Does Ambien provide pain relief? (+5 alternatives)

In this article, we will discuss whether Ambien can provide pain relief or not, what the research suggests about it and what are the alternative treatment options for pain relief.

Does Ambien provide pain relief?

Yes, according to the latest research, Ambien (zolpidem) can be a pain-relieving medication. Some latest research has determined the use of zolpidem as a treatment for postoperative pain. Using Ambien for pain relief is not a standard medical practice. However, the sedative effect of Ambien can help in reducing the perception of pain but it is not due to pain relief. 

Ambien is the brand name of zolpidem, a sedative-hypnotic medication that helps with sleep. It is never prescribed solely for pain but is only prescribed to individuals for insomnia (1). It is usually recommended for short-term use due to the potential for dependence.

If you are suffering from any type of pain, you need to contact your healthcare provider so that they can help you determine the cause of your pain and prescribe you an effective treatment accordingly. 

What does research suggest?

Research was conducted in 2020 to determine the use of zolpidem as an agent for relieving post-operative pain. 15 trials were conducted and the study concluded positive results. However, it is important to note that in the study, zolpidem was used as an adjuvant treatment with other pain relievers and not as the sole medication that provided pain relief (2).

Another study conducted in 2022, determined the efficacy of zolpidem as a pain reliever in patients that have undergone surgery. The study concluded the positive results of zolpidem in inducing analgesia at 24 postoperative hours without any adverse events. The study compared the effects of zolpidem with melatonin but both the drugs were equally effective (3).

There is no significant evidence for the consistent effect of benzodiazepine and melatonin in post-operative pain relief.

What are the potential effects of using Ambien for pain relief?

If you take Ambien for pain relief, it might prove helpful to you but due to the limitation of data in this aspect, nothing can be certain. The research studies have only indicated the use of Ambien for post-operative pains. Ambien’s role in other types of pain is still not confirmed.

If you take Ambien for pain relief without proper advice from a healthcare provider, there is a higher certainty of adverse effects as compared to the therapeutic effects. You may experience:

  • Ineffectiveness in treating pain
  • Ambien might inhibit the perception of pain without treating the cause of it.
  • Inadequate use of Ambien might cause tolerance and dependence on the drug.
  • Adverse reactions such as dizziness, headache, gastrointestinal disturbances, blood pressure issues etc.
  • Interaction of Ambien with concurrent medications, underlying medical conditions or food causing complications. 


What are the FDA-approved pain relievers if Ambien does not work?

Ambien is not an FDA-approved pain reliever. If you have any concerns regarding pain that you might be experiencing then you need to consult your doctor. They might prescribe one of the following FDA-approved pain relievers (4). 

Medication Class Description
Acetaminophen Antipyretic-analgesic OTC and prescription strength available
Ibuprofen NSAID OTC and prescription strength available
Naproxen NSAID OTC and prescription strength available
Aspirin NSAID OTC and prescription strength available
Diclofenac NSAID Available in various formulations
Celecoxib NSAID Prescription medication
Tramadol Opioid-like analgesic Prescription medication
Hydrocodone-acetaminophen Opioid combination analgesic Prescription medication 
Oxycodone-acetaminophen Opioid combination analgesic Prescription medication

Some other medications such as antidepressants can also help with pain as off-label treatment options. 

In my opinion, Ambien is not conventionally a pain-relieving medication. However, some recent research has shown the potential of Ambien as a pain reliever. As the research has only just been done, there is a limitation of data. For this reason, it is safe to not use Ambien for pain relief. It is prescribed for its sedative-hypnotic effect only.

If you have any concerns and queries regarding the use of Ambien or if you are experiencing any type of pain, then you need to consult your healthcare provider. They can satisfy all your queries and provide you with a safe and effective treatment with an FDA-approved medication as patient safety is their priority.

There is still a lot of research that can be done in this area as a new potential for the use of zolpidem has been determined. Until the use of Ambien for pain relief is not clearly understood and approved, it is better to take Ambien for its FDA-approved use only i.e., insomnia.

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


O’Hagan, E. T., Hübscher, M., Miller, C. B., Gordon, C. J., Gustin, S., Briggs, N., & McAuley, J. H. (2020). Zolpidem reduces pain intensity postoperatively: a systematic review and meta-analysis of the effect of hypnotic medicines on post-operative pain intensity. Systematic reviews, 9(1), 206.


Modir, H., Moshiri, E., Mohammadi, A., & Aghdasi, S. V. (2022). The Pain Control Efficacy of Zolpidem versus Melatonin after Intervertebral Disc Herniation Surgery under General Anaesthesia: A Randomised Clinical Trial. Journal of the West African College of Surgeons, 12(2), 58–62.


Milani, D. A. Q. (2023, July 3). Pain Management Medications. StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf.