By: Annabelle Clarke
Mar 08, 2021
Zolpidem is a non-benzodiazepine. Even though this class of medications differ from benzodiazepines in their chemical structures, both benzodiazepines and non-benzodiazepines share similarities in the way that they function. These classes of medication act by boosting a chemical in the brain called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA is the chief neurotransmitter of the central nervous system (CNS) and the principal role of this neurotransmitter is to block signals in the CNS, so as to slow down brain activity.
The brain contains various neurotransmitters, which stimulate or inhibit certain reactions in the body. Zolpidem works by enhancing the effects of GABA. The result of this activity is:
- A relaxed mind
- Relief of stress
- Relaxed muscles
- A state of calmness
- Improvement of sleep disturbances
Zolpidem tablets are classified as sedatives as well as hypnotics. The effects they bring about can be useful in treating sleep disorders, such as difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep and frequent disturbances of sleep routines throughout the night too. When sleep issues are improved, the overall health benefits are substantial. This can also have a positive effect on one’s attitude and state of mind.
How Long Does It Take for Zolpidem to Work?
Zolpidem 10 mg takes approximately an hour to work after oral administration, however, this time indication is restricted to the use of the immediate-release formulations of the sedative. It may take longer for the medication to take effect if extended-release tablets are being used. The way in which a medication works in your body, that is, how quickly it works or how effective it is, is also different for each individual.
Factors, such as your body chemistry, metabolism, gender and other medications you may be using, can all affect the functioning of a therapeutic. The onset of action (time it takes for the medicine to come into effect) of zolpidem 10 mg can be as little as 30 minutes and peak plasma concentration levels are about 192 to 324 micrograms per litre, 0.75 to 2.6 hours following the administration of a 20 mg zolpidem dosage.
Taking this sedative after a meal may also affect the time it takes for the therapeutic benefits to be experienced. The reason for administering zolpidem tablets before eating is that in some cases, the active ingredient (zolpidem tartrate) may not be absorbed as effectively when the tablets are ingested with food and hence, the effects may be delayed.
How Long Does Zolpidem Last?
The duration of action of this sedative is about 3 hours. The medication should only be taken when you have sufficient time to sleep but in some cases, the residual effects may last into the next day. This therapeutic does not generally remain in your system longer than 12 hours. However, next-day sedation effects are still a possibility when using these pills and in the event of experiencing these zolpidem side effects, you should not engage in any activity that requires mental cognition.
The sedative and hypnotic effects of these tablets can also be further potentiated if you use medications which have similar mechanisms of actions as zolpidem sleeping tablets, such as benzodiazepines or other non-benzodiazepines.
The half-life of a therapeutic according to pharmacology literature is the time taken for half of the medication to be removed from the body. Zolpidem 10 mg has a relatively short half-life, approximately two to three hours. In healthy adults, the average half-life is about 2.6 hours. Full elimination of the sleeping tablets, that is a complete removal of the therapeutic from the body, can take anywhere between 11 to 16.5 hours. The average person will have full elimination of the medicine from the body 14 hours after administration.
Do You Get REM Sleep with Zolpidem?
The sleep cycle is made up of non-REM and REM (rapid eye movement) phases of sleep, which alternate to complete the cycle. REM sleep is characterised by rapid and random eye movements, but there are no visual messages sent to the brain during this phase. Dreams generally begin during this stage.
For the average person, REM sleep normally occurs 90 minutes after they have fallen asleep. The initial period of this stage of the sleep cycle lasts for 10 minutes and these periods lengthen as you have consecutive cycles of REM sleep.
REM sleep is essential for the body as it is the sleep cycle during which there is a stimulation of the areas of the brain responsible for creating memories and learning. Zolpidem 10 mg can improve the 3/4 stages of sleep (REM sleep).
Sleep disorders, such as insomnia, deprive people of restorative sleep. Zolpidem should be administered an hour prior to retiring to bed as the effects can be felt quite quickly. Caffeine can act as a stimulant and interfere with the sedative or hypnotic properties of the medication. You should also avoid caffeine by late midday so that the therapeutic effects of the hypnotic are not affected.
Does Zolpidem Expire?
The expiry dates of medications are typically indicated on the packaging, but this information can also be found on the bottle, dispenser or blister pack as well. The expiry date as per the NHS often refers to the month and year after which the medicine should no longer be used. It is often printed after the words “EXP”.
Zolpidem sleeping pills generally have a shelf life of about six months and there are studies that indicate that certain medications can be used for at least six to twelve months after their expiration dates.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has indicated that for prescription and over-the-counter medicines to be effective, the expiration date is a critical part of deciding if a product will work as intended and if it is deemed safe as well.
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Read More Useful Information About Zolpidem Here:
- What is Zolpidem?
- Zolpidem Dosage Information
- Possible Zolpidem Side Effects
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