S2 AP Psychology Kelly Woodmansee

Zolpidem Overview

Zolpidem description:

-Primarily used for the treatment of patients who have trouble falling asleep (insomnia).

-Conventional pills of Zolpidem are used for short-term treatment of insomnia, for difficulty falling asleep.

-Long acting Zolpidem is used for patients who have trouble with both falling asleep and staying asleep.

-The drug helps the initiation of sleep and the ability to keep patients asleep for a longer period of time

Chemical Make-Up:

-Zolpidem is N,N,6-trimethyl-2-p-tolylimidazo[1,2-a] pyridine-3-acetamide L-(+)-tartrate (2:1)

-The ingredients found in Zolpidem are hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, lactose, magnesium stearate, micro-crystalline cellulose, polyethylene glycol, sodium starch glycolate, and titanium dioxide.

Classification and Slang Terms


-Zolpidem is classified as a sedative or hypnotic drug.

-Shares some characteristics of sedatives known as benzodiazepines which causes sedation and relaxes the muscles.

-Zolpidem has a higher amount of the chemicals causing sedation and a lower amount of those muscle relaxants.

Slang Terms and Street Names:


-Zombie pills

-No-Go Pills



Prescription Names:


-Ambien CR



-Tovalt ADT

Ingestion and Medical Use

Ingesting Zolpidem:

-Tablets given by prescription in either doses of 5 mg or 10 mg (short release). 6.25 mg or 12.5 mg tablets for extended release.

-Oral spray which is absorbed directly through the lining of the mouth are given in 5 mg sprays

Medical Use:

-Zolpidem is prescribed by doctors to treat insomnia or the inability to fall asleep and/ or stay asleep.

-There is an improvement in getting the patient asleep faster, and keeping them asleep throughout the night.

Alter of Consciousness

-Zolpidem slows brain activity and allows it to "fall asleep"

-Therefore zolpidem alters your consciousness by taking you out of your alert and awake state. By placing you in a heavy sleep you are no longer aware of what is happening around you.

-Some patients often have an "amnesia" effect where they forget what happened right before they took the drug, or any of their actions while on the drug.

-The altered state of consciousness often results in many of the negative effects of the drug. *see psychological effects

Effects of Zolpidem

Long Term Psychological Effects:






Short Term Psychological Effects:

-excessive crying

-unusual dreams



-paradoxical insomnia



-impaired thinking

Long Term Physiological Effects:

-neck/joint/back pain

-vision problems

-chronic headaches

Long Term Physiological Effects:




-difficulty walking


-shaking of the arms and legs

-appetite change

-dry mouth/throat

-tingling or burning in hands, feet, arms, ears

-muscle aches/cramps

-redness of the eyes



-chest pain

-blurred vision


Effects Duration:

-Symptoms of insomnia should improve 7 to 10 days after starting the drug.

-Since the highly addictive nature of the drug, and the tendency for the patient to become dependent on the drug- trials usually only last a week or two.

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Patients who are put on zolpidem are usually only put on the drug for one to two weeks. This is a precaution so the patient does not become dependent on the drug. Dependence is created when a patient needs the zolpidem to fall asleep or stay asleep after their one to two week trial has finished. Once a dependence is created on the drug, the patient can develop the psychological withdrawal symptoms listed above.


The physical dependence on zolpidem is a result of the chronic use of the drug. The body creates a tolerance to the drug so the dosage needs to be increased. If the dosage is not increased the patient starts to have physical withdrawal symptoms listed above.