Ambien CR Precautions and Warnings
Before starting Ambien CR, precautions and warnings for the medicine should be discussed with your healthcare provider or pharmacist to help ensure a safe treatment process. For example, Ambien CR can potentially cause side effects, including memory loss, unusual behavior, and rebound insomnia. Before taking Ambien CR, be sure to let your doctor know if you drink alcohol regularly, are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
Prior to taking Ambien CR™ (zolpidem tartrate extended-release tablets), you should tell your healthcare provider if you have:
- Sleep apnea or other type of respiratory disease, such as emphysema or COPD
- Liver disease or liver failure
- Kidney disease or kidney failure
- Any sort of addiction
- Any allergies to medicines.
Let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant
- Drinking alcohol.
Also, tell your healthcare provider about all other medicines you may currently be taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Some precautions and warnings to be aware of with Ambien CR include:
- In January 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration lowered the recommended dosage for Ambien CR for women and suggested that a lower dosage be considered for men as well. This change was made because the lower dosage is less likely to cause morning drowsiness, which can interfere with your ability to do anything that requires alertness, such as driving (see Ambien CR Dosage for more information).
- There are certain other medications that Ambien CR can interact with (see Ambien CR Drug Interactions).
- If you drink alcohol, let your healthcare provider know prior to starting Ambien CR. People should not use alcohol when taking Ambien CR because it can increase the chances for developing Ambien CR side effects.
- Ambien CR is a pregnancy Category C medicine. This means that it may not be safe for use in pregnancy (see Ambien CR During Pregnancy).
- If you are nursing, it is recommended that you do not take Ambien CR. Therefore, if you are taking Ambien CR, discuss with your healthcare provider whether to stop nursing or discontinue Ambien CR.
- Ambien CR is considered a hypnotic/sedative type of medication. If you notice any changes in your behavior (such as anything unusual and/or disturbing) while taking Ambien CR or any other sleep medicine, notify your healthcare provider immediately.
- Elderly people and those who are debilitated can be quite sensitive to the effects of Ambien CR. Because of this, a lower dosage of Ambien CR is generally recommended. When taking Ambien CR, make sure you have at least seven or eight hours to sleep.
- Ambien CR not only acts quickly, but there may be carryover effects to the next day. Therefore, when starting Ambien CR, do not do anything that requires complete alertness, such as driving, operating machinery, or piloting an airplane.
- Ambien CR has been known to cause memory loss (amnesia), in which a person cannot remember what has happened for several hours after taking the medicine. This can be a problem for people who use Ambien CR when traveling. Unless a person is able to get seven to eight hours of sleep, Ambien CR is not recommended.
- If you are still having trouble sleeping after 7 to 10 days, make sure to talk with your healthcare provider, as this may be a sign that something else (such as a medical condition) may be causing your insomnia.
- Sedative-hypnotic medications (such as Ambien CR) can cause life-threatening allergic reactions. An allergic reaction to Ambien CR can occur even with your first dose of the drug. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any signs of an allergic reaction, such as an unexplained rash, itching, hives, wheezing or trouble breathing, or unexplained swelling (especially of the throat, lips, or mouth).
- There have been reports of "sleep-driving," "sleep-eating," or other unusual behaviors in people taking sedative-hypnotic medications. In general, people do not remember doing these things when they wake up in the morning. These activities can be dangerous, since people are not fully awake or alert.
- Withdrawal symptoms are possible with Ambien CR if it is used daily for a long period of time (see Ambien CR Withdrawal).
- Rebound insomnia is possible when people stop taking Ambien CR. Rebound insomnia is when a person has difficultly sleeping after stopping sleep medicine. This usually improves within one to two days.
- Ambien CR has the potential to be abused, and some people may even become dependent upon or addicted to it (see Ambien CR Addiction).