Can you take Ambien for nerve pain? (+3 treatment options)

In this article, we will explore whether you can take Ambien for nerve pain or not, what the research suggests, what are the potential effects of taking Ambien for nerve pain and what are the FDA-approved treatment options for nerve pain.

Can you take Ambien for nerve pain?

No, Ambien (zolpidem) cannot be taken for nerve pain. It does not treat pain associated with neurological conditions. Ambien can induce drowsiness and cause a temporary send of relaxation but it is not effective for the treatment of nerve pain. Nerve pains are typically caused due to nerve dysfunction or damage to the nerves. 

Ambien is the brand name of zolpidem, a drug that belongs to the class of sedative-hypnotic and works by affecting certain chemicals in the brain that help with sleep initiation. Ambien is usually prescribed for the treatment of insomnia in patients (1). 

If you are suffering from nerve pain, then instead of self-medication it is highly recommended to consult your healthcare provider. They can analyze your condition and prescribe you a treatment plan that best suits your needs and requirements. 

What does research suggest?

According to a study in 2017, researchers have observed the effectiveness of zolpidem for the treatment of neurological disorders. However, zolpidem was only found to be effective for the treatment of movement-related disorders or disorders of consciousness (2). 

In 2020, researchers summarized the use of zolpidem for a reduction in the intensity of post-operative pain. However, it was not associated with nerve damage (3). 

No research studies have found the effectiveness of zolpidem, a sedative-hypnotic medication for nerve pain. Zolpidem is not involved in any of the pathways or mechanisms that are responsible for the perception of pain due to nerve damage.

What are the potential effects of taking Ambien for nerve pain?

Ambien is not a recommended treatment for nerve pain. If you take Ambien for nerve pain, then there is an increased risk of addiction and dependence.

Ambien (zolpidem) is a sedative-hypnotic medication that has a high risk of dependence and addiction especially if taken for a longer period of time. Taking Ambien for an inappropriate condition such as nerve pain can make the patient more susceptible to dependency on the medication (4). 

Like all the other medications, Ambein also has a significant list of side effects. If you take Ambien for nerve pain then instead of treating the condition, Ambien can increase your risk of experiencing side effects such as (5):

  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Memory problem
  • Impaired coordination and balance
  • Anxiety
  • Nightmares
  • Blood pressure issues
  • Allergic reactions although rare

What are FDA-approved treatments for nerve pain?

If you experience any nerve pain then consulting your healthcare provider is crucial instead of self-medication. They may prescribe you a suitable treatment. There are several FDA-approved treatments available for nerve pain (6). 

Over-the-counter pain relievers

Here are a few over-the-counter pain relievers that can be used to relieve nerve pain. 

  • NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are available as over-the-counter pain relievers. These are analgesics that can help with nerve pain. These include Ibuprofen and naproxen.


  • Acetaminophen is another over-the-counter treatment option that can be helpful to treat mild to moderate nerve pain.

Prescription medications

Here are some prescription medications that can be helpful for nerve pain.

  • Some anticonvulsants such as gabapentin and pregabalin are helpful in modulating nerve pain due to their ability to modulate nerve signals.


  • Tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline and nortriptyline can be helpful even if you don’t have depression. They reduce the pain and affect the pain pathways in the brain. 


  • Powerful analgesics like oxycodone and morphine are typically used for nerve pain treatment. They are typically reserved for severe and refractory pains due to their potential for addiction. 

Topical pain relievers

Some topical pain relievers for nerve pain are:

  • Capsaicin is derived from chilli peppers. It provides localized pain relief by temporarily desensitizing the nerves.


  • Lidocaine patches are also available as localized pain treatment due to their anaesthetic effects.

In my opinion, taking Ambien for berve pain is not the right choice. Ambien contains zolpidem that is a sedative-hypnotic medication used fro insomnia. Nerve pain is not ans indication fro use of Ambien. 

A number of treatment options are available fro the pain relieving in case of nerve pain. Other than the medications listed above, some other FDA approved treatment strategies are also available. These may include spinal cord stimulation by a device implanted near the spinal cord, injections of corticosteroids as nerve blocks and physical therapies to help manage pain.

If you are suffering from nerve pain then consulting your healthcare provider is the best possible solution. They can analyze your condition and suggest or prescribe you a treatment plan tailored to your needs. 


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Bouchette, D. (2022, October 1). Zolpidem. StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf.


Bomalaski MN, Claflin ES, Townsend W, Peterson MD. Zolpidem for the Treatment of Neurologic Disorders: A Systematic Review. JAMA Neurol. 2017 Sep 1;74(9):1130-1139. doi: 10.1001/jamaneurol.2017.1133. Erratum in: JAMA Neurol. 2017 Sep 1;74(9):1144. PMID: 28655027.


O’Hagan, E., Hübscher, M., Miller, C. B., Gordon, C. J., Gustin, S. M., Briggs, N., & McAuley, J. H. (2020, September 3). Zolpidem reduces pain intensity postoperatively: a systematic review and meta-analysis of the effect of hypnotic medicines on post-operative pain intensity. Systematic Reviews.


Heydari, M., & Isfeedvajani, M. S. (2013). Zolpidem dependence, abuse and withdrawal: A case report. Journal of research in medical sciences : the official journal of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, 18(11), 1006–1007.


Inagaki, T., Miyaoka, T., Tsuji, S., Inami, Y., Nishida, A., & Horiguchi, J. (2010). Adverse reactions to zolpidem: case reports and a review of the literature. Primary care companion to the Journal of clinical psychiatry, 12(6), PCC.09r00849.


Drugs that relieve nerve pain. (2020, August 29). Harvard Health.