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    8 Side Effect Facts of Ambien

    If you suffer from insomnia, your doctor may recommend a prescription sleep medication to help you fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. One of the most common prescription sleep medications currently available is Ambien (zolpidem), a hypnotic medication that has been shown to be effective in helping insomniacs get more rest at night. Although Ambien is highly effective in treating insomnia, however, there are certain side effects that Ambien users need to be aware of before deciding whether or not to take this medication. If your doctor has recommended Ambien to help you sleep, check out the eight side effects of Ambien and other facts below, so you can make an informed decision. 

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    What side effects of Ambien should I report to my doctor right away?

    While most side effects of Ambien are mild and do not require a doctor's attention, there are several side effects that can be more severe or indicate an allergy. These include chest pain, fast or irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, trouble swallowing or breathing, feeling like you might pass out, swelling of the lips, face, tongue or throat and hives. If you experience any of these side effects, contact your doctor or seek emergency medical attention right away.

    What are the most common side effects of Ambien?

    The eight most common side effects of Ambien are dizziness, sleepiness, daytime drowsiness, clumsiness or unsteadiness, confusion, headache, dry mouth and a "drugged" feeling. Keep in mind that this is not a complete list of possible side effects associated with Ambien. Talk to your doctor to learn about any other possible side effects you may experience. 

    Does Ambien cause hallucinations?

    In some rare cases, Ambien can cause hallucinations or other serious side effects, including changes in mood or behavior, memory loss, abnormal thoughts, thoughts of suicide, worsening of depression or anxiety, aggression, confusion and agitation. If you experience any of these side effects, talk to your doctor right away. 

    What are some holistic sleep meds that can be used instead of Ambien?

    If you prefer not to take a prescription or over-the-counter sleep medication, there are some natural alternatives that may be helpful. These include melatonin and other sleep supplements, as well as aromatherapy using lavender and other calming scents to help you sleep.

    How long can I use Ambien?

    Ambien is meant to be a short-term aid to help with insomnia, but is not meant to be used long-term. Talk to your doctor about how long you can safely use Ambien. If you need ongoing help with sleep, your doctor may recommend a different medication.

    Are there any generic alternatives to Ambien?

    Yes, there are generic alternatives to Ambien available through a prescription from your doctor. If you prefer an generic medication, ask your doctor to include that information when writing your prescription, so your pharmacy knows to use a generic equivalent.

    What is an "Ambien Blackout?"

    In some rare cases, Ambien users have experienced what has come to be known as an "Ambien Blackout," which may involve such things as sleepwalking, sleep driving, sleep eating or shopping and other unusual behaviors that Ambien users later have no recollection of doing. If any of these occur, you should talk to your doctor immediately, as some cases of Ambien blackouts have resulted in physical harm. 

    Are there other medications besides Ambien that can help me sleep?

    There are several other sleep medications available, both with a prescription and over-the-counter. Prescription sleep aids include Lunesta, Sonata and Restoril, though these medications share similar side effects to Ambien. Over-the-counter alternatives include common antihistamines, such as Benadryl, or over-the-counter sleep aids.