Zolpidem, which often goes by the brand name Ambien, is a medication most commonly prescribed to treat insomnia. This drug is known as a sedative/hypnotic and is highly effective at helping individuals fall sleep. It comes in both immediate- and extended-release forms, with immediate-release being used for people who struggle to fall asleep and extended-release used for individuals who cannot stay asleep.
Ambien can quickly become habit-forming, and many doctors will not prescribe this drug for longer than two weeks at a time. People who use this medication on a regular basis or in higher doses may be at risk of developing a dependence and addiction to zolpidem. This can result in withdrawal symptoms when the drug is suddenly stopped.
Vertava Health has several treatment program options that can help a person safely withdraw from Ambien as well as receive treatment to overcome addiction to this drug. If you are addicted to or dependent on zolpidem, seeking help is the best decision you can make.
How Long Does Ambien Stay In The Body?
Ambien begins working quickly after taking it. As a fast-acting drug, this also means that the medication does not stay in the system for very long, either. People usually begin to feel the effects of Ambien within 30 minutes, with peak effects being felt 1.5 to two hours after ingesting the drug.
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Because of its quick onset, Ambien has a relatively short half-life of around three hours. This means that most people have eliminated at least half of the drug by this time. Due to its short half-life, zolpidem is typically only detectable in the urine for 24 to 48 hours after the last dose is taken.
Urine tests are the most common testing method used to detect drugs like Ambien in the system. However, other tests may be used, as well.
The following are the drug tests that can detect Ambien and the lengths of time each can detect this drug in a person’s system:
- Blood — A blood test can typically detect Ambien in the system for up to 20 hours after the last dose.
- Hair — A hair follicle test may be able to detect Ambien for up to five weeks after the last use.
- Saliva — While uncommon, saliva tests can also be used to determine if Ambien is in the system. A saliva test may be able to trace Ambien as soon as 15 minutes after taking the drug and for up to eight hours after taking zolpidem.
These detection times are general estimates and will vary from person to person. Several factors can influence how long Ambien is detectable in an individual’s body.
Factors That Influence How Long Ambien Stays In The System
A number of things can affect the detection time of Ambien in a person’s system. Everyone will metabolize drugs at a different rate, which will ultimately determine how long a substance will stay in the body.
The following factors can influence how long zolpidem can be detected in the system:
- fluid and food consumption
- kidney and liver function and health
- how much Ambien a person has taken
- how frequently a person has used Ambien
People who are younger or have more body fat will typically metabolize Ambien more quickly than individuals who are older or who have a lower body fat percentage. Additionally, individuals who take more of the drug or who take Ambien for a longer period of time will likely have the substance in their system for a longer period of time.
How Does Ambien Work?
Ambien acts as a central nervous system (CNS) depressant by increasing the levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. This chemical is responsible for slowing activity in the brain to allow a person to fall asleep more easily. Individuals suffering from insomnia are often unable to calm the brain and body enough to fall asleep, so taking Ambien can help a person relax and increase feelings of calm.
Common side effects of zolpidem include drowsiness, lightheadedness, and dizziness. Ambien has also been known to cause sleepwalking, and some individuals may even participate in activities such as shopping or driving while in a sleep-like state. For these reasons, it’s important to take Ambien exactly as prescribed and to not take more than what is recommended.
Getting Help For Ambien Abuse And Addiction
Like many other CNS depressants, Ambien can be addictive if abused. If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to Ambien, there are many treatment options to consider to reclaim your life. Vertava Health has several treatment centers, all of which utilize proven treatment methods to help individuals overcome substance use disorders.
To learn more about how long Ambien stays in a person’s system, contact an Vertava Health’ treatment professional today.