SUMAYYA
20 September 2022
Medically reviewed by
Kajal Jain
M. Pharm
zolpidem-cause-headaches
Table of Contents

Nearly half of the persons face headaches regularly, but when it repeatedly occurs over time, you probably have a headache disorder.

Headaches can be said to be a painful sensation produced in the parts of the head; the pain may be sharp to dull, which everyone experiences sometimes. Some causes are drinking alcohol, stress, skipping meals, not sleeping during the night, or environmental exposure. In the U.K., there are 10 million people who have a headache.

While using the drug Ambien has the most common side effect, a headache, so let us discuss how the drug Ambien causes it in detail.

What Is Ambien? 

Ambien  is an imidazopyridine non-benzodiazepine used to treat insomnia in adults. Ambien is a Schedule IV controlled substance under the Federal Controlled Substance Act. It has a rapid onset of action and short elimination half-life, rendering it ideal as a sleep aid. It tends to work within 30 minutes. 

Uses

  • Indicated for insomnia in adults
  • Indicated for neurological conditions, migraine headaches, and to relieve stress 

How Does Ambien Work?

Zolpidem interacts with the GABA-BZ receptor complex and shares one of the pharmacological properties of benzodiazepines. In contrast to benzodiazepines, which non-selectively bind and activate all three Omega (w) subtypes, zolpidem in vitro binds with the (w 1) receptor preferentially. 

GABA suppresses brain activity and reduces the neurotransmitters, a calming effect produced in the brain, which allows the working of the drug zolpidem to make you feel drowsiness and a feeling of sleepiness.

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Doses Of Ambien

It is available in several preparations:

  • Zolpidem (5 mg/spray oral spray),
  • Ambien (5- and 10-mg tablets), and  
  • Ambien C.R. (6.25- and 12.5-mg tablets).

Side Effects Of Ambien     

Side effects are widespread among all drugs and usually take around one or three days; if you face side effects for more than a week, kindly check with your doctor.   

  • Fatigue
  • Sedation
  • Nausea
  • Lack of appetite
  • Fever
  • A loss of muscle control
  • Low heart rate
  • Low pulse
  • Irritability
  • Falling unconscious
  • Breathing problems
  • Severe memory loss
  • Excessive drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Extreme changes in mood

Headache

According to World Health Organisation: A headache is a pain in any part of the head. In addition to being located on one side of the head or both sides, headaches can radiate across the head from one point or have a viselike quality. A headache may feel like a dull ache, a sharp pain, or a throbbing sensation.

Recurrent headaches are the hallmark of headache disorders, church on quality of life, disability, and financial means for individuals and society.

The most often reported complaint by patients in primary care settings is headaches. They may be duAnxietyxiety, stress, and a long list of pre-existing medical disorders. People tolerate headache pain for weeks, months, or even years before seeking medical attention.

There are two basic categories of headaches: primary and secondary, and their severity, frequency, and length can vary substantially.

Primary

These are unrelated to any underlying medical disorders, such as tension-type headaches or migraines. It accounts for 90% of all headaches.

The Primary Headaches

  • Migraine
  • Tension-type headache
  • Trigeminal autonomic cephalgia
  • Other primary headache disorders 

Secondary

Other medical disorders, such as infection, increased pressure in the skull, illness, etc., can cause these headaches. Only 10% of people have secondary headaches.

The Secondary Headaches may be due to

  • Trauma or injury to the head or neck
  • Cranial or cervical vascular disease
  • Non-Vascular intracranial disorder
  • A substance or its withdrawal
  • Infection. Disorder of homeostasis
  • Disorders of the skull, neck, eyes, ears, nose, or other facial or cervical structure
  • Psychiatric disorder

Does Ambien Cause headaches?

  • According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the effects of Ambien include drowsiness, headache, and dizziness. Ambien is only for treating insomnia and not for maintaining sleep. 
  • Headaches are a common side effect, but they have much more to do with the sleep duration and the stage during which one awakens.
  • High doses of Ambien can cause severe adverse effects such as sedation, loss of coordination, headache, nausea, loss of balance, muscle weakness, and confusion. High doses can make people groggy in the morning. 
  • Combining Ambien with alcohol or other sedatives may also increase the intensity of your symptoms and side effects. 

How Does Ambien Cause headaches?

Headaches are among the most often reported side effects of using Ambien. Intake of high doses may cause next-day impairment in the user.
It is probably because of the selectivity of the binding and the typical shorter half-lives. 

Studies Related To Headaches Caused By Ambien

  • A study by Priyanka Teckchandani, the most commonly reported side effects are dizziness, headache, and nausea.
  • One of the medications approved for sleep initiation and maintenance of sleep was zolpidem-CR (Ambien-CR®). It has a rapid onset of action. Side effects reported include unpleasant taste and headache. 

Tips For Managing Headaches Caused By Ambien

Ambien-induced headaches are preventable, and therefore, the emphasis should be on educating patients on the importance of appropriate medication administration and the risks of its side effects. 

  • Only take a sleeping pill when you have at least seven to eight hours of sleep.
  • Never mix Ambien with alcohol or other sedative drugs.
  • Start with the lowest recommended dose.
  • Avoid frequent use of Ambien.
  • Engage in relaxation techniques that can relieve stress and help you sleep - meditation practices, progressive muscle relaxation, yoga, and deep breathing.
  • Turn off screens at least one hour before you sleep.
  • Regular exercises during the day can help your sleep at night.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)- Focuses on increasing your understanding of the role of cognitions (thoughts) in stress responses and the relationships between stress, coping, and headaches.

Bottom Line From Practical Anxiety Solutions

Discuss the side effects with your healthcare provider before starting Ambien. If you have trouble sleeping and are considering sleeping aids like zolpidem, make sure to check in with your healthcare provider first.

Zolpidem is very effective in treating insomnia; you have to be safe while using it because there are side effects present in the drug. To avoid side effects, ask your doctor the preventive measures. Do not overdose on your medication. If you find any unusual changes in your behavior, kindly visit the healthcare professionals immediately and seek help. 

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