As per the American Sleep Association (ASA), 50 to 70 million adults in the US suffer from sleep issues. One of the most widely known sleep disorders is insomnia or sleep deprivation, which can be described as having difficulty falling or staying asleep for at least 3 days of the week over an extended period. Many factors influence sleep, such as stress, caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol.
The crucial part of the treatment process for a sleep disorder like insomnia includes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia and OTC supplements such as CBD or Melatonin. However, patients often require prescription medications to fall asleep and help with increasing sleep duration.
Many individuals use prescription drugs like Restoril and Ambien to treat sleep disorders. While these two drugs are used in similar conditions, there are a few critical dissimilarities that a person taking them should know about. By studying more about these medicines, you and your doctor will have an easier time deciding which is best for you. In this guide, learn about the differences between Restoril and Ambien.
What Is Ambien?
Ambien is a brand name of a drug called zolpidem, which belongs to a class of medications known as non-benzodiazepine sedative-hypnotics. It improves the effects of GABA-inhibitory neurotransmitters in the brain by binding to the benzodiazepine-1 receptor. Binding to this specific receptor allows Ambien to explicitly treat insomnia instead of helping with other symptoms such as seizures and Anxiety.
However, it is advised to take Ambien for a short period, i.e., 1-2 weeks, depending on the individual's age, medical history, and other factors.
There are two forms of Ambien-
- Ambien (immediate-release formulation)
- Ambien CR (Controlled-release formulation)
Like other sleeping aids, some people depend on Ambien and abuse the drug, leading to addiction. That usually happens when someone takes Ambien for longer than prescribed, consumes a higher dose of the medicine than recommended, or uses it without a prescription.
The users shouldn't abruptly stop taking Ambien as it can cause severe withdrawal symptoms like nausea, skin flushing, and stomach cramps. Doctors recommend lowering the dose gradually over time.
Restoril has an average rating of 6.4 out of 10 from 421 ratings for the treatment of insomnia. 53% of reviewers reported a positive effect, while 28% reported a negative impact.
Ambien (zolpidem) has an average rating of 7.0 out of 10 from 540 ratings for the treatment of insomnia. 61% reported a positive effect, while 21% of reviewers reported a negative impact.
What Is Restoril?
Restoril is the brand version of the drug temazepam. It was first developed in the 1960s and hit the market in 1981 after attaining widespread popularity in the US. Some reports rank the drug as the fifth most prescribed benzodiazepine in the US.
Like Ambien, Restoril is a prescription benzodiazepine drug used to treat insomnia and other sleep-related conditions. However, Restoril can also treat Anxiety, muscle spasms, and seizures.
Restoril is prescribed for less than 10 days, depending on the person's body composition, age, and other factors.
Some people develop a dependency on Restoril, followed by its addiction. This usually happens if someone takes a higher dose than prescribed, takes the drug for longer than prescribed, or uses the sleeping pill without the doctor's prescription.
The users shouldn't discontinue taking Restoril abruptly as it might cause withdrawal symptoms. (However, its symptoms are not as severe as Ambien's) Doctors might lower its dose gradually over time.
Restoril Vs Ambien: Which Is More Effective?
Though Restoril and Ambien belong to different classes of drugs, they affect the body in many ways. They share many side effects and risks and can both be potentially dangerous.
While they are not as habit-forming as other prescription drugs, both drugs can still cause withdrawal symptoms. Depending on the time you have taken Restoril or Ambien, you may experience severe withdrawal. While both Ambien and Restoril can improve sleep efficiency, Ambien is significantly better at reducing the number of awakenings after falling asleep. Given this and the more specific activities toward sleep, Ambien may be preferred over Restoril.
Interactions Of Restoril And Ambien
Restoril (Temazepam) may interact with ketoconazole, fluvoxamine, nefazodone, itraconazole, or other medications that make you sleepy (such as narcotic analgesics, cold or allergy medicine, muscle relaxers, medicine for seizures, depression, or Anxiety and sleep aids). Inform your doctor regarding all medications you are taking.
Also, Restoril must not be taken during pregnancy, as the other medicines of this class have shown congenital disabilities during the first trimester or hepatic problems or withdrawal symptoms in newborns when used for a long time during pregnancy.
Seek advice from your concerned doctor before taking this medicine during breastfeeding, as the drug might pass into the breast milk.
Ambien (zolpidem) may interact with antidepressants, medicines that slow breathing or make you sleepy (such as analgesics, cold pills, medication for depression, Anxiety, seizures, and muscle relaxants).
Ambien also interacts with ketoconazole, alcohol, chlorpromazine, rifampin or itraconazole.
Sleep deprivation symptoms may also return after you quit taking Ambien. These symptoms may seem to be worse than before you started taking Ambien.
Side Effects Restoril v/s Ambien
Ambien also comes with its share of potential adverse effects. While many are relatively common and harmless, like dry mouth and headaches, others can be dangerous. For example, sleepwalking, sleep-eating, or even sleep-driving. Though this is a rare side effect, it should be informed to the doctor after being noticed.
Some of the side effects of this drug last even after the drug has worn off. Ambien can affect your driving ability even after a whole night's sleep.
Zolpidem (Ambien) has a short lifespan, so overdosing on this drug is not particularly common. However, suppose an individual develops a tolerance for this drug. In that case, they may increase their dosage to feel the desired effects, leading to various health risks, including slowed heart rate, shallow breathing, and death.
In fact, according to a study in the British Medical Journal, receiving a prescription for hypnotic drugs like Ambien increased a person's risk of death more than threefold. All these side effects can be aggravated when Restoril is abused.
If an individual uses Restoril longer than prescribed, he might develop a tolerance for this drug. The person will then need to take a higher dose (or take the medication in combination with another depressant, such as alcohol) to produce similar effects. This leads to a condition called potential overdose, which can further cause seizures, coma, or even death.
Bottom Line From Practical Anxiety Solutions
Conclusively, if any individual is struggling with any sleep disorder, say, insomnia, and needs medication to get relief, it is advised to take recommendations from the concerned healthcare professional.
The medical practitioner would advise the best-suited drug based on the person's age, body composition, medical history, and other factors. He would also ensure that the prescribed medicine is safe and effective, considering minimal side effects of the drug – whether it is Ambien or Restoril.
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