Ambien/Zolpidem & Addiction Potential

Part
01
of two
Part
01

Ambien Social Media Statements

While no posts about Ambien could be found on Facebook or Instagram, we were able to find a number of posts and comments concerning both the helpfulness and addictive nature of Ambien on both Twitter and Reddit. Tumblr was also reviewed; however, the posts there focus on side-effects of the medication, such as odd behavior and hallucinations.

Posts About Ambien's Addictiveness

  • 1) In a tweet dated October 17, 2019, Twitter user Megan Johnson wrote "lol remember when they said ambien wasn’t addictive". Her tweet links to an article from the New York Times. The article, titled "Drug Agency Calls for Strong Warning Labels on Popular Sleep Aids", discusses the potentially addictive nature of over-the-counter and prescription sleep aids such as Ambien.
  • 2) Posted in early 2019, this Reddit post was written by a doctor struggling with Ambien addiction amongst his or her patients. In the post, the user wrote "I inherited many patients on chronic daily ambien...Most of them have developed tolerance and dependence".
  • 3) In a tweet dated from September 24, 2019, Twitter user Josh wrote "I wish ambien wasn’t incredibly addictive and also horrible for you", suggesting that while he finds the medication helpful as a sleep aid, he is concerned by its addictive properties.
  • 4) Also on Twitter, user Jamie B wrote "Ambien. Should only be used for serious sleep disorders and it's highly addictive. The casual way the doctor talks about ambien is sooooo disturbing". Unfortunately, the Tweet does not appear to be linked to any article or other information, making it unclear which doctor the user is referring to.
  • 5) In 2019, Reddit user u/joe_mcm wrote that he is "totally addicted to ambien. I take about 50mg during the day and 150mg at night to sleep". He wrote that he believes he has become dependent on the drug, noting that it has no impact on him or his ability to function when he takes it.

Posts About Ambien's Manageability

  • 1) This 2019 tweet from Twitter user Joseph indicates that ambien is not "physically addictive", though it could be "habit-forming".
  • 2) Twitter user HeyNurseLady wrote "I miss my ambien but I refuse to be treated like an addict to get it from my current provider. You would think that more ppl in the medical field would understand shift work and be more helpful," suggesting that she finds Ambien helpful and manageable, despite claims that it could be addictive.
  • 3) In 2018, following a statement from actress Roseanne Barr that a racist statement she'd made was the result of taking Ambien, Twitter user Kelly Stanze wrote that "Ambien is responsible for hundreds of thousands of people getting the sleep they need to be healthy, helpful members of society", suggesting that the drug is both helpful and manageable.
  • 4) In response to a post asking "what is the deal with Ambien", Reddit user rewardiflost wrote that "I used ambien for a few years, it was great to sleep. It blocked night terrors, nightmares, and night anxiety for me". While many of the comments on the post discuss side-effects of the medication, such as reduced coordination and strange behavior, rewardiflost indicated that the drug was helpful and manageable for them.
  • 5) In an October 2019 thread about air travel on Twitter, user Alean wrote that "Even with Ambien i only get a couple of hours, but without it, none. I sat just behind first class, with extra leg room, neck pillow is helpful," suggesting that while he still struggles to sleep on planes, Ambien is helpful in that regard.
Part
02
of two
Part
02

Ambien Scholarly Studies

There are dozens of peer-reviewed studies and articles on the addictive nature of Ambien (Zolpidem), though many of them focus on multiple similar drugs; these include articles on addiction in adolescents, as well as studies on the potential for dependence, unsafe use, or abuse of the drug. Additionally, there are a selection of articles related to the general manageability of the drug, including articles / studies that detail proper use and prescribing of the drug, as well as those studying potential side effects.

Ambien’s Addictive Nature

  • The following is a selection of articles related to the addictive nature of Zolpidem (Ambien).

"Misuse of Ambien Among Adolescents: Prevalence and Correlates in a National Sample "

  • This study “examines correlates of Ambien misuse among adolescents,” and includes data from a 2009 national survey, which shows a 1.4% prevalence of lifetime abuse among this demographic. The research identified multiple risk factors for those most likely to misuse or abuse the drug.

"Prescription Sedative Misuse and Abuse "

  • This article outlines the z-drugs (and other similar types of drugs) most often misused and abused, including Ambien.

"Assessment of Patterns of Potentially Unsafe Use of Zolpidem "

  • This study discusses the rampant prescribing of Ambien in 2013 and identifies risk factors for unsafe use. It also outlines prescribing recommendations for reducing the likelihood of adverse effects, and issues with "next-day impairment, abnormal behavioral changes, and dependency."

"An Update on Zolpidem Abuse and Dependence "

  • This study reviews French data from 2003 to 2010 on the misuse, abuse, and dependence potential of Ambien, and determines that, despite efforts to reduce these effects, the drug is still highly associated with problematic drug abuse.

"Pharmacoepidemiological Characterization of Zolpidem and Zoplicone Usage "

  • This study compares the dependence potential of both Zolpidem (Ambien) and Zoplicone. Ambien users were classified into four clinical subtypes (that included "problematic users").

Ambien’s Manageability

  • The following is a selection of articles related to the general use and manageability of Zolpidem (Ambien).

"Pharmaceutical Technologies of the Self, or The Age of Ambien"

  • This thesis examines sleep theories, the sciences of sleep and sleep research, and drug applications of Ambien, and includes a narrative analysis of US Ambien users.

"Zolpidem and Driving Impairment Identifying Persons at Risk "

  • This article outlines the differences in people taking the drug as those demographics relate to the potential that their driving skills will be impaired. It also highlights the need for greater warnings, as many who suffer from next-day impairment have no concept that they are impaired.

" Check That Ambien Dose "

  • This article addresses medication dosage recommendations and errors for Ambien, which mostly include reducing dosages to reduce the effects of next-day impairment.

Additional Ambien-Related Peer-Reviewed Studies/Articles

  • The following is an additional selection of articles on Ambien that may be of interest.

"Zolpidem-Related Surge in Emergency Department Visits "

  • This article outlines the drastic increase in ER visits from 2005 to 2010 related to the use of Ambien (Zolpidem).

"Putting Tuberculosis (TB) to Rest: Transformation of the Sleep Aid, Ambien, and “Anagrams” Generated Potent Antituberculosis Agents "

  • This article outlines how Ambien’s chemical nature was found to have antituberculosis properties and is especially effective against drug-resistant strains of the illness.

"Ambien, Sonata, and Lunesta Get Stronger Warning from FDA "

  • This article outlines how the FDA has identified that Ambien (among other similar drugs) now requires a specific “boxed” warning due to the potential for serious consequences in taking the drug.

Research Strategy

We identified these articles through detailed and focused searches of scholarly / peer-reviewed articles and studies from 2012 through 2019; this is outside Wonder's standard two-year window as noted as acceptable by the client. From those we identified, we selected only those meeting the requirements (addiction or management). We also identified other articles of a similar nature, and provided those to give the most complete response possible.

Sources
Sources