Author: John Carter

Mixing Zolpidem and Alcohol Effects

ambien and alcohol

Ambien has a rapid onset of action (within 30 minutes) and has a short half-life of about 2.5 hours in adults.This period is about the same for Ambien CR (controlled release). The half-life for Ambien CR is 1.6–4 hours, so it would be cleared in 8–20 hours. Ask your doctor and pharmacist if you are unsure of when you can drink alcohol after taking Ambien. Becoming simultaneously addicted to and using two or more substances is known as polysubstance abuse. Tragically, the polysubstance abuse of Zolpidem and alcohol could prove life-threatening. People with substance use disorders also generate high drug tolerances very quickly, which leads to an increased likelihood of dependence on Ambien as well as another withdrawal to manage.

After detox, you may need rehab, with individual, group, and family counseling support groups, and medication. You can work with doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals who are addiction specialists and will help return you to your best overall health. You should avoid the use of alcohol while being treated with zolpidem. Alcohol can increase the nervous system side effects of zolpidem such as dizziness, drowsiness, and difficulty concentrating. For faster sleep onset, zolpidem should not be taken with or immediately after a meal.

  1. Alcohol and Ambien overdose are much more likely to cause respiratory suppression and death when the drugs are taken together than when either drug is taken alone.
  2. When you recommend or prescribe a medication that can interact with alcohol, this scenario presents a natural opening to review or inquire about a patient’s alcohol intake.
  3. This prescription drug is a Schedule IV controlled substance by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), meaning it has a low potential for abuse.
  4. The zolpidem and alcohol enhance the effects of one another, so that the Ambien tablets work faster so that the alcohol impairment is more profound.

However, your health status, age, gender and how much alcohol you have consumed can dramatically affect this number. Ambien is preferred for sleep over benzodiazepines because there is less potential for addiction and abuse; but some potential still exists. Ambien still has potentially harmful side effects and withdrawal symptoms, and these can be greatly worsened by mixing it with alcohol. Zolpidem is a sedative and a hypnotic substance that is used to treat insomnia and difficulty sleeping. It goes to work immediately after ingestion, relaxing the muscles and nerves in the body to induce sleep.

Mixing Ambien and alcohol increases the risk of several health consequences. More resources for a variety of healthcare professionals can be found in the Additional Links for Patient Care. When you’re ready to be free from drug dependency, The Recovery Village can help. Our addiction specialists will work one-on-one with you to understand your current situation and get you the treatment you deserve.

Finding Treatment for Ambien and Alcohol Abuse

Mixing Ambien and alcohol also increases the risk of side effects and withdrawal symptoms. Fortunately, educating patients about the risks of combining medications with alcohol may help them avoid negative outcomes. Here, we describe briefly how alcohol and medications can interact, and we provide a few examples of common medications that could interact negatively with alcohol. We provide links to resources to help you mitigate these risks, including a consensus-developed list of potentially serious alcohol-medication interactions in older adults. Both alcohol and zolpidem are substances that slow the systems within the body.

ambien and alcohol

Zolpidem addicts and alcoholics aren’t the only people who mix the two drugs. Many people do so, thinking that the effects of mixing zolpidem (also know as Ambien) and alcohol are don’t exist or are too minimal to matter. On the contrary, the effects of mixing the prescription drug and alcohol can be quite severe if they aren’t taken seriously. However, before you can understand the effects of mixing the substances, you must learn a thing or two about the way these drugs interact.

After about five half-lives, the drug is completely cleared from the body. In addition to Zolpidem’s addiction-triggering potential, people with other addictions tend to experience sleeplessness during withdrawal. In looking to remedy their lack of sleep with a medication like Zolpidem, they can become dependent on the secondary drug. Combining the two drugs can leave you disoriented and confused, and it is very easy to unintentionally take more Ambien or drink more alcohol when you’re in this state. Along with irreparable damage to your liver, cognitive state and respiratory system, continued usage of Ambien and alcohol increases your chances of fatal overdose. Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

If you or a loved one has an addiction to Ambien and alcohol, you have different options to treat the condition and recover. Contributors to this article for the NIAAA Core Resource on Alcohol include the writer for the full article, content contributors to subsections, reviewers, and editorial staff. These contributors included both experts external to NIAAA as well as NIAAA staff.

Renewal Center for Ongoing Recovery

However, continued usage of Ambien decreases your ability to do ordinary tasks, like driving, and can lead to psychological and physical harm and fatal overdose. Combining two addictive substances like Ambien and alcohol is asking for trouble. Over time, you could end up with a chemical dependence on this deadly cocktail of depressants. If you or a loved one cannot stop using Ambien and alcohol, it’s time to seek professional help. Over-the-counter (OTC) sleep aids that contain doxylamine or diphenhydramine are popular treatment options for insomnia, but they cannot be mixed with alcohol either.

ambien and alcohol

As you build a tolerance to sleeping pills, you may turn to alcohol to amplify the sedative effects of the drug. This is extremely dangerous since both Ambien and alcohol depress your central nervous system, slowing your heart rate and damaging your respiratory system. Mixing Ambien and alcohol causes severe physical and cognitive impairment, can harm your liver permanently and increases your risk of ambien overdose exponentially. In closing, combining alcohol with certain medications, particularly those with sedative effects, can increase the risk of adverse events, including falls, driving accidents, and fatal overdoses. The more alcohol a patient consumes, the greater the risk for alcohol and medication interactions. Universal screening, careful prescribing choices, and patient education can help minimize the risks of combining alcohol with certain medications.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, seeking professional help is essential. Individuals can learn how to manage their addiction and live healthy lives with the right treatment plan. Healthcare professionals will recommend not taking Ambien with alcohol.

What Happens When Mixing Ambien and Alcohol?

Again, medical professionals emphasize that mixing Ambien or other Zolpidem-based medications with alcohol is never safe and always risks an overdose. If you’ve been prescribed Ambien and you drink frequently, discontinue your use of Ambien or other Zolpidem-based sleep aids immediately and contact your doctor about any negative side effects. If you have any questions about Ambien (and sleep issues), its adverse reactions, and combining Ambien and alcohol, ask your healthcare provider for professional medical advice. The psychiatric effects of zolpidem and alcohol are the most prominent. There are so many reports of people taking Ambien and falling to sleep, only to rise and perform dangerous activities like driving while still asleep. This effect occurs when the user drank alcohol and took the zolpidem pill.

Data sources include Micromedex (updated 3 Mar 2024), Cerner Multum™ (updated 4 Mar 2024), ASHP (updated 12 Feb 2024) and others. The prescription drug has central nervous system (CNS)-depressant effects, and mixing it with alcohol can increase the risk of severe health problems. Like with other Ambien side effects, combining Ambien with alcohol is known to increase the risk of parasomnias like sleep driving. The prescribing doctor or pharmacist may warn you of the dangers of mixing these substances if you start taking Ambien. When you recommend or prescribe a medication that can interact with alcohol, this scenario presents a natural opening to review or inquire about a patient’s alcohol intake. The potential for a harmful interaction may provide a compelling reason for patients to cut down or quit drinking when warranted (see Core articles on screening and brief intervention).

Tell your healthcare provider if you have a history of addiction or abuse so that they can more closely monitor you. Additionally, older or debilitated individuals who take Ambien face a higher risk of serious alcohol-medication interaction. When you age, the body cannot metabolize alcohol or Ambien as effectively. This effect means both substances remain in the body longer, and alcohol and Ambien continue interacting. It would be safest to wait at least 24 hours after your last drink before taking Ambien. The half-life is how long it takes the body to metabolize half of the drug.