FRENY MENEZES
By Freny Menezes

Pharm. D

19 September 2022
Medically reviewed by
Kajal Jain
M. Pharm
taking-ambien-and-melatonin-together
Table of Contents

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that means you have difficulty falling or staying asleep. If you occasionally experience insomnia, there's probably nothing to worry about — almost everyone has trouble sleeping at one time or another. However, if you are regularly finding yourself struggling to fall or stay asleep, you may decide to seek further medical evaluation.

Sleep medication may seem like a lifesaver. If used sparingly, it may help you get the sleep you need. However, long-term use is not recommended for most sleep aids.

There are many sleeping aids available; however, two such sleep aids, i.e., Melatonin and Ambien, are discussed in detail below.

Ambien and Melatonin are both sleep aids that help in relaxing the brain. If you are taking Ambien and still have trouble obtaining a restful night of sleep, adding Melatonin to your regimen may boost your sleep cycle. Learning about Ambien and Melatonin can prepare you for talking with your doctor about your sleep aid options. 

What Is Ambien?

Ambien, commonly known as Zolpidem, slows down activity in the brain, allowing you to sleep. The immediate release form dissolves right away, helping you fall asleep fast. The extended-release version has two layers, which help you to fall and stay asleep. 

It is a non-benzodiazepine, a non-barbiturate prescription drug used to treat insomnia at the lowest effective dose. It may improve sleep onset and latency and help to stay asleep. It is not recommended for longer as it can be habit-forming, meaning you will eventually have trouble sleeping without it.

What Is Melatonin?

Melatonin hormone is naturally secreted (produced by the pineal gland) in your brain. It regulates your body's circadian rhythm, which controls the natural sleep cycle and waking up. It helps to treat depression.

Melatonin can also be used in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, cancer (adjunctive therapy), chemo-induced thrombocytopenia, i.e., shortage of blood platelets, benzodiazepine or nicotine withdrawal, jet lag, headache, shift-work disorder, insomnia, sleep disorders, involuntary muscle movements (tardive dyskinesia) and winter depression.

Your doctor might suggest you take Melatonin supplements daily, approximately one hour before sleep, to help you get quick sleep. However, taking too much Melatonin can throw off your sleep cycle. 

This supplement is readily available over the counter. Since Melatonin is not considered a drug, it is not monitored by the FDA. The Melatonin bottle may list certain ingredients or specify a dosage, but the pill may contain unlisted ingredients or have an inaccurate dose.

If you are planning to start Melatonin supplements, especially when you are on other medications, consult your healthcare provider first, as Melatonin may interact with other medicines.

Taking Ambien And Melatonin Together?

Melatonin and Ambien work Mechanisms on the brain to make you feel relaxed and sleepy. Melatonin is a natural hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle and helps you fall asleep. Zolpidem is a sedative that works by slowing the activity of the nerve cells in the brain and helps sleep for longer.

The combination of these two drugs is safe, although it can increase sedation and impair coordination. It is because both drugs have a synergistic effect on one another. According to "Focus on Nursing Pharmacology," the dosage of Ambien should be reduced when given in combination with Melatonin.

It is advised to seek help from the medical practitioner for drugs in combination to reduce or avoid the risk of adverse effects.

How Efficient Is The Combination of Ambien And Melatonin?

MELATONIN+Ambien is a combination therapy containing 'sedative-hypnotics' used to treat insomnia. Ambien (Zolpidem) acts on the GABA receptor and increases its activity, acting as a natural nerve-calming agent, thereby causing relaxation and inducing sleep. 

Melatonin hormone (naturally produced by the pineal gland) helps to maintain the normal sleep cycle (waking up and falling asleep). This combination therapy relaxes muscles, reduces Anxiety, and helps to fall asleep.

According to the article in "Journal of Psychopharmacology," published in May 2009, the study was conducted to find whether the regimen of antidepressant medication had an impact on the patients' levels of Melatonin. The subjects on antidepressant drugs showed an increased level of Melatonin. It was concluded that the antidepressants (such as fluoxetine, Zolpidem, or duloxetine) might impact the rate of secretion of Melatonin.

Conclusively, if a person is taking SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), he might find less usage for Melatonin, as there is plenty of it in the biological system naturally. 

Side effects 

Side effects are undesired effects of taking a drug. It's possible to experience side effects if you start taking a newly prescribed medicine or dietary supplement, stop taking a long-term medication, or increase or decrease the dose of an existing drug.

Ambien and Melatonin have comparable side effects, such as drowsiness, dizziness, fatigue, stuffy nose, dry mouth, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, headache, muscle pain, and visual changes.

Side Effects of taking Ambien and Melatonin together

Apart from the medicinal benefits of this therapy, it also has some side effects, such as drowsiness, dizziness, confusion, difficulty concentrating, nausea, headache, and diarrhea. Some older people might also experience impaired judgment, thinking, and motor coordination. 

Bottom Line From Practical Anxiety Solutions1

The efficacy of Zolpidem and Melatonin in combination entirely depends upon an individual's medical history, treatment and response. Combination therapy is recommended for any disease if both drugs show synergistic effects and add efficacy compared to the individual results. But for this, all aspects, such as the medical history of the personal and drug-drug interactions, should be considered.

As mentioned above, the combination of Zolpidem and Melatonin can prove effective or show an adverse reaction, depending on the individual.

Talking to a medical practitioner or doctor before taking any combination therapy is better.

  • Stoianovici R, Brunetti L, Adams CD. Comparison of Melatonin and Zolpidem for Sleep in an Academic Community Hospital: An Analysis of Patient Perception and Inpatient Outcomes. J Pharm Pract. 2021 Feb;34(1):44-50. From https://doi.org/10.1177/0897190019851888  Obtain on 19/09/2022
  • Hardeland, Rüdiger, S. R. Pandi-Perumal, and Daniel P. Cardinali. "Melatonin." The international journal of biochemistry & cell biology 38.3 (2006): 313-316. From https://doi/10.1056/NEJM199701163360306 Obtain on 19/09/2022
  • Delgado, D., Canham, L., Cotterill, N. et al. Protocol for a randomized, double blind, placebo controlled, crossover trial of Melatonin for treatment of Nocturia in adults with Multiple Sclerosis (MeNiMS). BMC Neurol 17, 63 (2017). From https://doi.org/10.1186/s12883-017-0845-y Obtain on 19/09/2022
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