Ambien is a prescription medication that is used in the treatment of insomnia. For many patients, Ambien is a better treatment option when compared to other sleep aides because it begins working in as little as 15 minutes. Another benefit is that it has a short half life of only three to four hours, which means that the patient will be able to wake up from sleep feeling rested, instead of groggy as is the case with other sleep aides.
The United States Food and Drug Administration, also known as the FDA, approved Ambien and it has been on the market since 2007. Ambien was specifically approved for the short term treatment of insomnia, which usually means that the medication can be safely used for two to six weeks. Ambien is different than most prescription sleep aides because it doesn�t actually help the patient fall asleep, rather it helps the patient maintain sleep.
Ambien is often prescribed off label for the treatment of restless leg syndrome, despite not being approved for this usage. Though it has not been approved for this purpose, many doctors and patients have found that it is both safe and effective in treating restless leg syndrome and gives the relief that patients are looking for as restless leg syndrome can also make it difficult to sleep.
Ambien has many benefits but it is not without its side effects. Common side effects include but are not limited to nausea, vomiting, altered thought patterns, decreased libido, increased appetite, impaired judgment, hallucinations, and even amnesia. Patients should discuss side effects with their doctor as they occur to determine if Ambien is still the best course of treatment.