Ambien Overdose

What is Ambien?

Ambien is a sedative. The generic name of the Ambien is zolpidem, which is used to treat insomnia (sleeplessness) by acting on sleep center of the brain. Ambien is a fast acting drug, after taking the medicine, it is suggested that people should go to bed as immediate action is started.

Ambien is also available as sustained release formulation. In this dosage form the drug is prepared in different layers, in which first layer immediately disintegrates after taking the medication and action is started. The subsequent layers are gradually disintegrate after periodic intervals, which provide prolonged deep sleep, without any break. Depending upon the patient condition, a physician recommends the dose and formulation of the Ambien. (1,2)

The effects of Ambien

Thinking capacity or sensible reaction may contribute of Ambien ingestion. Usually hangover in next morning is the common complaint of the user, specifically for sustained release formulations. Therefore, it is suggested that user should not start working, specifically which need full concentration like driving, cooking or other activity immediately after wake up in the morning. This will prevent to reduce the accidental effect; wait for a few hours may be 2 to 4 hours a person is fully active when all the effect of the drug is abolished.

Some individual shows allergic reaction against Ambien, as the drug stimulates the mast cells. If any symptoms like hives, breathing difficulty, face, lips, tongue, or throat inflammation needs immediate stopping of the dose and take an emergency call for a doctor.

This medication is not officially permitted for pediatric use and advice not to take the medicine without a doctor’s recommendation. Self prescription or advising the drug to peers or others with same symptoms is strictly restricted as the drug dosing is very important factor for avoiding any incident of dangerous adverse effect and misuse of the drug.

Concurrent use of alcohol or other CNS depressant drugs are also not permitted. It is always recommended Ambien, must be taken just before going to the bed. Ambien has habit forming capacity, so avoid taking the medication unnecessary. (1, 2,3)

Overdose effect of Ambien

Ambien overdose may be fatal, especially concurrent taking of other drugs which depress CNS, including alcohol.

The symptoms of overdose include excessive drowsiness, confusion, slurred speech, delusional statement, nausea, short deep breathing, retention of carbon-di-oxide (hypercapnea),  lightheadedness, decrease pupil size, Hypoxemia (oxygen level is below normal in the blood), unconsciousness, and coma. The overdose of Ambien is an emergency situation and take immediate action for medical interventions. (2,3)

The cause of overdose

The cause of an overdose of Ambien is included increase the dose of tablet, the medicine is taken with other CNS affecting drugs or heavy alcohol drinking.  (2,3)

Who is usually overdosed with Ambien?

The psychological analysis reported that an overdose tendency is more in psychologically unbalanced patient, depression and stress influence individual to take an overdose of the Ambien, for suicidal commitment. This tendency is higher in females.(2,3)

Factor influence Ambien overdose

  • It is a very important factor that Ambien overdose is not similarly prevalent for every case. It depends on how frequent the user use Ambien. Due to the tolerance develops, the dose which affects new patient is not same as for chronic users.
  • Other than this, age, sex, general health status, concomitant medicine intake also influence Ambien overdose.

Due to above mentioned variable factors, it is difficult to identify the specific dose for overdosing of the Ambien. (2,3)

Dosing system of the Ambien

The approved dose for sedative use for Ambien is 10 mg, OD, HS (Once daily, before bed).

The study report showed that 40 times more than the recommended dose i.e. 400mg does not cause fatal overdose effect. But, it is noticeable that intake of slightly increase of 70mg Ambien can cause discomfort, like headache, muscle pain and nausea. The dose 2000 times dose intake means 2000mg (2g) of Ambien administration provides fatal effect. (1,2,3


  • Depending upon the overdose symptoms, the symptomatic treatment is provided to control the patient condition. In case of fatal over dose symptoms, supportive care like mechanical ventilation and/or intubation is require to stabilize the patient condition.
  • Usually doctor prefers immediate stomach wash or gastric lavage measure depending upon the patient requirement.
  • Intravenous fluid administration is another medical approach provided to Ambien overdose patient for hydrating the patient and balancing the physiological functioning of the affected individual.
  • Doctor may recommend flumazenil to reduce the sedative effect of the Ambien; but close monitoring is require as flumazenil administration may contribute seizure attacks.
  • The vital signs including heart rate, pulse rate, respiratory rate and blood pressure, monitoring at regular interval is a very important criteria for management of the Ambien overdose patient.
  • Diurestic drugs may also prefer for easy elimination of the metabolite products of For severe condition, even hemodialysis is performed to rapid excretion of the drug from the physiological system.
  • If doctor suspect that, multiple drug is involved in overdose effect, they may contact poison control center for management of the affected individual. (4,5)


  1. Ambien; Retrieve from:
  2.  Can you overdose (OD) on Ambien? (2012); Retrieve from:
  3. Ambien overdose: How much amount of Ambien to OD? (2012); Retrieve from:
  4. Ambien, (2014); Retrieve from:
  5. Ambien Overdose Symptoms and Treatment; Retrieve from:

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