This belongs to the group of medicines known as hypnotics.
Zolpidem is used to treat insomnia (difficulty sleeping).
Zolpidem decreases the time taken to fall asleep and increases the length of time spent sleeping.
Zolpidem is available in tablet form as a 5mg and a 10mg tablet.
It is also sometimes known as: Stilnoct. You may notice the use of either of these names on the packaging of your medicine.
Before taking zolpidem
Before taking zolpidem make sure your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- if you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding
- if you suffer from sleep apnoea(temporary stopping of breathing during sleep)
- if you suffer from respiratory(breathing) problems
- if you suffer from myasthenia gravis(a muscle weakening disease)
- if you suffer from liver problems
- if you have any mental health issues
- if you have ever been addicted to drugs or alcohol
- if you have ever had an allergic reaction to this medicine
- if you are taking any other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal or complementary medicines
How to take zolpidem
- Always read the manufacturer’s information leaflet, if possible, before beginning treatment.
- Take zolpidem exactly as directed by your doctor.
- Zolpidem is usually taken just before bedtime.
- Swallow tablet(s) with a glass of water.
- Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else has taken an overdose of zolpidem contact your doctor or go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital at once. Always take the container with you, if possible, even if it is empty.
- This medicine is for you. Never give it to others even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Before taking any ‘over-the-counter’ medicines, check with your pharmacist which medicines are safe to take alongside zolpidem.
- When zolpidem is taken with other medicines that act on the brain it may make you more drowsy then normal.
- Zolpidem can cause drowsiness and light-headedness which can continue into the next day. Make sure your reactions are normal before driving, operating machinery, or doing any other jobs which could be dangerous if you were not fully alert.
- Alcohol will increase any feelings of drowsiness. You should avoid alcohol while taking zolpidem.
- Do not stop taking zolpidem suddenly.
- Zolpidem is only recommended for short term use. The body gets used to the medicine within 3 to 14 days and after this time it is unlikely to have any effect. Do not use zolpidem for longer than your Doctor tells you.
Can zolpidem cause problems?
Along with their useful effects all medicines can cause unwanted side effects, which usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine. Speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side effects continue or become troublesome:
Dizziness, headache, daytime drowsiness, weakness and confusion (usually at start of treatment).
Nightmares, diarrhoea, restless sleep, problems with eyesight, shakiness and unsteadiness, difficulty remembering things, addiction to zolpidem (dependence).
Occasionally reduced sex drive, and feeling or being sick.
So-called "paradoxical" effects may occur which means that you may feel chattier and more excited or angry.
If you experience any other worrying symptoms, which you think may be due to this medicine, discuss them with your pharmacist or doctor.
How to store zolpidem
- Keep all medicines out of the reach of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
- Never keep out of date or unwanted medicines. Discard them safely, out of the reach of children, or take them to your local pharmacist who will dispose of them for you.
© EMIS 2006 Updated: 31/01/2006