Substance Use

Ambien Overdose: What You Need to Know

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What You Need to Know About Ambien Overdose

What is Ambien? Ambien is the brand name for the drug zolpidem. Zolpidem is a prescription drug, often prescribed as a sleep aid for the treatment of insomnia. However, it has abuse potential, with many users taking it recreationally. Recreational use can lead to the development of a substance use disorder (SUD), which increases the risk of Ambien overdose.

If you think your Ambien use is problematic, you may have a substance use disorder. Call us today at (855) 430-9439 for information on our treatment options for Ambien abuse and other substance abuse issues.

Can You Overdose on Ambien?

An Ambien overdose is possible if you take more than the recommended dosage. Overdoses involving prescription medications can be fatal. Fatalities due to zolpidem overdoses are rare, but an updated study showed that in more than 90% of cases, hypnotic prescription medications did more harm than good for the patient.

What to Do in An Emergency?

If you suspect someone close to you is overdosing on Ambien, call 911 immediately. Please call 911 right away to get help and advice for a person who is overdosing.

What Are the Treatment Options for an Ambien Overdose?

Ambien overdose treatment options depend on the severity of the overdose and other factors. For example, has the person consumed any other substances? Overdoses involving a combination of substances may require particular treatments from medical professionals.

An Ambien overdose involving alcohol may be treated with flumazenil. Flumazenil is usually used in overdoses involving benzodiazepines. However, studies show it’s also effective in treating Ambien overdoses.

You should always seek help from medical professionals if you suspect you or a loved one is experiencing an Ambien overdose by calling 911.

Is an Ambien Overdose Dangerous?

An Ambien overdose can be dangerous. You should always seek medical help if you believe you have overdosed on any prescription medications or illicit drugs.

Although the likelihood of a fatal overdose from Ambien use alone is relatively low, negative side effects can begin at lower doses. Furthermore, when Ambien is taken in combination with other drugs, a fatal Ambien dose becomes significantly higher.

How Much Ambien Does it Take to Overdose?

The amount of zolpidem it takes to overdose depends on the individual. It can also depend on any other medication or illicit drugs the person takes. The maximum recommended daily dose is 10mg. However, zolpidem can also interact with other drugs, including alcohol and imipramine.

Anyone taking zolpidem alongside other prescription drugs or illicit drugs should check for known interactions. Interactions can result in adverse effects, including excessive sedative effects and drowsiness.

What Are Ambien Overdose Symptoms?

Someone experiencing an Ambien overdose will likely display certain symptoms. These can include:

  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Changes to heart rate
  • Chest pain
  • Coma

Overdoses usually come from taking higher doses. Toxicity may also occur in anyone taking zolpidem with other CNS depressants.

An Ambien overdose is a medical emergency. Always call 911 for medical help.

Co-occurring Drug Abuse

A person may be more likely to overdose on Ambien if they combine it with the use of other substances. People abusing any of the following drugs in combination with Ambien may increase overdose risk:

  • Imipramine
  • CNS depressants
  • Alcohol
  • Chlorpromazine
  • Rifampin
  • Ketoconazole

If you or someone you know is suffering from substance abuse, call Zinnia Healing at (855) 430-9439 for information about our treatment options.

What Are the Risk Factors for an Ambien Overdose?

Ambien abuse or misusing other substances in combination with Ambien can be an overdose risk factor. This can include mixing it with alcohol and other drugs, including opioids. Although zolpidem is a non-benzodiazepine hypnotic, it does affect benzodiazepine receptors. Therefore, taking benzodiazepines in combination with zolpidem is an overdose risk factor for overdose.

Substance use disorders can also be an Ambien overdose risk factor. Someone with a substance use disorder will typically build a tolerance to a substance and need to increase their dose to feel the same effects. This may lead someone with a zolpidem use disorder to consume dangerous amounts of the drug.

Taking Ambien at anxiolytic doses can also be an overdose risk factor. Anxiolytic doses are higher than those prescribed for insomnia and are prescribed to reduce anxiety.

A substance use disorder is a significant Ambien overdose risk factor. If you are concerned about your Ambien use or think a loved one may have a substance use disorder, reach out to us. We provide various treatment programs at our addiction treatment centers.

Why Does an Ambien Overdose Occur?

An Ambien overdose usually occurs when someone takes the drug in combination with other interacting prescription drugs or illicit drugs. The reason for an overdose relates to the effects of Ambien on the central nervous system. Taking zolpidem reduces activity in the brain. This is why drowsiness is a common side effect. However, when someone overdoses, the effects are often more severe.

While slowing down brain activity, the drug also affects breathing and heart rate. In some instances, a person can go into a coma because of this. An overdose is essentially very heavy sedation, which can have dangerous effects and should be treated as a medical emergency.

Drug overdoses often occur because of a substance use disorder. Someone is thought to have a substance use disorder if their substance use leads to health problems or has a social impact. For example, causing issues at work or in relationships. Someone can develop a substance use disorder even if they are prescribed Ambien by their doctor for legitimate reasons. 

How to Tell If Someone is on Ambien

As zolpidem is a sleep aid, most people that take it will show signs of drowsiness. They may also have difficulty concentrating or have poor coordination. If someone has taken a large amount of Ambien, they may fall in and out of consciousness or appear comatose.

Why Would Someone Take Ambien?

A study by SAMHSA found that the misuse of tranquillizers and sedative drugs, including zolpidem, is increasing among young people. This is likely due to the effects of Ambien resembling a “high” when taken at recreational doses or mixed with alcohol, prescription drugs, or illicit drugs.

How to Help Someone with an Ambien Use Disorder

An Ambien use disorder can lead to many problems in your life. However, with the right support, you can tackle them. Our team members are highly experienced in addiction and substance use disorders and offer a range of treatment programs to help you start your journey to sobriety. Patient privacy is important to us, as is providing valuable therapies focusing on behavioral health and addiction.

We offer a range of support groups, therapy options, and treatment programs at our treatment facilities. By taking a holistic approach and offering individualized support, we believe we can help you beat your substance use disorder for good.

Reach out to Zinnia Healing or call (855) 430-9439 to learn more about our treatment programs.