Published on 20 September 2022

Can Zolpidem be treated for Neurological disorders?

Zopiclone (Imovane) zolpediem-for-neurological-disorders
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Neurological disorders include neuro infections, brain injuries, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson's disease. It is reported that neurological disorders, ranging from epilepsy to Alzheimer's disease, from stroke to headache, affect up to one billion people worldwide.

Nearly 50 million suffer from epilepsy and 24 million from Alzheimer's and other dementias. An estimated 6.8 million people pass away every year as a result of neurological disorders.

Various medications are available for neurological disorders. But does Ambien works in this condition?
Let's find out.

What Is Ambien (Zolpidem)?

Ambien is a short-acting nonbenzodiazepine hypnotic used to treat insomnia It binds to the α1 subunits of GABA-A receptors in the central nervous system, facilitating inhibitory neurotransmission. It is a sedative-hypnotic with minor anxiolytic and muscle relaxant properties.  

Indications Of Zolpidem

It is indicated to treat people with insomnia who have trouble falling asleep- Occasional, transient, and chronic insomnia.

Indicated for anxiety, migraine, and neurological conditions; to relieve stress.
Frequently used Ambien to lessen the effects of jet lag.

Doses Of Zolpidem

Ambien is available as

1. Immediate-release tablet

  • 5 mg and 10 mg

2. Extended-release tablet                     

  • 6.25 mg and 12.5 mg

3. Sublingual tablet                   

  • 1.75mg, 3.5mg, 5mg, and 10 mg

Oral spray (5 mg/spray)

The initial dose is 5 mg for women and 5 or 10 mg for men. Take once daily immediately before bedtime, 7-8 hours before waking up. 

Frequently Asked Questions

An individual should avoid taking zolpidem if allergic to it or if he is sensitive to lactose (as Ambien contains lactose). Ambien is not recommended for persons younger than 18 years. Take advice from your medical practitioner before taking this medicine.
Among all neurological disorders, the most common is Alzheimer's, epilepsy, and stroke.
Most neurological disorders are challenging to treat because of a natural barrier in the brain that blocks harmful substances from entering while allowing only necessary nutrients. However, its symptoms can often improve with treatment and even disappear entirely.

What Are Neurological Disorders?

The World Health Organization defines neurological disorders as diseases affecting the entire nervous system. It affects the brain, spinal cord, cranial nerves, peripheral nerves, nerve roots, autonomic nervous system, neuromuscular junction, and muscles. 

Neurological disorders include:

  •    Alzheimer's Disease
  •    Multiple System Atrophy
  •    Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
  •    Rett Syndrome
  •    Traumatic Brain Injury
  •    Stroke
  •    Parkinson's Disease
  •    Migraine
  •    Cerebral Palsy
  •    Spinal Cord Injury
  •    Multiple Sclerosis
  •    Erb's Palsy, Bell's Palsy
  •    Diabetic Neuropathy
  •    Guillain-Barre Syndrome
  •    HIV Neuropathy
  •    Myasthenia Gravis
  •    Sciatic Nerve Injury
  •    Radiculopathy 

Can Ambien Help With Neurological Disorders?

Ambien has been shown to treat many neurologic conditions, most frequently movement and consciousness disorders. It showed positive effects in symptoms of decreased levels of consciousness.  

Studies Related To Ambien Use In Neurological Disorders     

A case study from 1997 said Ambien treatment significantly reduced stiffness and akinesia in a patient with Parkinson's disease.

In Stephanie Patricia's study, 25 adult dystonia patients (51%) out of 49 patients had complete symptom relief right away after taking Ambien 10 mg, with a beginning of effects noticed in 15–45 min and peak effects in 1-2 h.

In 2000, there was a case report of a South African man who had been in a chronic vegetative state for three years following a vehicle crash. He suddenly awoke and started speaking to his family 15 minutes after getting zolpidem. 

There are currently several cases of people with different neurologic conditions, like Parkinson's Disorder, or those who are only partially conscious, whose symptoms have improved to varying degrees with the use of zolpidem.  

How Does Ambien work in Neurological Disorders?

Ambien improves symptoms of movement disorders through its stimulation of inhibitory channels in the basal ganglia loop. Once the GABAA receptor is then activated, the release of GABA facilitates inhibitory neurotransmission throughout the central nervous system. 

Ambien improves symptoms of movement disorders through its stimulation of inhibitory channels in the basal ganglia loop. Once the GABAA receptor is activated, the release of GABA facilitates inhibitory neurotransmission throughout the central nervous system.

Ambien acts as a selective agonist at the ω1 subtype receptor of the GABA receptor complex. The basal ganglia's output regions contain these receptors, particularly the globus pallidus internal and the substantia nigra pars reticular.

The thalamus receives inhibitory signals from both of these structures, which can reduce activity in regions downstream from the thalamus - the frontal and motor cortices, which control arousal and motor control, respectively.

The inhibitory effect of the globus pallidus internal and substantia nigra pars reticular is uncontrolled when other basal ganglia structure no longer function properly due to injury or disease.

Ambien helps the thalamocortical circuits return to normal operation by blocking the inhibitory areas. It enhances arousal in patients and improved motor control in those with basal ganglia movement disorders.

Side effects of Zolpidem

1.     Anxiety
2.     Depression
3.     Confusion
4.     Hallucinations
5.     Agitation
6.     Aggression
7.     Memory problems
8.     Suicidal thoughts
9.     Lightheadedness

What Is The Important Information You Should Know About Before Taking Ambien?

Inform your doctor about your medical conditions, including if you have a history of depression or mental illness, kidney or liver disease, breathing difficulties, or any lung disease.  

Speak to your doctor if you have a history of alcohol or substance abuse or addiction or have sleep apnea.

Tell your healthcare practitioner if you become pregnant or planning to become during treatment with Zolpidem. Taking Ambien in the third trimester may cause breathing difficulties and sedation in the mother and the baby. 

Inform you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Ambien passes into your breast milk.

Bottom Line From Practical Anxiety Solutions

Ambien has been observed to treat various neurologic disorders, demonstrating improvements in arousal and motor function, primarily in DOCs and movement disorders.

However, zolpidem's potential to enhance the quality of life and functional outcomes, particularly for individuals with neurological disorders, justifies additional, more extensive, standardized controlled trials.

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  • Khalil, M., Teunissen, C.E., Otto, M. et al. Neurofilaments as biomarkers in neurological disorders. Nat Rev Neurol 14, 577–589 (2018). Obtain on 19/09/2022
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  • Jennifer P. Askew Pharm.D. From  Obtain on 19/09/2022