The active ingredient zolpidem is one of the most modern means of short-term treatment of sleep disorders. As it is quickly absorbed by the body and degraded, its duration of action is limited – but it is woken up and recovered the next morning. Zolpidem is generally considered to be well tolerated, but is not suitable for children and pregnant women. Here you read all that is important about the effect of zolpidem, side effects and application.
The original patent of Zolpidem, held until 2007, of the pharmaceutical group Sanofi-Aventis. Since then, preparations containing this active substance have been marketed by many generic manufacturers. Like zopiclone and zaleplon, zolpidem belongs to the so-called “Z generation”. This mainly causes sleep, but is hardly anxiolytic or relaxing, as do the older sleeping pills of the benzodiazepine group (such as diazepam). Due to the rapid degradation of the body, a safe and effective sleep aid has been developed with the active ingredient zolpidem.
How does Zolpidem work?
The nerve cells are in contact with each other via specific interfaces, the synapses. Here, they communicate with each other via the activation or inhibition of messenger substances: If a nerve cell emits such a messenger substance, it can be perceived by the neighboring nerve cell at certain anchor points.
The active ingredient zolpidem intervenes in this communication between nerve cells by making the reception sites of the inhibitory messengers more sensitive. As a result, even a low concentration of inhibitory messenger substances can have a calming or soothing effect.
Absorption, decomposition and excretion of zolpidem
The sleep aid is taken in tablet form and quickly absorbed by the body. He quickly reaches the brain where it takes effect.
The active ingredient is broken down mainly by the liver into inactive metabolites. About half of them are excreted with the stool and the other half with the urine. Overall, it takes about two to four hours, until half of the absorbed drug is again excreted.
How to take Zolpidem?
Zolpidem is used for the short-term treatment of sleep disorders when they have some seriousness. In a long-term application, an addictive effect may occur.
Currently, sleep aid is only available as tablets and sublingual tablets, which dissolve after a few seconds in the mouth. These are particularly suitable for patients who have difficulty swallowing or who are powered by a probe.
The tablet is taken at bedtime before bedtime. Healthy adults take a single dose of ten milligrams of zolpidem, while older patients or those with liver damage take five milligrams.
The duration of the application should be from a few days to two weeks maximum. To stop taking, the dosage of zolpidem should be gradually reduced (“decreased”). Overall, the duration of use (treatment and gradual reduction) should not exceed four weeks.
What are the side effects of Zolpidem?
The adverse effects of Zolpidem in one in ten or one hundredth persons are: respiratory infections, hallucinations, nightmares, drowsiness, fatigue, dizziness, headache, insomnia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and memory failure after consumption.
Sometimes symptoms such as confusion, irritability, and double vision occur every one hundred to one thousandths of patients.
When stopping zolpidem, there may be so-called rebound insomnia, which is manifested by an increase in insomnia. Therefore, the drug should not be interrupted abruptly, but by slowly decreasing the dose.
What should be considered during the treatment with Zolpidem?
During treatment with Zolpidem, other medications that reduce the nervous system and alcohol should be given. Otherwise, the damping effect may be excessively increased. In addition, the risk of falling, especially in elderly patients, is greatly increased.
When taking active ingredients that act on the drug-degrading enzymes, the effect of the sleeping pill may be reduced or enhanced. An attenuated effect is obtained, for example, when concomitant administration of the antibiotic rifampicin or epileptic agents such as carbamazepine and phenytoin. On the other hand, remedies for fungal infections, some antibiotics and grapefruit juice can increase the effect of sleeping pills.
Even in patients with hepatic dysfunction, the drug is only slowly degraded, making it more effective. Therefore, a reduced dose of zolpidem is sufficient to achieve a sufficient effect.
As there is little data on the use of zolpidem during pregnancy and lactation, sleep aid should be avoided during this period. It can also cross the placenta and enter breast milk, which can lead to a high concentration of drugs in the child’s body.
How to get Zolpidem?
Because zolpidem should only be used for a short time, sleep aid is prescribed for each dose. With a doctor’s prescription, you get zolpidem at the pharmacy. At higher doses, which are not therapeutically significant, zolpidem is a marketable narcotic drug sold in France.