Zolpidem Side Effects

Zolpidem Side Effects

According to the National Health Services (NHS), side effects are defined as undesirable symptoms of a medical treatment. Side effects can be categorised as:

  • Very common: This is when more than 1 in 10 people are affected
  • Common: This is when between 1 in 10 and 1 in 100 people are affected
  • Uncommon: This is when between 1 in 100 and 1 in 1,000 people are affected
  • Rare: This is when between 1 in 1,000 and 1 in 10,000 people are affected
  • Very rare:  This is less than 1 in 10,000 people are affected

One of the most commonly reported zolpidem side effects are headaches. These occur when there is an interaction of the signals in the brain with the surrounding blood vessels and nerve cells. An activation of specific nerves affects the blood vessels and consequently, sends pain messages to the brain. Pain from headaches can be managed by practicing relaxation, staying hydrated, using hot compresses to the forehead as well as easing pressure on the scalp and head.

Zolpidem side effects tend to be mild in severity and disappear with continued use of the sedative. Administration of a zolpidem dosage which is higher than advised can increase the probability of adverse effects. 

Zolpidem Effects

Other zolpidem side effects can include:

Hallucinations: Hallucinations are the perception of an object or event, through any of the five senses or a combination thereof. An example could be seeing something that is not actually present. Although this effect is not common, some have reported this occurrence when using zolpidem tablets. Hallucinations are symptomatic of several disorders and are not considered harmful, but if there are changes in mood or behaviour, or if the condition seems to be worsening, medical attention is advised.

Myalgia: This is defined as pain associated with a muscle or a group of muscles. Myalgia can be identified as local or widespread muscle pain, fatigue and even fever, in more severe cases. An effective way to ease muscle pain would be to rest the area that is affected. You can also alternate between hot and cold compresses to help reduce the pain and swelling of the affected muscle.

Nausea: Nausea is a stomach discomfort and can be associated with a feeling of wanting to vomit. It is often an easily managed condition, but can be more severe in certain circumstances. If you feel nauseous, research literature recommends patients try peppermint aromatherapy for relief. This is a popular natural remedy which can help ease the discomfort of nausea. Ginger can also be useful in this case as research shows that it may be helpful in increasing digestive responsiveness.

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Zolpidem Long Term Effects

You should use zolpidem 10 mg for the shortest treatment period possible. When using this sedative for longer than advised, you can experience the following long-term effects:

  • Impaired memory: The inability to retain details or information can be transient (resolve itself after a short while) or longer than usual. This side effect is not frequently reported and those who have experienced it have reported that it is mild in severity. To help with impaired memory, one can use herbs that boost mental cognition, such as ginseng. You should also include physical exercise to your daily activities as this increases blood flow to many areas of the body, including the brain.
  • Anxiety: Anxiety is a mental health disorder and is often characterised by feelings of worry or fear. Using zolpidem sleeping tablets in the long-term can cause anxiety but there are ways in which this condition can be effectively managed. Regular exercise can be good for both the mind and body too. Practicing meditation as well as eating a balanced and healthy diet have also been proven to be useful. To manage the symptoms of anxiety, it is recommended by experts that caffeine, nicotine and alcohol be avoided.

Does Zolpidem Cause Weight Gain?

One of the reasons a person may gain weight is because they are leptin-resistant. Leptin is a hormone, which is predominantly made by the cells of the small intestine, and is responsible for the regulation of energy balance by inhibiting hunger.

Those who are leptin-resistant do not get the satiety signal at the correct time. Time means that they are not receiving the signal that their bodies are 'full' during a meal and hence, are unknowingly taking in more food than they require.

There have been some reports of weight gain when using zolpidem 10 mg. The weight gain may not be of significance, but if you feel that this effect is having negative implications on your health, you could try the following:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat a nutritious and balanced diet (specifically, a high protein breakfast)
  • Drink water before having a meal
  • Avoid unhealthy foods and sugary drinks

Weight loss is also a possibility when using zolpidem sleeping pills. Although this may a desirable effect, the consequences of losing weight at an unhealthy rate can put you at risk for various health issues, such as nutritional deficiency and a change in metabolism.

Your body weight can fluctuate on a regular basis but consistent, unintended weight loss (more than 5% of your body weight), for more than 12 months, can be a cause for concern.

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Zolpidem and Alcohol Side Effects

  • Zolpidem tablets are intended for the management of sleep disorders. This hypnotic begins functioning soon after ingestion and goes to work by relaxing the muscles, body and mind thereby inducing sleep. Alcohol is a depressant of the central nervous system, which also affects the muscles, body and mind.
  • A combination of zolpidem and alcohol can slow down the respiratory system to a point, which may require medical attention as well as affect the muscles (by causing a loss of motor control thereby resulting in injury to the body).
  • When using zolpidem and alcohol together, the sedative effects can be further enhanced and may cause unwanted side effects.

Note that a positive experience, like 80% or more of zolpidem patients find, is possible simply by following the recommended intake and usage instructions. These and other zolpidem side effects can be found in the patient information leaflet.

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Annabelle Clarke

AUTHOR: Annabelle Clarke

Since graduating from the University of Nottingham with a Master’s degree in English literature Annabelle has followed her dream and pursued a career as a content writer. We are confident that Annabelle’s love for life, as well as her passion and dedication to help others will be reflected in her blogs and will offer our readers new and alternative ways to improve their sleep pattern and the health benefits associated with getting a good night's sleep.

Lorraine Selby – Mar 09, 2021
Dear Annabelle, I wanted to write and show my appreciation of your excellent blog. I believe that by focusing on the side-effects associated with this medication you are enlightening your readers and providing them with all the information they need. Lorraine Selby

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