Ambien is ranked high among the available sleep medications due to its potency and efficacy in treating insomnia. The drug comes in the dosage strengths of Ambien 5mg and 10mg in the immediate release form, while the controlled release Ambien CR is available in strengths of 6.25mg and 12.5mg. The FDA has made recommendations that the dosage of the sleep aid be the lowest when prescribing it for women, which are 5mg immediate release and 6.25mg controlled release forms. The dosage level recommended for men can be either 5mg or 10mg. These recommendations come in the light of research and data that show that it is safer for women to take the lower dosages of Ambien. The Zolpidem formulation has certain properties for which the drug has to be used cautiously. Read on to find out why women taking Ambien for sleep problems should have only the lowered dosage level of the drug.
Why is the Ambien dosage lower for women?
A recent study showed that more women demonstrated next-day impairment compared to men. For reasons unknown, women metabolize and eliminate the drug from their system very slowly and can extend to beyond eight hours after taking the sleep medication. Men, on the other hand, process the drug faster and also metabolize it quickly. The risk of next day impairment is present but lower compared to that of women.
Higher dosage strengths also increase the risk of other effects. Many persons have experienced doing something in their sleep like eating or texting, but not having any memory of it at all the next day. The morning after effects that are felt more strongly in women than men are why the dosage level recommended has been reduced.
How to take Ambien safely?
The safest way to take Ambien is to follow the dosage instructions as given by the doctor. It is important to remember that the drug is intended for short-term use only. The FDA recommends that all sleep disorder patients should be started on the Zolpidem pills only with the lower dosage strength of 5mg. Depending on the response to the drug, tolerance, and type of sleep problem, the dosage can be modified accordingly.
Always check with the doctor before making any dose modifications. Ensure that you have dedicated sleep time of seven to eight hours before taking the drug. If there is next day impairment or daytime drowsiness, wait a few hours for it to pass before doing any activities like driving or operating any dangerous machinery. Follow the doctor’s instructions while discontinuing the medication as well. In the right dosage, Ambien is relatively safe to take.