How to Stop Taking Ambien

The safest way to stop Ambien is by gradually reducing (tapering) dose. Experts suggest a taper schedule of gradual reduction and then withholding an Ambien dose every other day or every third day. Learn more about the principles and protocol behind Ambien cessation here.

minute read
Reviewed by: Dr. Manish Mishra, MBBS

ARTICLE SUMMARY: The best way to stop taking AMBIEN is by slowly reducing the daily dose under the supervision of a medical professional. Additionally, medical detox can help minimize withdrawal symptoms.


What Happens When You Stop

Are you considering quitting Ambien (zolpidem)?

Medications like Ambien should be used only for short-term treatment of insomnia (SAMHSA Brief from 2014). A sedative-hypnotic drug, Ambien should really only be prescribed for a few weeks, or less. In fact, the FDA approved Ambien drug label states that it has been shown to be clinicially effective for only 35 days of consecutive use.  It has addictive potential…even in people who have never encountered substance use problems in the past.

Furthermore, when you take Ambien over a period of time, your body becomes accustomed to having the medication in your system. So, when you stop taking Ambien abruptly, your body is unable to handle the change, and you experience withdrawal symptoms. This can occur even when you aren’t addicted to Ambien.

Addiction Liability

It can be difficult to stop taking Ambien. In fact, getting addicted to Ambien can be one side effect of long-term use. Does it always happen?  Not necessarily. This 2011 study published in the medical journal, Behavioral Pharmacology, found that Ambien may possess moderate abuse potential that limits its clinical utility.

Even though the Drug Enforcement Administration enforces Ambien as a scheduled IV drug (it officially has a low addictive potentialaccording to the Controlled Substances Act), there are many testimonial that prove otherwise. For instance, a 2007 study published in British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology showed that the nonbenzodiazepine hypnotic zolpidem has a higher abuse potential than previously documented.

But even if you aren’t addicted, you can experience physical side effects when you remove the medication from your system. This is because physical dependence and developing tolerance to Ambien occur relatively quickly.

Who Has Trouble with Ambien?

Yu are not alone in the vicious cycle of needing a sleep aid to get to sleep. In fact, the data in National Survey on Drug Use and Health of 2016 showed that 497,000 people aged 12 or older were using sedatives (including Ambien) incorrectly in the past year. The numbers break down by demographic into:

  • 23,000 adolescents aged 12 to 17.
  • 50,000 young adults aged 18 to 25.
  • 425,000 adults aged 26 or older.

Moreover, 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that about 330,000 people aged 12 or older were nonmedical users of sedatives in 2014. Further, the 2013 DAWN Report on Emergency Department Visits for Adverse Reactions Involving the Insomnia Medication Zolpidem showed that the number of zolpidem-related ED visits increased 220% from from over 6,000 visits in 2005 to almost 20,000 visits in 2010.

So, be careful when using Ambien.

Can I Just Stop?

No. Most people can’t just stop taking Ambien.

It’s not a matter of lacking willpower. Taking Ambien creates physical dependence on zolpidem over time. Dependence on Ambien symptoms can include needing to take Ambien every day, needing to take more Ambien to get to sleep, as well as withdrawal symptoms when you reduce or stop dosing with zolpidem.

For most folks who’ve taken Ambien for three weeks or more, it’s common to experience withdrawal symptoms when they try to just quit. Some withdrawal symptoms can be unpleasant. For example, rebound insomnia can keep you up for days at a time. Others, such as seizures, can be dangerous.


It may take less than a month to develop a dependence on Ambien. Withdrawal effects can be serious enough to require hospitalization, and can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Brain fog
  • Confusion
  • Cravings
  • Depression
  • Fearfulness
  • Hallucinations
  • Nightmares
  • Memory loss
  • Mood swings
  • Paranoia and panic attacts
  • Psychosis
  • Sleep disorders
  • Shaking
  • Vomiting

Withdrawal effects may be worse if you’ve taken Ambien long-term or at high doses (20mg or more) to help you sleep at night. Also, check out our visual chart that can help you learn the exact time when some of the withdrawal symptoms occur.

Cold Turkey

Can you quit Ambien cold turkey? In some cases, it may be appropriate. However, it can actually be dangerous to stop taking Ambien suddenly. Ask a doctor for guidance any time you’re planning to quit Ambien. Tapering protocols can be adjusted for your individual case.

Generally, doctors recommend gradually tapering your dose over weeks or even months, depending on how much zolipdem you’ve been taking at night. Stopping suddenly actually makes it harder to quit, due to the potential severity of withdrawal effects, including induced seizures. Many people will simply start taking Ambien again to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

There are reasons to quit Ambien cold-turkey, of course. If you’ve taken Ambien long-term and developed an addiction to Ambien, you may be incapable of exercising the control to slowly taper your dose. You might also have to quit suddenly due to a drug sensitivity or reaction.

Consult a medical professional anytime you want to quit taking Ambien. It is a psychoactive drug that requires medical supervision during tapering.

Medical Detox

In some cases, you may want to stop taking Ambien under 24-7 medical supervision. In these cases, medical detox clinics provide treatments that deal with withdrawal symptoms, as well as offer emotional and psychological support. Also, you will be under round-the-clock medical care, very helpful in managing cases of psychosis.

What can you expect during medical detox?

Step 1: Assessment.

Completion of paperwork is the first thing that you will do in detox. You may be asked to present insurance or payment documentation. Expect about an hour-long discussion during which you may be asked to give urine or blood sample for a drug test. This first assessment help detox staff plan the services during your stay.

Step 2: Clinical Assessment.

During the clinical assessment, you will consult with detox supervisors. They will take your medical history, family history, conduct a physical exam, and complete an evaluation. Also, nurses will request prescriptions for medications from supervising physicians at this time. This way, the clinic begins to address withdrawal symptoms immediately.

Step 3: Tapering. 

Tapering protocols dictate the time period for reducing your doses. These schedules are created on doctor’s orders. Note that every case of tapering requires individual monitoring. This is beacuse we all react differently to psychoactive drugs…and their removal from the system.

Step 4: Transition.

Transition to further treatment is the last step of medical detox. If needed, longer term addiction treatment will help you learn how to manage life without Ambien, as well as, how to protect yourself from a relapse. Keep in mind that no one can make you enroll into a treatment. The decision is yours alone.

The Safe Way to Stop

The safest way to stop taking Ambien is by consulting a doctor. A doctor’s instructions will make the process easier and more effective. You can plan for rebound symptoms of insomnia, schedule a tapering calendar, and set up a plan for how to manage other symptoms. Speaking to a counselor or mental health professional can also help you cope with possible Ambien addiction, if psychological dependence is keeping you from quitting.

It’s easiest to quit Ambien and stay off it if you reduce your dose a small amount at a time. To discontinue hypnotic medications like Ambien, experts suggest a taper schedule of withholding a dose every other day or every third day. However, doctor can help you develop a dosing schedule suitable for your particular needs.

If you suspect that you or someone close to you has developed dependence or addiction to Ambien, seek medical help to quit! Detox and withdrawal can be dangerous and lead to relapse if you try to quit cold turkey and on your own. Also, learn more about the addiction treatment process and available options for rehab in our Sleeping Pills Addiction Treatment Programs and Help GUIDE for safe and successful quitting.


Tapering is the medical protocol for gradual reduction of your daily medication dose over a period of several weeks. The tapering process lasts until the user has stopped taking the medication completely. Because Ambien acts similar in receptor binding and brain activity changes as benzodiazepines, a standard benzodiazepine tapering protocol is helpful in Ambien reduction doses.

According to PubMed Health the best way to stop taking sleeping pills or sedatives is to gradually reduce the dose with the guidance of a doctor.

The tapering practice should be individualized and adjust for the needs of the patient. Most of the schedules depends from the drug dependency level and your individual health conditions. Generally, experts suggest a gradual dose reduction until 5mg zolpidem is achieved, and then withholding a dose every other day, or every third day.

What’s Next?

If you suspect that your use of Ambien is deeper than you thought, you may need professional help. Ambien can provoke feelings of extreme well-being – known as euphoria – in some users. So, if you’re using Ambien to get high…you may need to take a look at why. Further, some people lose control over their Ambien use over time.

Please don’t worry!

Ambien drug problems are relatively common. You are not alone. Here are our top three recommendations for what to do if you suspect you have developed a real problem.

STEP 1: Stop living in denial. The first step is basic. You’ll need to get out of denial and admit you have a substance use problems. The sooner you accept the problem, the better. Earlier resolution of addiction issues can result in long-term abstinence and a drug-free life.

STEP 2: Recognize your motivation for change. Let’s get one thing straight: an Ambien problem doesn’t happen overnight. So, you will need to identify the reasons that can help you address the deeper issues. It’s not going to be easy. So, write down why you want to quit, print them out, hang them on your wall, but make sure that those reasons are the driving force that will turn your life around.

STEP 3: Ask for help. Addiction is a disease, so don’t waste your time trying to solve the problem on your own. Instead, ask for help from addiction professionals such as:

  • Addiction rehab facilities
  • Licensed clinical social workers
  • Medical detox clinics
  • Medical doctors
  • Psychologists and/or psychiatrists

When to Call a Professional

You want to stop taking Ambien? ALWAYS consult with your doctor. S/he know your medical history, and this is the person that prescribed the medication at first place. This way, you can plan an indvidualized tapering protocol together with medical supervision..

Don’t forget that Ambien is addictive, so call a medical help anytime you think that you may have a problem.

Do I Have a Problem?

Still asking yourself whether you have a problem with Ambien?

The answer is: you probably do, if you’re asking the question.

However, as we said before, you need to be honest with your self. Then, check out the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) that lists 11 criteria for the diagnosis of behaviors that can help you diagnose your addiction. The main criteria that are clinical signs of addiction include:

  1. Using Ambien in larger amounts or longer than intended.
  2. Wanting to reduce the dose or stop using… but failing.
  3. Spending a lot of time obtaining, using, or recovering from Ambien.
  4. Experiencing cravings and an uncontrollable urge to use the drug.
  5. Failing to perform normally at work, home, or at school due to drug use.
  6. Continuing to use, even when it causes problems in everyday life.
  7. Giving up important social, occupational or recreational activities because of Ambien.
  8. Using Ambien again and again, despite being aware of harmful risks and side effects.
  9. Continuing to use despite the risk of developing health problems or worsen physical or physiological condition.
  10. Needing more drug to get the desired effect (tolerance).
  11. Experiencing withdrawal symptoms upon lowered dose or cessation (dependence).

If you fall into one or more of these criteria, consult with an addiction professional to diagnose the severity of a possible addiction and to plan for treatment options.

Is Rehab for Me?

If you’re reall having trouble with Ambien, you may need to press the “RESTART” button. A stay at rehab can help you do this. The trained staff will help you recognize the main reasons why you have developed a drug problem. Even more valuable… the most valued thing is that it will help you learn how to live an Ambien-free life.

When considering rehab, you have two main options available to you: inpatient or outpatient programs. The main difference between the two is live-in or live-out situations.

Inpatient (residential) rehab program offers you constant medical care because you will live at the facility. The services included are:

  • Individual therapy sessions
  • Group therapy sessions
  • Community support

Outpatient rehabs offer almost the same services, but patients come and go for a few hours, several days per week. You can live at home. During the time in the program, a counselor leads the therapy sessions and then helps you plan strategies and behavior changes over time. This type of rehab program is more flexible because it allows you to keep up with your daily responsibilities.

Your Questions Are Welcomed

Still have questions about how to stop taking Ambien? Please leave your questions, comments or experiences about withdrawal here. We welcome all feedback and will do our best to respond to you with a personal and prompt reply.

Reference Sources: State of California Department of Health Care Services: An Overview of Treatment Approaches to Insomnia
Federal Bureau of Prisons: Detoxification of Chemically Dependent Inmates
PubMed: Detoxification from high-dose zolpidem using diazepam
PubMed: Intractable nausea caused by zolpidem withdrawal: a case report.
DEA: Drug Information
MedLine Plus: Zolpidem
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
Medical Reviewers
Dr. Manish Mishra, MBBS serves as the Chief Medical Officer of the Texas Healt...

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a licensed medical professional.


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  1. I have been taking prescribed 12.5 Ambien for years. My doctor is requiring I reduce the medication to 6.25. She plans to add some other drugs to reduce the withdrawal systems.

    I am trying to figure out how bad the withdrawal will be. The transition starts in April & I am planning a trip overseas in May. I also work and don’t know if I can continue working. If you can give me some more information that would help, I would appreciate it.

    I don’t know if tapering down first and then going to a rehab is what I should do or go to a rehab first.

    Let me say, I have never smoked, drank or taken illegal drugs. I am devastated that I am an addict.

    Please give me whatever information you have.

    Thank you.

  2. I am an 87 years old woman. For over a year I have taken 1/3 of a 10 mg Ambien alternating nights
    and I sleep well, but most of the time on the off-nights I do not sleep as well. This keeps me fairly well rested, and I feel this dosage is low enough not to lead to addiction.

  3. Allen, see if the doctor will give you the 10 mg again for maybe three or four months. Cold turkey can cause seiazures. I got off 5 mg by tapering, described in detail one of my other comments above. It took me about 6 weeks. After you get down to half of the pill, it might be easier to break if he would give you fives as they are close to the same size as tens. I think tapering has to be easier than skipping the occasional dose. You might also add Melatonin or Tryptophan [back on the market] to your nighttime pills.

  4. I was started on Ambien about 17 years ago when I was in the hospital for severe depression. Since then I have see a psychiatrist on a monthly basis and they continued the Ambien as part of the meds. About eight years ago they changed it to the 12.5cr with the 10mg, taken in half to supplement it if needed. In January the Psychiatrist who had been prescribing it, and who I had seen for over a decade retired and a new doctor three months out of his residency took over. I learned when my pharmacy called in the refill that the new psychiatrist refused to refile it citing it was for short term use only. So I have gone from the 12.5er and 10mg, to just the 12.5ex and I am really feeling it. I know he is going to want to eliminate the 12.5er quickly, which will leave me on nothing. I do not want to crash but given what I have learned about this drug I also want off of it. What would be an appropriate tapering schedule given my situation.

  5. I managed to successfully taper of 10mg Zolpidem after 23 years of addiction. I tapered 1/8 from Friday to Friday on a weekly basis. The next Friday I go down another 1/8 and continue. It’s difficult to cut it exactly but I use the tip of a sharp knife. I’ve noticed once I got down to 3/8 I took a it longer to fall asleep but the quality of sleep was much better. You feel like you will never be able to fall asleep without the meds, but trust me, you will and the quality of sleep will be amazing. As a bonus you will be able to sleep during the day too if you wanted to.

  6. I have been taking this for a little over a month now 10 mg and I have to take seizure medications as well and I went to bed one night and didn’t take it because I was sleepy without it and I had a grand mal seizure in my sleep. It caused me to dislocate my shoulder and I had to go to the er to have it put back in place. I am scared now wondering if not taking the ambien is what caused me to have the seizure because I have been able to control the ones I have in my sleep with Keppra 500mg but was having a really hard time sleeping. Now I am scared to try to get off the ambien because it may cause me to have another bad seizure. What do you recommend if anything? Thanks

    1. Hi Janice. I suggest that you consult with your doctor about your seizures. Also, if you want to quit Ambien, the safest way is under medical supervision. Call the helpline you see on the website to get in touch with a trusted treatment consultant who can help you find the best rehab program for you.

  7. I have been taking Ambien 10 mg for several years; i need to wean myself off the medicine? I cut it in half and i am taking it every other night for about 4 days now . My question is how long should i do that for and what is a next step?

  8. My insurance has taken Ambien off the plan. I have taken it for many, many years. What can I take in it’s place to help me sleep. Trazodone won’t do it. Tried it.

  9. I’m 70 years old and have been taking Ambien(10 mg). Every night for nearly 30 years. Is there a way to get off of them, or just keep taking them. I sleep very on them but now understand that I’m not really getting sleep benefits. What should I do?

  10. I started tapering myself off Ambien last week. I have been on the 10mg dose for several years without many issues or side effects, but I would like get off of it. I’ve begun taking 10 mg every other night. How long should I stay at the this dose before decreasing it further? And when I do decrease it, should I take 5 mg every night or every other night?

  11. If you wean off ambien, how do you sleep, particularly as a small dose ( 2 1/2 mgs) only gives 2 hours sleep max?

  12. Hello. I am 52 and have been taking Ambien since 2006 nightly. My psych first prescribed 15 mg nightly, which I took for several years. I have taken 5 mgs nightly for a few years as well, but have been taking 10 mgs for the past year. I am having trouble quitting. I tried once cold turkey and had horrific side effects which lasted for days. I am concerned about the long-term affects of Ambien on my mood, memory and health.

    1. Hi Ali.
      I’m sorry for your struggles with quitting Ambien. You should never attempt to quit a powerful benzodiazepine such as Ambient cold turkey. Talk to your doctor about your concerns. He/she will work with you on making a tapering plan for gradual dose reduction before you completely quit Ambien.

  13. I am currently receiving chemotherapy for adenocarcinoma (lung). While talking with oncologist Putting in first name only. about my insomnia and use of ambien 10mg, he suggested to try to ween off of that and I may sleep better once that is done. I looked online and several sites said to NOT go cold turkey but slowly reduce. I can take 5 mg but for how long before reducing that? I do not want to have drastic side effects. One site said to take diazapam and then ween off of that. Please, can you give me your suggestions. I did not take the last 2 nights at all and eventually went to sleep. Thank you in advance for your assistance.

  14. I want to share with you that there is hope and getting off of Ambien. This is the second night I slept very well with no Ambien. I titrated from 10 milligrams to 5 milligram and then from 5 to 2 and a half and then from Two and a Half to one and a half I did this rip rather rapidly. The reason I wanted off this crazy drug was due to it was giving me horrible nightmares and in fact I wasn’t able to sleep that well at all. What really saved the day were and are hops tea & blue vervain herbs made into tea!! This saved my life!! You all can get off this terrible drug!! Step by step titrate at your own pace but do titrate doctors say usually from 5 to 7 days I did it much faster because I really wanted off of this period but I would not have been able to do it without the Hops and blue vervain hebs made ibto tea!! Thabk God!! What I thought was absolutely insurmountable was accomplished!! I wish I would have had these herbs when I was coming off of Xanax that is a whole other nightmare!!! Thank God today I can say I am prescription drug free and I am sleeping great!! I can’t wait until my brain is as much healed I can start taking naps again in the day!!

  15. Pshychiatrist prescribed 20 mg ambien ( zolpedim) 17 years ago. Have gone cold turkey 3 times and sufferered horrible side effects and gone with NO sleep for up to 5 days.Afraid to tell Doctor fearing he would take me off because there is no substitute. He knows he overprescribed to a recovering alcoholic and that I’ve had many trials and tribulations with this drug. I would have my husband hold them til 9 pm every night . He also has a prescription for it. Have taken his also averaging 3 to 3 1/2 , 10 mg daily. At times I would take 50 to 100 mg per day. I came clean with him today. Last week he told me to get another Dr. my question is what is the typical taper program to come off. Even at 30 mg a day I am scared and suffering. What is the protocol plan for me?

  16. I am being put in the hospital on the 28th to detox from both Percocet and ambien. Their main focus is the Percocet but my primary care doctor has been prescribing me ambien for years. (NOTHING else works, I’ve tried every medication out there and I’ve been to sleep labs/clinics, etc…) They won’t let me take any pain meds (putting me on Suboxone) if I am taking Ambien because of the possible interactions with breathing problems. Everything I have seen and/or researched tells me NOT to stop Ambien cold turkey (they are going to replace it with phenobarbital). Is this safe or should I be asking more questions???

  17. I have been suffering from a combination of symptoms. Doctors have been trying to attribute problems with a heart problem. All tests have been that my heart is perfectly fine. When reading through the side affects were everything I’ve been suffering from including hypotension , syncope and near syncope upon standing up, my pulse is 40 beats a minute at night. By the following day, all of the problems disappear until the next morning and they start all over again.

  18. I was on Ambien for 7 years. Because i became resistant to it, I stopped taking it about a month ago. I was trying to sleep with other medications such as Seroquel, Temazapam, and Remeron, but none really worked. I might get 2 hours sleep if I took 30 mil of Temazapam, but never got a full nights sleep. I think i have dismantled my sleep wake cycle. I wondered how long it takes off all sleep med’s to bring the natural sleep-wake cycle back up? Really need to sleep…
    Thanks, linda

  19. I am thinking about quitting Ambien. I’ve tried a couple times before, but went almost 5 days with no sleep, so I had to get back on it. I’ve been on Ambien daily for 7 years. I’ve never used it recreationally, just for sleep. How should I start the tapering process?

  20. I’m on Zolpidem sub-lingual (Patz SL) 5 mgs for 2 years and would like to know how to withraw definetely ?
    Thank you and Regards,

  21. Hi,
    I am diagnosed with sleep deprived epilepsy as of 4 months ago. Then my doctor put me on Ambien 10 mg every night. It worked great and perfectly and I never had better sleep before taking this medication. i did not suffer any of the side affects and was feeling very well rested in the morning. No seizures ever since…Until I saw my doctor again 3 weeks ago, he cut me off Ambien cold-turkey, after prescribing it to me to be takeng every night for the past 3 months, all of a sudden, he is like, well lets switch to something else…No dose tapering, nothing… Did not even give me any to be taken as needed. I experianced difficulty falling sleep the first 3-4 night, just thinking my body is just getting used to it, I was having cold sweats and not being able to sleep. It was scary for me, because I should sleep good and enough to control my epilepsy…I had another seizure on the 7th day of being off Ambien…Now reading through this, I am so so mad at my doctor. I mean I trusted him as my doctor and listened to whatever he said, but this is like the 3rd time he has said stuff that either do not make sense, or just plain wrong…

  22. I started taking Ambien about 8 years ago because of chemo, I wasn’t able to sleep. I now really want to stop taking this and do not want to be dependent on it any longer. I’ve never left the house, or drove my car while on ambien so that’s not the problem. I have noticed my memory has gotten really bad, I can’t remember names at all and I use to be so good at it. I really just do not like the general feeling of it. Last night I decided not to take one. I took 3 mg of melatonin, which did absolute nothing and I could not fall asleep. I ended up taking an ambien at 1 am, I still felt like I wasn’t sleeping. The problem is I work on Mon, Tues and Wed. then full time at tax time and I really need my sleep, What I would like to know is, how many nights will I go without sleep before my natural hormones take over again? I really don’t want to go to the dr because he’ll just give me something else to take.

    Thank you so much for your time

  23. I was diagnose with fibromyalgia 8 yeats ago my back has been in chronic pain for years and i couldn’t sleep my doc prescribed anbiem and it helped me sleep for 5 hours one afternoon i was in so much pain i just wanted to die. So i took anbiem at 1 pm in the afternoon and instead of putting me to sleep it lowered my pain down completely. I still had moderate pain but not severe so i started taking 5 a day and going from doctor to doctor getting ambien to help with my pain and it did helped but i am addicted now and now the ambien doesnt help me with pain ..and the dea caught up to most of the docs prescribing it to me now i have a few left and im in so much pain and going through withdrawels i just want to die with all the pain im in. No doctors understand how much pain im in. I really need help and i dont have no family support. Hopeless in Ny please help me

  24. I have taken ambient for almost 2 months before I gave birth. Now the baby is born and I have my sleep messed up. How can I stop taking it, so I can go to my natural sleep?

    The baby sleeps good and long enough but I can’t follow asleep alone without ambient.

  25. I have been taking Zolphidem the generic for Ambiem for about 10 years. I am 84 and I have Heart Disease and I wanted to know if this would effect my Heart in any way. I am scared to try and get off but I feel I need to because of my health condition. Thank you very much for any help you can give me!

  26. I’ve been taking Zopidem for 15 years: 10 mg per night.

    Three days ago, I just stopped taking it. Of course, I have insomnia but Zolpidem didn’t actually help my insomnia much, anyway. I have read all the warnings and now I’m worried that I’ll seize or worse. I was prescribed Lyrica for something and I bought it but didn’t actually take it. I thought I might take a Lyrica tablet tonight.

    Basically, I believe that if I’m going to get away from Zolpidem, I need to just do it.

    Does anyone have any ideas for me, please?

  27. Hi I been on ambiem for over 7 years already I want to stop taking them but when I try I get anixtey can’t sleep ,I’m scared don’t want to take them anymore

    1. Hi Carmen. Ambien can’t be stopped overnight after years of chronic use. It’d be best if you can check in a rehab facility to be monitored during detox and early withdrawal. Medical professionals can help you manage the symptoms of withdrawal (one of which is insomnia – the very condition the medication should help treat) and make the process less uncomfortable.

  28. Iam 70 yrs old my hubsand was sick with cancer and died 15 months ago my doctor gave me ambien which I want to stop taking Iam a nurse and pt is the 1 drug that doctors use alot I was taking 5mg most every night I do not drink nor do I take other medications or drugs I was just wondering if I should cut the 5mg in half or try every 3rd night really dont want to take anymore

    thank you

    1. Hi Lorraine. I’m really sorry for your loss… I suggest you that you speak with your doctor to help you create an individualized tapering schedule.

  29. I was just cut off of ambien cr after 18 monts,because my insurance denied to pay for it.Should i be worried about withdrawal symptims?

  30. I take Ambien 5mg. daily. My doctor wants me to try Trazodonr insy\tead. I am 84 years old., and I don’t think Amb ien is effective anymore. Can I just outright quit? Thankls for responding.

  31. I took 5 mg Ambien for 58 days up until Sunday, May 26, 2016, and am now on my third day without this drug. Even on the few nights when I took 10 mg of Ambien I got not more than 6-7 hours of sleep. And for the last 30 days or so of the Ambien cycle I was suffering all the documented side effects of the Ambien drug. I’ve replaced it with four (4) tablets of Source Naturals’ Melatonin Sleep Science, each of which contain 3 mg of Melatonin, 250 mg of GABA, as well as Taurine, Glycine, Passionflower leaf and flower, Lemon balm leaf extract, Skullcap, Chamomile, L-Theanine, and Hops flowers.

    The first night without Ambien was one with a light sleep of about 4 hours. Naturally, I was sleepy the first day. The second night’s sleep was deeper and totaled about 6 hours, and I felt as if I had rejoined the world. My third night’s sleep was about 7 hours and deeper. On my third morning without Ambien I am experiencing a slight headache, and a resulting anxiety. My MD didn’t want me to stop taking Ambien. He didn’t suggest how to ween myself off the drug. I totally disagree with his philosophy of staying on it as I don’t want to become addicted to the drug. So, if my sleep is getting better, why should I start taking smaller amounts rather than none at all?

  32. Had the discussion with my PCP today of how to get off 10mg Ambien which I’ve taken for 5+ years. He said to take 10mg every other day for 14 days; then 5mg for seven more, and stop.

  33. I have been on ambien 10mg for over 20 years. I am finding if I stay up longer than 30 minutes after taking it – the opposite happens psychologically – I become rebellious with myself about going to bed. Why is that happening now.

  34. I have been taking zolpidiem for just over a month and have tried to taper by taking half a pill. Which is the best approach, half a pill or one whole pill every other day?

  35. I was and am still apprehensive about Ambien. It is habit-forming and two years later, I would prefer not to take it. Natural alternatives seem more logical, but I fear the withdrawal symptoms.

  36. Found this info helpful. I have been taking Ambien nightly for 7 years. Just reading how dangerous it is and also that I am addicted to it. I usually take 5 mgs at bedtime and another 5 in the wee hours. Lately, it seems less effective. I have mild anxiety most afternoons and feel this may be due to the ambien leaving my system? I really need to get off of this and hope to slowly taper. Scared of numerous sleepless nights?

    1. Hi, Nancy. It seems that mild anxiety you have is Ambien withdrawal symptom. In order to safely quit the drug, I advise you to speak with your doctor or a pharmacist to help you create an individualized tapering schedule.

  37. Loving Husband: You are a hero. I hope you can get help for your wife. There has to be a group out there with experience of your problem. You are so brave. Keep on trying. I really wish you all the best. And I’m sending my best vibes to your wife.

  38. I have a plan. I’ve been on 10mg Zolpidem for 13 YEARS. I’ve had my pharmacist split the dose into two 5mg pills. My plan is to start taking a 5mg pill every second night. Please tell me if that is too drastic. I can’t wait to get free of this stuff!

  39. I have been taking zolpidem for the last 10 yrs I started by cutting a 10mg in half but then I went to a full 10mg tablet every night now my care provider says I need to get off it and prescribed me lunasta but that leaves a horrible taste in my mouth and I can’t drink plain water because of the taste of the lunasta why does he/she want me to quit zolpidem.

  40. I’ve been taking zolpidem every night for 15 years. Over the last year, my 5mg dose stopped working. I’ve increased the dosage to 10 mg over the last month. I consulted my doctor and he said if the 10mg every night works, then just keep taking them. This past week, the 10mg has not worked and I’ve been adding a benedryl tablet in order to get to sleep. I want to be able to sleep like a normal person. Why is this happening and what can I do to stop it?

  41. I know I’m supposed to consult my prescribing doctor. I have confessed to him that I’ve abused it, that I rely too heavily on it. He showed me support. But I want to know if there are any guidelines online about how to taper down, e.g. if you’re taking 15mg per night how much and how fast you should cut it.


  42. I’ve been taking Zolpidem 10 mg for many years. It was prescribed without comment. and I was never monitored. I want to quit and so I have turned my prescription into two 5 mg tablets. I’m thinking of maybe reducing the dose say 3 times a week to start, then 4 etc. Anyone have any ideas, please?

    1. Hi, Patricia. You might want to speak with your doctor first in order to help you create an individualized tapering schedule. Also, you may seek advice from a pharmacist to recommend some over-the-counter medications to ease withdrawal symptoms.

  43. I need to know a treatment facility that really knows how to treat ambien specifically. My wife takes at least 30, 10 mg pills daily and it is getting worse. Every time I try or mention weaning off the drug it gets worse. It is destroying our long marriage and destroying us financially. If I find a doctor who she can trust, do they have to do anything like report her to the authorities? She really needs help and every day is torture for me. She is one of the few that ambien makes her feel “good” and it does not make her sleepy. I need help a real place to call and who really knows how to treat this condition.

  44. I’ve been taking zolpiderm for the past 6 month.actually i am suffering insomnia and bipolar disorder.before that i only take seroquel 200 mg bipolar medicine and can make me sleep.but lately for the past 6 month i cannot sleep and have to take i am depending on zolpiderm 10 mg.if i don’t take i cannot sleep.please help me to overcome this

  45. I have been on Ambien for about 3 months . I started with 1/4 of a pill after a month 1/4 no longer would help me to sleep. Then I went to 1/2 a pill that to no longer working next came a whole pill.
    It leaves me with headaches, dry mouth, tiredness and dizzness.
    I wll be greatfull for any help. D E D

  46. I want to stop taking Ambien. I want to sleep naturally. I feel that it has changed my outlook on life and people. I feel that I have an extreme distrust of people, and I feel as though I have become withdrawn from people because of taking it. I also wake up tired everyday. I don’t sleep well after taking it at all. What’s the purpose of taking it if I wake up tired?


    1. I do not think ambien dosage problems are related to the person you vote for.
      I am guessing that you have strong political views, but it does not help in the discussion of health issues.
      Does either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump look like the picture of health to you?
      That said, I do agree that if you are okay taking a lower dosage of ambien and your doctor said to take more, then you are okay to take a lower dosage if you are sleeping well and are not experiencing any bad mental or physical side effects. Only you know the answer to that one. Each person is different. Each person has an individual body chemistry.
      I too had a large amount of narcotics in the past due to multiple surgeries for a medical condition.
      When the condition finally resolved after 10 years and 5 surgeries I stopped taking the narcotics completely. Some felt I would become addicted but that did not happen as I was cured from my disease and no longer needed those pain meds.
      During the course of this I also began taking ambien, first 5 mg, then 10mg. I am now back to 5 mg and soon hope to take 2.5. I have consulted with my Dr. about this and he has warned me about possible side effects – just so I have the security of not having to deal with extremely distressing side effects and know that he is there for me and does not want me to experience any medical emergency due to “cold turkey” withdrawal. His attitude is follow the protocol and if I can do better with less, that’s okay too.
      Sleeping medications are different from narcotics. I know because I have taken both. When the pain stopped, I stopped taking the pain medication.
      If my sleeping would magically go back to normal, I would stop taking the sleeping medication. As you can see for yourself ambien is a very different from pain medication.
      So I am very glad you beat your cancer and are no longer in need of pain meds. This is an old post. I offer you my congratulations if you are successful in your effort to stop taking ambien. That is what I am trying to do myself at this point, all the time discussing it with my Dr.
      Pills are great when you need them. They can really help a person. Some types of pills alter brain chemistry to such an extent that abrubtly stopping them if you have been taking them a long time it can be dangerous.
      Each person is individual, including their ability to lower or cease their use of a particular prescription medication.
      I have taken doses of pain meds that seemed exceedingly high for my small size, but they were right for me at the time. I would never take those high doses now. I have no need for them and frankly I do not think my body could tolerate them.
      I am feeling this way about the sleep meds. I think the insomnia started at a certain point in my life. It was extremely bad. I slept so little that I was getting sick (virus, bronchitis, headaches). I feel that it is still not great, but I don’t want to keep taking a lot of pills. I feel my body is sending me a message, that it wants to let me sleep without pharmaceutical drugs. So I am taking a crack at it under medical supervision. Hopefully I will not need these meds anymore. I truly envy those who fall asleep naturally every day at bedtime. They are lucky.

  48. I was on on 5 mg more than 10 years. I basically did what Susan did, cutting off a little piece for several days until the pieces added up to the larger size; then I took the pieces. Next night I cut off a slightly bigger piece. Repeated. It took about 6 weeks but I was down to nothing eventually. Afterwards it wasn’t that difficult, although I still have nights where I occasionally have trouble falling asleep, but my thinking is so much clearer during the day, it’s worth it. The other day I had to get up really early for a flight to the east coast. I took half a 5 mg and went to bed two hours early. No problem except I still didn’t like getting up at 4:45 LOL. I found the tapering method easier than the skipping occasional nights. I’m a year off and am really glad I did this. I’m 75 and often play duplicate bridge during the day, so I can tell my thinking is clearer and less foggy.

  49. I have been on ambien for over a year and I’ve abused it taking more than 8 pills a night. I need help to stop. Can someone tell me if there is anyway to do this at home?

    1. Hi, Elizabeth. Experts claim that the safest way is to wean the drug off. So, I suggest you consult a doctor to help you plan an individualized tapering schedule just for you.

  50. I’ve been on Zolpidem for 17 years, never thought I’d be able to get off. Doctors couldn’t help me with a tapering schedule #3rdworldproblems, anyway, the following helped me: imagine a 10mg pill in 8 pieces. Every week, I prefer Thursdays, go down 1/8th of a pill. (use pill cutter). Stay on the same dose for a week or two and then go down with another 1/8th. I’m FREE after 17 years!! I do recommend doing this while you are on leave (at home). Good luck!

    1. Hi, Lisa. Gradually reducing the dose is considered the best and safest way to quit the drug. I suggest you consult a doctor to help you plan an individualized tapering schedule only for you. Good luck!

  51. I have been taking it for 10 years daily because of sleep problems, but am having severe symptoms such as chest pain and racing heart beat. I want to try to quit, but I my doctor says don’t. Even though I am bi polar and have been suicidal in the past I really don’t want to die from an over dose of ambience.

    1. Hello Jo. Well, you should talk with your doctor. If you experience problems with Ambien, he/she should find another medication that is suitable for you.

  52. I take ambien every night and i want to stop because it is damaging my eyes.i need help to quit .
    where can i go or what can i do to stop….please advise…..

  53. Started taking 10mg Ambien CR about 6 years ago after bad car accident. After about 2 years switched from CR to 10mg non-linear released. Failed several times to quit. I’m 10 days into taking half dose (5mg) and am exhausted from lack of sleep and withdrawals that includes rapid heart rate, sick to my stomach, shakes and strange mood changes. I’m committed to quitting but don’t know how much longer I can handle this. What can I do to reduce withdrawals or how long until they start letting up?? PLEASE ADVISE

  54. I have been taking ambien for well over ten years. I wrestle with quitting quit frequently. I’m also a recovering alcoholic. Sober since 1-11-07. I also take Celexa 20 mg.for depression and axiety. I’m 55. Still have moments I do not remember the next day. Not good. Married for 28 glorious like 5 min. Under she’s wonderful actually. Do not like dependance. Control when I eat can’t 2 hours before I take it.Any suggestions would be great.

  55. I have been taking Ambien for a long time. Anywhere from 5 0 10 MG per nite – sometimes more.

    I want to stop and have read that I should not stop cold turkey but reduce slowly. Would reducing to 5 MG to start for a few weeks and then down to 2.5 MG and then alternate every other day and then stop entirely be a good plan.

  56. I have been taking Ambien for many years and I decided I wanted to come off of it. My doctor prescrbed Tazadone 50 mg and after 2 days i was not sleeping and i didnt like the way i felt so i stopped. I have nowi have not taken anything for 10 plus days and i cant not sleep at all I am exhausted what do I do . I just want o sleep . I didn tell my docor because he keeps pushing antidepreseents and i dont think that is what I need.

  57. just an update from may 8th post….I was able to quit the ambien completely. it took me about three months. It is possible. Im still having trouble, specially waking up in the middle of the night, but the restlessness is gone and I feel more energized and able to go through my day. Immsonia comes once in a while, but Im able to pass by with half a Xanax. exercising and melatonim also works…

  58. I’ve taken Zolpidem-5 mg. for 2 years. I abruptly stopped taking Zol and started Trazadone-50 mg. for 3-4 days. Had horrible side effects, dizzyness, confusion, etc. and not sleeping at all. (Also, at the same time, I switched anti-depressants from 20 mg. Prozac to Wellbutrin-150 mg.) I’ve been off Zol. and Traz. (taking nothing but Wellbutrin) for over a week now. Could I-should I-substitute some form of Melatonin. I hate the thought of going back on Zol. after suffering through the last couple weeks without anything…..Any suggestions??? Thank you.

  59. Im 64 been taking 10mg zolpidem for 7 years. Been weaning off by first taking half each night for a week. now on a quarter each night on my 5th night. my dr also gave me trepiline 10mg to take at night to help wean off zolpidem. only 3 nights left for zolpide. can i also stop the trepline

  60. Hello I was put on zolpidem 10mg about 5 months ago as couldn’t sleep at night over a period of 18 months, same pattern every month, couldn’t sleep 2 weeks before my monthly cycle, with palpitations keeping me awake as well, the tablets have helped me sleep, I wake up about 5 each day and that’s it, want to wean off but worried I won’t sleep which affects my work and moods with lack of sleep, I am 49, could this be perimenapusal symptoms? Would it be best to take holiday off work and wean off them ? Please any help would be appreciated regards liz

  61. I have been taking ambien 10mg for 7 years now. I have come off of it twice, a month each time but go back when i have had issues sleeping or because it seems easier. The last few months have been very stressful in my house; i have been drinking more than I should and some nights taking more of the ambien than I should. I want to stop; I am hurting myself and others around me but I am scared of the withdrawals and that I might not be strong enough to deal with them. My husband doens’t necessarily believe that tapering is necessary but the thought of quitting cold turkey scares me. Help.

    1. Hi Anne. The usual dose reduction is 10% to 20% off your initial dose each week. If it’s too fast for you, you can lower doses even more gradually, each two weeks. Talk to your doctor or your pharmacist about medications to help you manage any possible withdrawal effects.

  62. I am 75 years old I’ve been taking it for about a year 10 mg.I quit .I haven’t taken in 2 days .can I stop all at once without it hurting m

  63. Been taking Zolpidem 10MG for at least 10 years. along with Ropinirole 1MG for Restles Legs. I am out of Zolpidem and can’t get my perscription filled for a few days and I take it every night. I really would like to rid my addiction to Zolpidem. I am 24 hours into it and concerned, after reading all the info available, How can I make this easier to transition to. I don’t smoke pot, but friends have said it could help. What do you think?

  64. I have been taking 10mg of Ambien for 8 years and have tried over and over to quit taking it. I always go back because it’s easier then dealing with side effects. Now I’m concerned with memory loss and need to stop. What do you suggest the tapering should be?

  65. I have taken 12.5mg of ambient for about 12 yes. Rules changed at insurance level. I have had to stop cold turkey but the only problem I have experienced is insomnia. I am 70. I am wondering if I can ever achieve a normal sleep pattern. Taking this drug allowed me many great nights of sleep, however I want to rid my body of drugs that aren’t essential to my health.

  66. been on zolpidem for the last 2 years. highest dose was the CR version. now in .05 for the last month. trying to taper and cutting a bit out of the .05. I would only sleep well if I take 1mg Xanax with it (which I try not to take every day). how long do I still have to keep cutting the .05 for me to feel better. symptoms are feeling restless (every other day) and headache (although I sleep for at least 6 hrs I believe) Went to a CPAP doctor, but that didn’t work.

  67. Was just prescribed ambien have been taking it for 2 days, i want not yo take it but I cant sleep without it. I just bought Valerian root pills as well as typtophan.
    Satrted taking them. Any suggestions if I will get off this pill? And if so, how cam I to be able to sleep naturally again.

  68. I’m doing a school project on Ambien and I’m wondering what a person can do to get off it. Like do they go to a rehab?

    1. Hi Kenzie. I’ll send you the titles of our articles where I believe you can find valuable information for your school project. The article about Ambien detox treatment, also Detox from Ambien where you can review detox options, and Cold turkey Ambien where you can explore specific details about quitting Ambien all at once and why it’s not recommended. I hope this provides enough information and that you get an A 🙂

  69. I’ve tried to stop. It’s been 20 years and I just can’t do it by myself. Is there a clinic or someplace I can go to get help.

  70. hi, I have been taking ambien 10 mg for four years. I’m 18 now. I really want to get off this medication but it seems to fail every time I try. I’m concerned that I may never be able to get off. Ive talked to a doctor but my plans to quit never work. I’m looking for Maybe a new way to quit like a natural method to use to sleep while getting off ambien. any suggestions?

    1. Hello Sylvia. Why do you fail to not use Ambien every time you try to quit? Are you experiencing too harsh withdrawals or you go back to it in order to get some sleep again? You see, after that long time of using Ambien, your brain has stopped producing it’s own chemicals that put it to sleep and has learned to depend on the chemicals you administer. This is not an easy process, but you are NOT destined to use Ambein forever, and you can sleep again on your own. Good news is-our brain are great at repairing and healing on their own; Bad news is-it takes a while for the brain to return to homeostasis. But, first, you need to slowly and gradually reduce doses to prevent the adverse withdrawal effects that may occur from abrupt cessation of the medication. Sleeping won’t be easy for some time, but try to relax, drink calming teas, hot baths, massages, relaxing music…

  71. Bette, I had been taking Ambien or its geq for more than 10 years. I asked my doctor how to stop; she referred me to CPAP doctor, who also didn’t know. After reading this blog, I deiced to break a little piece off the end and take the big piece. After 5 nights I took all the little pieces. The next night I broke a little bigger piece off the end. After four nights I took the pieces. And so on. At three nights I repeated it once. At two nights I broke it in half and took the bigger half. I did this twice and then the next night I took the four smaller halves in order of size. Then thirds and so on. It turned out to be easier than I thought, but I was helped by the fact I had the flu in the beginning, so sleeping was easier, and success breeds success. I did sweat a lot, but that could have been the flu. I am recovered now. It has been two weeks completely off. I have had two nights where it took me a long time to get to sleep, but I resisted taking anything. The only question I have is whether I can safely use it on trips where I will have jet lag with time change. Any opinions on using it for jet lag if you’ve read this whole rambling?

  72. Hi again, Donna. I’m aware that some doctors just cut people off of medications that they’ve been taking a longer period of time, and it’s done as if they are unaware of the withdrawal symptoms and risks. I’m very sorry for what your father has to go through, but you should be ready to get medical help if your father comes to need it. Can you talk to his prescribing doctor to continue the prescription only for the time needed for your father to do a taper?

  73. My 88 yr old father has been taking Ambien since April 2009 every night to sleep (after 2 brain surgeries). NOW they have taken him off cold turkey saying at his age he should not be taking this!! I thought they would have done the step down method – Nope. Help plz.

  74. I have been taking 5 mg zol[idem for more years than I can count. I asked my doctor how to stop and she had no idea. She referred me to my CPAP doctor who thought it was an interesting question but had no suggestions. I am currently on my own trying breaking a little piece off the end so I am taking less. After a week or so I’ll break off a bigger piece. My problem has always been I seem built for a 26 hour day; I just don’t get sleepy. Sometimes I consider staying up until I get sleepy, but that would disrupt my days. There has to be a program developed. Someone could get rich. Marijuana sounds like a possibility. How would I use it? Some days I feel fuzzy.

  75. Frustrated!! I have been on Ambien or Zolpidem for about 10 years, I have been on only 5m the past year. When my pharmacy called my doctors office for a refill, they replied “not appropriate”???
    It was the proper 30day notice for refill, so I am confused and concerned. I haven’t had any Zolpidem for a 2 nights now, of course sleeping like crap, but reading some of the side effect on this blog scares me, I have already had some neurological issues in the past with seizures and tremors (non-related to going off of Ambien) and I feel so fatigued, light sensitive,racing heart kindof feeling(anxiety?)….
    .It is the weekend now, and I am feeling Like I am just going to call the on-call doc about this!!!! I could wait until Mon, call and leave a message with the nurse for my doc, but that usually is another 24-48 hours to response, so then it will be like 5 days without
    Just so frustrated that I didn’t request to cold turkey off and have been weaning from 20 to 5mg, at my request but I had no IDEA that they weren’t going to refill..ugh..thanks for listening

  76. Hi Donna. A tapering schedule of withholding a dose every other day or every third day is mostly recommended. But, since every organism is different, ask your doctor to help you create a dose-reducing schedule suitable for your particular needs.

  77. I am 53 yrs old and have been prescribed Ambien for almost 10 yrs. I took 10 mg up until about a year ago when I reduced it to 5mg. I suffer from horrible lucid dreams. Last night was particularity scary because I couldn’t seem to get out of my dream. How do I safely get off this medicine?

  78. I have taken ambien for 10 years. I forgot it on a weekend trip and decided to try and get off of it. I haven’t taken it for 4 nights now and have had very little sleep. I am trying to decide if I should take a small dose by cutting a pill in half or wait longer and take nothing.

  79. I was prescribed Ambien 10mg in the hospital after my hysterectomy. I stayed on it for six weeks and took myself off. I would fall asleep on my own for the first week, but now I’m waking up after 2-3 hours of sleep at night. I evenutally fall back to sleep an hour before it’s time to get ready for work. What do you suggest. I was started on medication by my OB/GYN

  80. Thinking about quitting Zolpidem(ambien) for a while now I had a heart attacksix years ago and had a stent put in…was working security at the time nights on a FEDERAL SITEAND STARTED GETTING CHEST PAINS AND FINALY WENT TO MERCY SAN JAUN WHERE THEY PUT A STENT IN MY HEARTAND AFTER5 DAYS SAID COULD GO HOMEi WAS GIVIN PLAVIX AND FOR SLEEPAMBIANNOW FOR FIVEIVEYEARSIVE TAKING THIS AND WANT OFF TOOK THE PLAVIXFOR OVER FIVEAND MUST SEE THE DUCKFOR ADVICEIam an adddict27 yearsoff boose two years off tobaccobut I gotta see the duck

  81. I’m 5 days off Ambien after being on 3 years, cold turkey. Every night I use indica cannabis and fall asleep right away. I do wake up after 6 or 7 hours of sleep. But, I don’t sleep walk any more. I can see much clearer. I have very bad dry mouth and drink water constantly, but my headaches have lesson and my blood pressure is decreasing. I feel like I’ve lost 10 pounds and am more alert. What a difference. I was living in a fog and couldn’t cope. I feel Ike my body is cleansing its self. My aches and pain are less..

  82. been on ambien for about 3 months. Last two months, taking it every night. It worked great at first. Then I was waking up in the middle of the night, having some side effects from it. I went today to my physician. He told me to get off it. I told him when I went off of it for 1 day, I had extremely nervous, anxious, restless, and couldn’t sleep. He told me to stop taking it and prescribed trazodone. It this ok?

  83. Hello….I have been taking Ambien on and off for about 15 years. A few years ago I saw a sleep doctor who prescribed Rozerum which I took simultaneously with the Ambien. Over a months time, I tapered off the Ambien and then stopped the Rozerum. Terrific Now,due to stress in my life,I can’t sleep, I’m back on Ambien and it’s destroying my mental state. As before, I am having difficulty processing information, making even the simpilist of decisions and I feel like a walking zombie.
    My question for you is this: I have researched various strains of marijuana and found that Indica provides a peaceful, relaxing calm to help fall asleep. As medical marijuana is becoming legal in many states in the US do you think smoking the “right” pot would be a viable option to help me sleep.
    I have tried meditation and follow all the guide rules for falling asleep….no caffeine, bed is only for sleeping etc, etc but I’m still struggling and must get off of Ambien
    Thank you

  84. I stopped taking ambien because of the difficulty in getting refills. I have all my meds on auto refill at Kroger. When my Ambien refills run out I am not notified by anyone that I will not get anymore untill I see my Doctor then, I takes several days to get an appointment. This last time I was without for ten days before I can get in. I also take lorazipam for anexiety only as needed 1mg. So at night if I could not get to sleep I would take one of those and that worked. I have only taken lorazipam two or three time. The problem for me now is I still have trouble falling asleep I just cant wake up now. I almost went off the road several time trying to get there. I have never been that way. Now what?

  85. I’ve been taking 5mg of zolpidem for the past month. How long will it be safe for me to be taking it? I am 61 years old. Please let me know!

  86. I’ve been taking 10mg of Ambien or it’s generic since the end of 1998. It was originally prescribed for a strange issue of not being able to take a deep breath (or yawn) while lying down.
    I no longer have that issue, but I recently read an article about Ambien and cancer that was rather frightening, yet I feel that after almost 16 years of taking it nightly, it’s had plenty of time to sow that seed.
    I made a deal with my daughter that if she would quit smoking, I would quit Ambien.
    So, here I am reading your very thought provoking blog. I was going to try quitting cold turkey, but I’ve decided to discus tapering it off with my MD.
    Many thanks to you.

  87. I’m used to 10mg of ambien and I want to quit. Should I drop to 5mg for a while or can I just stop and substitute Melatonin?


  89. Hello Debra. Zolpidem is simply the generic version of Ambien. From my reading, a blend of lifestyle changes can REALLY help you adjust and start sleeping naturally. A growing tolerance to these medications might be a sign that it’s time to address some of the underlying issues which have created the insomnia; prescription drugs are really meant to be prescribed SHORT TERM (6 weeks or less) for sleeping problems.

  90. been taking 5 mg of Ambien for 6 years & would like to go off. Concerned that my Dr doesn’t have a clue as to how to taper off. YOUR SUGGESTIONS
    Thank you

  91. I have taken Ambien/Zol. on/off 10 years. Ambien worked Great for the 6 years, but was switched to Zolipdem 10 mg 4 yrs, now Zol. 5 mg. It’s not working well at all I take one, then two, three. I get drowsy, no sleep. I know my tolerance is up. I take Wellburtrin 150 mg for depression, that helps me feel better emotional, but not sleep So my psychr. says if Zol.5 mg, don’t work to try Trazadone 100-200 mg. It might work and then it might not. I have had sleep issues for over 20 years and I just want to be able to lay my head down and sleep. And I do use my sleep apnea machine, but that doesn’t always mean sleep. HELP!!!!

  92. I have taken Ambien 12.5 now for 1o years and it has caused several major issues with me such as nightly sleepwalking, I eat massive amounts of food that I either cook or get from a box or a bag, I clean, I call people on the phone and have conversations that I don’t remember, I broke the bones in my cheek from a fall that I didn’t even feel or know how it occurred and hurt when I woke up the next morning. What really depresses me is that 6 years ago I had ruen y gastric bypass surgery and lost ALOT of weight, but no one told me that one of the side effects of Ambien is sleep eating so I have gained most of the weight back. none of the doctors I have seen has helped me to quit—told sleepy time tea which is crazy. Help!!!!!

  93. Hello Catalina. Right. Good for you. Hmmm. Nightmares are one of the side effects of Ambien withdrawal. They can last for days or weeks as your body adjusts to the new chemical environment in the central nervous system. Have you consulted with your prescribing doctor for suggestions on how to cope?

  94. I’m quitting zolpidem gradually, from 5 mg nightly to 2,5 mg a night. I’ve had very few moments of sleep and a lot of nightmares. I’ve been doing this process for three days now. I want to quit because I’ve been taking this pill for 2 years. Enough is enough. I just want to know how many days should I expect that cycle of nasty nightmares lasts, until I get back to normal sleep. Thank you for your answer. God bless.

  95. I did suspect all this stuff, but to see it written down stunned me. I’ve been taking Zolpidem for at least 10 years. I knew it couldn’t be good so now I have to get off it. I’ll go to my PCP but I wish I could just go cold turkey.

  96. I have taken 10 mg of Ambien since 2007. It was prescribed after I was diagnosed with breast cancer, which resulted in severe depression, anxiety and insomnia. I took Xanax but stopped taking it in 2009, but still take Celexa and Ambien. It has been the only thing that gives me the ability to sleep at night. I also have arthritis of the neck which makes it difficult to get comfortable enough to sleep. Suddenly, my doctor (not the original prescriber) decided not to prescribe Ambien anymore. I’ve gone about 3 weeks with almost no sleep. He never even suggested weaning me off with a reduced dosage, simply made me go cold turkey. I’m miserable and about to lose my mind over my inability to sleep. HELP!!!!!

  97. Hello Dusty. Your question seems to be both personal and medical in nature. Ambien was never meant to be prescribed for years on end; in fact, doctors are urged to prescribe zolpidem for 6 weeks or less. If you decide to stop taking Ambien, it will help to manage insomnia with alternative lifestyle changes to diet, exercise, and relaxation methods. Problems sleeping are a product of an active mind, but can be changed using practices over time. It’s not a quick fix, but one that requires commitment and determination. Have you consulted with a sleep specialist?

  98. I’ve been taking Ambien for more than a dozen years. I have a diagnosis of Insomnia (seems to run in the family) along with some anxiety. I would like to quit Ambien because of the recent research studies linking Ambien to possible early death. But I’m afraid my insomnia will continue. I do take a medication for anxiety and I’m hoping that this medication alone may help with my sleeping issues. Any suggestions. Is it a good idea for me to get off the medication. I’m 67 years old.

  99. I all it want is to sleep…take a pill….take a 10mg pill a night, no problem…..HMMMMM
    It’s been at least 7 years… I take a half at 6 pm, then a 10mg at bedtime. Been fighting depression, extreme fatigue, sleepiness throughout the day…whatever happened to my zest for life….it’s sucking everything I have out of me. I want out and off. Of course they talk about seizures…that is what scares me the most, and getting panic attacks now because I do not want my husband to find me on the floor seizing at the mouth when he comes home. Our first grandson will be born in January, I want to enjoy his life and be happy and actually hear his crying at night…..

    What next?

  100. Used medical cannabis chocolate bars and in 6 weeks I got off the ambien with only a few nights of intense craving. I am now 6 weeks clean and am easily getting off the cannabis. Wouldn’t recommend this if you have chemical dependency with pot bit it worked when other therapies and AA didn’t. A note about medical cannabis to those who used it years ago..?.be really careful the stuff is incredibly potent.

  101. Due to working the night shift I have become dependent on Ambien, I have not gone a night without at least 10mg of Ambien for over 5 years. Lately I have found that I have been waking up several times a night and need to take more. Now I am at the point I have been taking it occasionally during the day to boost my mood and fight off stress and anxiety. Between day and night I have taken as many as 5 or 6 10mg pills per day/night. It definitely helps my mood and helps me sleep, can a person continue to take it this way ? As of now I have had no other side effects other than the stress and anxiety but then again I have had that my whole life long before Ambien came along.

  102. Please reply to my above question. I am going to a rehab in CA. They say it can be tapered off within 30 days. I take 20mg Zopidiem and 2 to 4mg Clonezpam in night.I am scared for seizures. I need your reply
    because I want to forward to Cliffside Malibu so they prepare an individual program which will be without risk. Thank you for your help.

  103. Hi Kathy. Ambien should be tapered. Seek help from your prescribing doctor and ask for a personalized tapering regimen before stopping cold turkey.

  104. Hello I’ve been on ambien for almost thirteen years.i live in a small town, the dr just giving it to me and now I’m going cold turkey.What can I expect? Any info would be helpful

  105. Hi Joanne. I’d suggest that you seek a second opinion and possibly find a new doctor. Also, read up on sleep treatments from sleep clinics, meditations for sleep, and find out more about alternative to sleeping hypnotics. It’s nasty stuff, in terms of brain wiring and dependence. I wish you all of the best!!!

  106. I have been taking 10mg of ambien for 8 years. My dr can’t or won’t admit I have a problem, but I know I do. She switched me to Lunesta. Couldn’t sleep with that.Back on ambien but it’s not working now. I NEED TO GET OFF THIS STUFF.What can I do?/

  107. Hi Don. It will be best to seek a tapering schedule from your prescribing doctor, as s/he will know more about your personal case.

  108. 1. What is considered a small dose reduction?

    2. Are there any taper schedules for Zolpidem that are similar to Dr. Ashton’s for Lorazepam?

  109. I have beebntaking Ambien for 5 years 10 mg. But they dont work unkess I take a second one.I also take Clonezpam 2 mg.
    I was rwice in rehab in CAlifornia but it was useless. The primary reason I had indomania because I have a handicapped son age 25 lives withus. He suffers from psychosis and was born with Kleinfelter Syndrome. I need to get off Ambien .Can you find a counsellor who can do phone counselling,Life is vert sad and frightening because of my son’s proble,He locks himself 24/7 dont go ou. Hr cweighs 250kg.He is embarrasses ro go out.We live inUK but would phone counselling any onewho you feel competent.Kimdly help.Life is very difficult.

  110. Hi Sandy. Check in with a pharmacist or your prescribing doctor to create a tapering schedule and calendar specifically for you. Cold turkey Ambien withdrawal can bring on unnecessary withdrawal symptoms that can be avoided if you slowly lower doses.

  111. Been taking .5 ambian twice a day for one month. Want to stop. How should I wean myself off. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

  112. Thanks, I am on Gabapentin and Lamotrigin, both are for fibromyalgia, pain and depression. I didn’t need them before Ambien. I will consult with both prescribing doctors. Thanks again.

  113. Hello Karyn. Tapering off Ambien is very much recommended. Check with your prescribing doctor for a tapering schedule, or with your local pharmacist for dosing advice. A slow taper over at least a few weeks can help minimize disturbances.

    As for the mood symptoms, I’d suggest that you see a psychologist or psychiatrist for a mental health check up. It’s possible that there are some underlying issues or that your brain is a little low on dopamine or serotonin, neurotransmitters that regulate mood. Seek a diagnosis, and the course of treatment will follow.

  114. Hi, I have been on Zolpidem (10mg) for at least 3 years. I believe I am experiencing some strong side effects, such as: worsening (much worsening) depression, agitation, forgetfulness, and extreme mood swings. Since it is not a ‘necessary’ drug, I want to get off of Z to see if these symptoms decrease.

    Does this sound like I NEED to get off Z, and if so, would I need to quit cold turkey (with medical oversight) or taper off.

    Thees symptoms are debilitating and even to the point of being somewhat dangerous.

  115. Hi Jack. Speak with your prescribing doctor first and get a tapering calendar catered to your needs. Then, talk with a pharmacist and verify the procedure, as well as other over-the-counter products that can help support your sleep.

  116. Hi Kathy. Ambien dependence occurs after several weeks of nightly dosing in a row. Still, consult with a pharmacist to learn about how to avoid Ambien dependence and don’t take Ambien for longer than a few weeks at a time. As a hypnotic, Ambien is meant for short-term use only.

  117. How long does it take to develop a situation where withdrawal symptoms would occur? in other words, is it safe to just take Ambien every once in awhile as needed (vs. every nite) without risking withdrawal symptoms? Or, say I take it 3 nites in a row; can i stop after that without a problem?

  118. Hi Michele. You’ll really have to read more about Ambien and weigh your options. Keep in mind that Ambien is meant to be prescribed for short term use and that hypnotics like zolpidem have yet to be studied or reported over long term use.

  119. I take 5mg of ambien every night. I do not take more. My prescribing doctor has told me that it is ok to continue to use in this manner. But I hear/read very negative info on ambient. So I dont know what would be the appropriate action.

  120. Hi there. I was prescribed zolpihexal after neck surgery 6 years ago and now I would like to get off it. I was not warned about the long term effects and in fact was told it was non addictive. I have developed unusual symptoms and I can only attribute them to overuse of this drug. Memory loss, disassociation, sweats, aches in muscles, poor concentration, vision disturbances, moodiness etc etc. when I tried to stop, these symptoms worsened considerably. What now? Please help as this is affecting my quality of life and my ability to function normally.

  121. Hi Austin. It’s possible that 5 weeks of daily Ambien has not developed into physical dependency. If you feel OK, this is a good sign! To be sure, call the pharmacy and speak with a pharmacist yourself. This can help you get some peace of mind!

  122. hey iam 16 years old and i take 1/2of a 10mg tablet of ambien at night i have been taking for 5 weeks now but i have stoped taking for three nights now and feel ok.Do u think i will be ok. because the pharmacist told my house parent i would have no withdrawls but i have not talked to any one yet so please any comments would help.

  123. Hello Haywood. This is a question for a pharmacist. Try calling your local pharmacy to learn more about Ambien brand or zolpidem generic doses. Then, get medical advice about a tapering schedule that is best for you. Each taper is individual, so you can gradually lower doses without effect.

  124. I have been on ambien CR 12.5 mg for some time (years). I have talked to doctors about stopping but none have been able to advise me. They knew how to put me on it and have never said I needed to stop. I have on my own tried to reduce the dosage but with the generic tablet. They did not help. I have cut the 12.5 tablet however I was unable to fall asleep. Can I safely cut the 12.5 tablet (brand). No where I have checked indicates this tablet can be cut. Please advise.

  125. Hello Bette. Thanks for your question. I’d suggest that you speak with your prescribing doctor and set up a tapering regimen. This is the best way to minimize zolpidem withdrawal symptoms. Then, slowly lower doses over the course of several weeks. And have some sleeping routines in place to help prepare you for sleeping. Check out Dr. Rubin Naiman’s book “Healing Night” as a guide to good sleep.

  126. i have taken 5mg of Zolpidem nightly for a couple of years now.I want to get off of them. I am 59 years old. Any suggestions? Thank you in advance.

  127. Hi Willow. Physical dependence on Ambien occurs after regular daily dosing over the period of 2-3-4 weeks in a row. But if you are nervous about seizures, I’d suggest that you first talk with your pharmacist or prescribing doctor. It’s better to be safe than sorry!!!

  128. I have been taking 1/3 to 1/2 of a 10mg zolipidem tablet nightly for the last 5 or 6 nights. Before that I might take the same amount once or twice a week. Can I stop cold turkey without seizure risks? I am 55 years old.

  129. Hello Ashley. Cold turkey withdrawal from Ambien can provoke seizures, and is not recommended. In fact, withdrawal from Ambien is, ideally, monitored after drug exposure for several days or weeks. So if you’re planning to decrease dosage, be sure that you do so under medical supervision.

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