontinue ambien. This concerns me enough to recommend you talk to your doctor about the possibility of doing a brain CAT scan.

Wonderful drug
Date: 3/5/2005
I'm going through the dreaded menopause and insomnia quickly became a real problem. I'd be sleepy, click off the light, then BAM - wide awake for hours, only to fall asleep just before the alarm went off... It was, of course, effecting my work... My doc suggested I try Ambien.. What a wonderful drug... I never feel "drugged" - just sleepy in the nicest form of the word, and never hungover the next day...never in need of a nap... I've been using it for about 7 months. Have never had to take more than 5mgs....

Ambien and DUI
Date: 3/5/2005
I, too, am charged with a DUI...Didn't take ambien long and did not know the side effects such as a sleep walking like state...I will never, ever take another sleeping pill of any kind or any other drug.. Having an accident and knowing the torment ambien has caused my life...Other people truly need to know what the side effects are and know not to drive ever.

Eerie side effect of Ambien
Date: 3/8/2005
I've taken ambien for a good few months. The drug does help induce sleep, so I have no complaints about that aspect of it. What's eerie are the side effects. Waking up in clothes you don't recall putting on, decorating the bathroom and not remembering actually doing it, the worse by far is the mirror hallucinations. I take a pill, brush my teeth, wash my face, etc getting ready to go to bed and I look and see my face distorted into some monstrous oddity.

Metallic taste
Date: 3/9/2005
Is metallic taste ever associated with ambien?

AskDocWeb: Although it wasn't listed, many drugs can cause changes in taste. You can learn more here.

Way too scary
Date: 3/12/2005
I took Ambien for 40 nights. It was quite inconsistent in the results, but I also noted other troublesome side effects, such as hives, throat constriction, anxiety, muscle pain, dizziness and "fogginess" during the day. Needless to say, I will never take this medication again. Way too scary!

Dream come true
Date: 3/14/2005
Ambien seemed like a dream come true. I did not sleep (more than 2-3 hours a night) for nearly 2 years when my doctor prescribed Ambien. It worked wonderful. I have been on it over 2 years. Now I read about memory problems. I thought I was coming down with Alzheimer's at 40 years old. I never forget to keep appointments, I am always on time, very responsible and punctual. But for 6 or so months, I haven't been able to concentrate, I forget little things and appointments. I am late for things, depressed, and uptight. This is all new to me. I went for a check up to make sure I was okay, and prescribed more Ambien. I will not take it any longer knowing that it causes these symptoms. I have found journaling to get my feelings on paper has helped me to sleep better. May not work for all, but if it helps one person, it's worth telling.

Ambien is scary
Date: 3/14/2005
Last night I took Ambien and afterwards my 14-year-old son asked if I could take him to get something to eat. I did, and my son had to drive back home. The last thing I remember was being in the car waiting for the food. The next thing I remember was I was in my bedroom and was throwing up. I remember cleaning the mess and taking a shower, then the next thing I remember is waking up this morning.

I recently got a prescription for Ambien because I was having trouble sleeping, and they're serious when they say to be sure you go to sleep. It was scary. I feel fine today, but it bothers me that I can't remember much about last night.

Really Like It for Episodic Use
Date: 3/17/2005
I take Ambien when I travel. If I cross 3-4 time zones I find that it will allow me to get sleepy at the time I should go to bed, and then to stay asleep until the alarm goes off. I have no daytime grogginess, so I can use it the night before a big meeting or presentation. The only odd side effect I've had with it is a feeling of having "lost" a night. I'll wake up refreshed, but without the sensation that I've actually slept.

Awake at 3AM with Ambien
Date: 3/21/2005
I have had trouble sleeping for the last week or so after having no problems sleeping in about a year. My doctor prescribed a few Ambien pills for me (10mg) so I have taken it the last 3 nights and I have to say that I feel it doesn't work for me. It still takes me about 20 min to fall asleep which is normal, but then I still wake up a couple times a night and after about 3AM, I cannot get back to sleep at all. I feel very tired all day, like I have heavy eyelids. I think I am getting about 4-5 hours total which is what I was getting before taking Ambien. It doesn't make me sleepy at all and it is almost like taking nothing for me. I guess I am in the minority. Tonight I will not take one to see how I sleep, as I feel that it is not helping me to sleep. The pills are expensive, too. With my insurance "discount", 6 pills were $25.00.

AskDocWeb: Ambien may not be your best choice. You might try Lunesta. You can take it longer, up to 6 months while ambien is recommended for 7-10 days. Sonata helps you stay asleep unlike ambien. Like any sleeping pill you can become dependent on it after two months.

Memory loss with Ambien
Date: 3/25/2005
I have been taking ambien for about 4 years. I take a half pill of 10 mg every night. It provides me with enough rest to function the next day reasonably. I am now 62, and experience frequent memory loss issues such as remembering names, events, articles read in the morning. I am concerned about damaging brain cells that will eventually lead to dementia and alzeimers disease. I am fearful of going off the medication in that it will lead to poor performance at work. On the other hand, the memory issues and dependence on drugs is very disturbing. I am looking for a method to successively withdraw from this drug. If anyone can recommend a program, or a success story please recommend a program or plan as I do want to discontinue this path of dependency and demise of the brain functions.

AskDocWeb: There is a reason why Ambien is only meant for short-term use. You can and do develop a dependence to it. For a doctor to prescribe Ambien for 4 years makes us wonder how long it will be before we start seeing law suits about this. We suggest you find another doctor or at the very least, talk with your doctor about how to wean yourself off of Ambien and discuss what you will be going through when you do that.

Need some encouragement
Date: 3/27/2005
Six years now on Ambien. In the beginning, I broke the pill into thirds, then halves when I found myself waking in the middle of the night. I've had none of the "weird" side effects, and find that a telephone ringing or getting up to work on computer will completely disrupt the sleep pattern. Memory loss is not a problem, and I've never felt groggy the next morning. It's simply too expensive. I am presently on my 12th day of attempted withdrawal. I've had a couple of good nights' sleep using 2 valerian and 2 melatonin (with less I get no sleep), but there is some grogginess the next day. PLEASE, has anybody ever gotten free of this addiction? I quit smoking cold-turkey 28 years ago, it took 4 weeks and then was gone--and believe this will go away as well. I just need some encouragement from someone who DID IT!

AskDocWeb: We are so sorry to hear that your doctor said it was okay to be on Ambien for such a long period of time. You are correct in that the symptoms will go away eventually.

Doctor is unconcerned
Date: 3/30/2005
I started taking ambien after a serious surgery, that was 10 years ago. I guess I always felt "safe" because I have confidence in my MD, I (ignorantly, I must say) had some side effects but honestly did not put it with the med. Terrible dreams, jerking in my body, memory loss.

I am 68, take 10 mg per day. Now the problem is, yes, I want to stop however reading the things that may happen if I do, even cutting the dosage, scares me to say the least. My doctor does not seem that concerned as long as I don't increase.

AskDocWeb: This is something that should be taken seriously. Your doctor's lack of concern would be reason enough for us to seek a different health care provider. If you go back to that doctor, ask how he justifies using Ambien so long when the warning on the package insert says it is for short-term use only.

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