Intermezzo is used to treat insomnia in people who wake up in the middle of the night and have problems falling back to sleep. It is available by prescription only and comes in the form of a sublingual tablet that dissolves under the tongue. This medicine is thought to work by binding to certain receptors in the brain. Side effects may include fatigue, headaches, and nausea.
What Is Intermezzo?
Intermezzo® (zolpidem sublingual tablet) is a prescription medication approved for the treatment of insomnia. It is specifically designed for people who wake up in the middle of the night and have difficulty falling back asleep. This medicine contains the same active ingredient as Ambien® and Ambien CR®, except it comes in the form of a fast-acting sublingual tablet with a lower dosage.
Like many other sleep medications, Intermezzo is a controlled substance and has the potential for abuse.
Intermezzo is made by Transcept Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
How Does Intermezzo Work?
Intermezzo is part of a class of medications called sedative/hypnotics, which are more commonly known as sleep medicines. It is thought that this product works by binding to certain receptors in the brain known as benzodiazepine receptors. It should be noted that Intermezzo is not a benzodiazepine drug and is not chemically related to benzodiazepines, even though it binds to the same receptors.
Studies have shown that Intermezzo helps people fall asleep faster after waking up in the middle of the night, compared to a placebo (a similar product that does not contain any active ingredients). Studies have also shown that when Intermezzo is used at the recommended dosage, it is unlikely to cause a "hangover" effect the next day and is unlikely to cause rebound insomnia (a worsening of insomnia once the medication is stopped).
Studies of Intermezzo have been relatively short (a few weeks in duration), and it is not clear if this medication is effective when used for more than 35 days.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Intermezzo [package insert]. Pt. Richmond, CA: Transcept Pharmaceuticals, Inc.;2011 November.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed February 21, 2012.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 8th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2008.
National Library of Medicine (US). Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMED). NLM Web site. Available at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?LACT. Accessed December 8, 2011.
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