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How is Ambien prescribed?

Ambien (zolpidem) is an anti anxiety medication used to help manage mood disorders and insomnia.  How does Ambien work in the body?   By slowing down brain activity.  This is why you need a prescription in order to get Ambien.  Zolpidem is a benzodiazepine-like drugs and is a Schedule IV controlled substance given its potential for abuse and dependence. This is why Ambien is only available as a prescription drug. More here on Ambien prescriptions and we invite your questions about Ambien at the end.

What do doctors prescribe Ambien for?

Ambien is a prescription drug that helps improve sleep in people with insomnia, as well as controlling the symptoms of panic attacks and mood disorders. By altering the balance of chemicals in the brain, Ambien causes relaxation and helps remove stress. Because Ambien can also cause euphoric feelings, Ambien abuse is possible and occurs when people use Ambien for non-medical reasons.

Ambien prescription dosage

Ambien is normally only prescribed in doses of 10 mg once daily. Ambien is usually supposed to be taken right before bed, even when it’s not being used to treat insomnia, because of the extreme drowsiness it causes. Some people with a compromised liver or other condition which causes increased drug sensitivity may only be prescribed 5 mg per day.  How long is Ambien in body?  The body absorbs Ambien quickly, working within 90 minutes of dosing and being reaching its half life in the body within a few hours.  At most, Ambien stays in the body for a couple of days until it is completely metabolized.

Ambien prescription cost

The cost of Ambien depends on your insurance coverage. Brand name Ambien can be very expensive, with some people reporting prices of over $100 for a 30 day supply without insurance. If your insurance covers Ambien, it may be less expensive, but not necessarily by much – $70 is not unheard of. The generic version of Ambien which is basically zolpdiem, is probably a better choice for most people, as it only costs about $20-30 for a month’s supply of the medication.

Can you get Ambien over the counter?

No. You cannot get Ambien over-the-counter. Ambien is a prescription-only medication. This is due to the potential for Ambien abuse. Anyone taking Ambien needs to be under a doctor’s supervision to make sure it’s being taken safely.

Signs of Ambien prescription drug abuse

The signs of Ambien abuse can be subtle. If you’re taking more Ambien than prescribed (or without a prescription) in order to achieve euphoric effects, you are abusing Ambien. Sometimes it’s more complex then that; someone with a prescription may have developed a tolerance for Ambien and may take larger amounts simply to get relief from their symptoms.

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Regular abuse of Ambien (zolpidem) does have its risks. If you become addicted from abusing Ambien, you will not only have physical withdrawals when you stop taking the drug, but you’ll experience compulsions take Ambien regularly, even if it has negative consequences on your personal or professional life.

Ambien prescription questions

Do you still have questions about Ambien prescriptions? Please leave them here. We are happy to help answer your questions personally and promptly. If we do not know the answer to your particular question, we will refer you to someone who does.

Reference Sources: FDA Consumer Medication Guide: Ambien Tablets
DailyMed: Ambien CR
PubMed: Zolpidem: a review of its use in the management of insomnia

Photo credit: Kratka Photography

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8 Responses to “How is Ambien prescribed?
Gail
5:06 am February 27th, 2014

My Dr will only prescribe (2) 20 pill prescriptions of zolpidem between visits! I have been taking this med for over 10 yrs and I have been with this dr for over 8 yrs. this changed after my Dr(PA) changed clinics. I would like to know if this is a law or just the policy of the clinic to prescribe only 40 pills between visits??? The visits are expensive!! Wondering if I should change doctors.

11:56 am February 27th, 2014

Hello Gail. I’d suggest that you call the clinic directly and ask them. If you don’t get a straight answer, you can phone your state attorney general’s office and ask for help investigating the current legal restrictions on prescription medications. Best of luck to you in your search.

Gifford
10:46 pm October 25th, 2014

I have been on 20 /day for years for sleep and pain.It I is the only thing that gets ms to sleep with chronic pain (CPPS). But I would like to cut back some. What is the best way to partially withdraw from. Ambien?

3:40 pm October 27th, 2014

Hi Gifford. Read this to learn the detail on weaning yourself off of Ambien: http://prescription-drug.addictionblog.org/how-to-withdraw-from-ambien/

Cherry
10:10 am February 14th, 2016

Who could I get a prescription for ambien

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
9:05 pm February 17th, 2016

Hi, Cherry. Ambien is prescribed by a doctor.

Ray
10:40 am June 13th, 2016

Hard time sleeping help. Have good insurance southwest medical. Have classic retiree pOSPlan

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
5:04 pm June 28th, 2016

Hi Ray. Call the number displayed on the website to speak with a trusted treatment consultants.

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