Ambien® (zolpidem tartrate) is a prescription drug used for treating insomnia in adults. Although most people do not experience any problems while taking this sleep aid, there are certain risks with Ambien that you should be aware of before starting treatment.
This medication has been known to cause memory loss (amnesia), when a person cannot remember what has happened for several hours after taking the medicine. There have also been reports of "sleep-driving," "sleep-eating," or other unusual behaviors in people taking sedative/hypnotic medications such as Ambien.
After a couple of weeks, Ambien may lose its effectiveness. This is why it should only be used for a short period of time (one to two days). Symptoms of Ambien withdrawal are possible if the drug is used daily for a long time.
Other Ambien risks include the possibility of rebound insomnia (when a person has difficultly sleeping after stopping a sleep medicine), addiction, and suicidal thoughts. You should talk to your healthcare provider before taking this medication if you have depression or a history of alcohol or substance abuse.
(Click Ambien Side Effects and Ambien Precautions and Warnings to learn about other potential risks associated with Ambien use, what other side effects may occur, and information on who should not use the sleep medicine.)