Ambien (Zolpidem) is a sedative/hypnotic drug designed to depress central nervous system activity. Ambien CR, is a time release form of Ambien composed of two layers. A quickly dissolving first layer rapidly leads to sleep and a slowly dissolving second layer aids with sleep throughout the night.
Ambien May Work in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) Because it enhances the activity of a neurotransmitter called GABA that turns down brain activity. Several physicians believe ME/CFS patient’s brains are ‘overactive’.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) Studies No studies have examined the effectiveness of Ambien in ME/CFS.
ME/CFS Physicians Report Ambien’s effectiveness and few side effects make it the first choice for Dr. Teitelbaum (5-15 mgs.) and it is recommended by most ME/CFS physicians. If you wake early with Ambien Dr. Teitelbaum recommends you switch to the newer (more expensive) time released verson, Ambien CR or chew on half a tablet or so.
Dr. Klimas, on the other hand, does not recommend Ambien, stating that while short-acting hypnotics such as Ambien may help you get to sleep they don’t help you stay asleep and can trap you in the lighter alpha stages of sleep. She recommends tricyclic anti-depressants such as elavil and, in particular, doxepin elixir.
Like any drug ME/CFS patients can be expected to display a wide variety of responses to Ambien. Click here to view some ME/CFS patient reviews of their experiences on Ambien.
Dose: Recommended dose is 10 mgs. at bedtime. Total amount should not exceed 10 mg./day. The lowest effective dosage should be taken to avoid side effects.
Side Effects – According to RxList approximately 4% of the people taking Ambien in its premarketing clinical trials discontinued it because of side effects. The most common side effect was headache followed by drowsiness, dizziness and nausea. Long term trials suggested that headache was by far the most common side effect (15-20%) with lower levels (1-5%) of a large variety of central nervous system and gastrointestinal symptoms (dry mouth, drowsiness, dizziness, lethary, nausea, etc). Side effects are more likely at higher doses.
Warning:Ambien should not be taken with alcohol. Inform your physician if you are taking other central nervous system antidepressant drugs.
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