What if you accidentally took two 10mg Ambien? (+3 tips)

In this article, we will explore what to do if you accidentally take two 10 mg Ambien, what is the normal recommended dose of Ambien, what are the side effects associated with two 10 mg pills of Ambien and how to ensure safe and effective use of Ambien.

What if you accidentally took two 10mg Ambien?

If you have taken two 10 mg Ambien (zolpidem) pills (a total of 20mg) accidentally, then you need to seek immediate medical attention. You need to reach out to your doctor immediately. Taking an extra dose of Ambien especially if not prescribed by your doctor can be dangerous for you. The normal recommended dose of Ambien is between 5-10mg (1). 

Ambien is the brand name for zolpidem which belongs to the class of sedatives and hypnotics. It is usually prescribed as a sleeping pill for patients suffering from insomnia. Ambien calms the brain, promotes relaxation and induces sleep (2).

If you have taken a higher dose than what was prescribed, you need to immediately inform your doctor to get the best treatment as soon as possible to avoid any complications.

What steps should be taken if you accidentally overdose on Ambien?

In order to ensure safety, you need to follow the following steps:

  • Consult your doctor as soon as possible. Contact emergency services or poison control immediately.  
  • Do not try to induce vomit. It can aggravate the situation. 
  • It is crucial to stay awake and alert.
  • Avoid taking alcohol or any other sedatives after an Ambien overdose.
  • There is no specific antidote for Ambien overdose. Flumazenil can reverse the sedative effects but the exact use of flumazenil is controversial for Ambien overdose.

After you have been taken to a healthcare facility, management of the symptoms is the crucial step in overdose management of Ambien.

  • The vital signs of the patients are closely monitored.
  • In case of recent ingestion, your doctor may proceed through gastric emptying by gastric lavage or activated charcoal to further limit the absorption of Ambien.
  • Hydration is also important. IV fluids help with electrolyte management.
  • Mechanical ventilation might be required if the patient is experiencing respiratory depression.
  • Antiseizure may be administered to deal with seizures if any occur. 
  • Cardiac monitoring and support are also important.

What is the normal recommended dose of Ambien?

The normal recommended dose of Ambien varies depending on various factors. In adults, the usual starting dose for women is 5mg for women and 5-10mg for men taken once daily immediately before bedtime.  However, for elderly or debilitated patients, due to increased sensitivity, the recommended starting dose is 6.25 mg taken once daily immediately before bedtime (3).

If the patient has a hepatic impairment, then the normal dose is 6.25 mg but if the hepatic impairment is severe, then Ambien is not recommended due to the risk of encephalopathy (4).

What are the side effects associated with taking two 10mg Ambien?

Taking 20 mg of Ambien is an overdose and it leads to severe potential side effects. The commonly reported side effects of Ambien are (5):

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Increased appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle weakness
  • Memory problems
  • Hallucinations
  • Allergic reactions

In case of overdose, all these side effects are bound to get severe. These may include (6):

  • Loss of coordination and balance
  • Impaired judgement and decision-making
  • Slowed breathing
  • Loss of consciousness or coma

How to ensure safe and effective use of Ambien?

In order to ensure a safe and effective use of Ambien you need to follow the following directions.

  • Strictly adhere to the prescribed dose and never exceed the daily dose of 10mg.
  • Take Ambien daily once before bedtime. Avoid taking it during the day and inconsistent times.
  • Don’t use Ambien for longer durations than prescribed.
  • Avoid concurrent use of other sedatives and alcohol when taking Ambien.
  • Avoid taking Ambien with a meal as food in the stomach can delay the absorption of Ambien and delay the onset.
  • Pay close attention to how Ambien is affecting you. 
  • Monitor your condition and keep track of all the effects.
  • Open communication with your healthcare provider is essential regarding any concerns about the prescribed treatment.

In my opinion, 20 mg of Ambien is considered an overdose and if you take two 10 mg pills of Ambien accidentally then an immediate medical attention is what you need as soon as possible. This can lead you towards life-threatening side effects includng coma. 

The exact effect of Ambien overdose may vary among individuals due to various factors involved such as genetic predisposition, metabolic rate, age and gender. Incase of any query regarding the use of Ambien or your medical condition you need to consult your healthcare professional.

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