Ambien, whose generic equivalent is zolpidem, is used to treat insomnia. The drug was introduced into the United States in 1993. The sleep aid is usually prescribed for short-term use, about one to two weeks. If you take Ambien longer than two weeks, you may become addicted to it. Because Ambien is a very strong drug and produces withdrawal symptoms, you should not stop taking it without assistance from your doctor, regardless of the length of time you take Ambien.
Talk to your doctor when you are ready to stop taking Ambien. Your doctor most likely will recommend that you gradually lower your dose to reduce or prevent severe withdrawal symptoms.
Report any withdrawal symptoms to your doctor immediately. Some of these may include stomach cramps, shakiness, nausea, nervousness and vomiting. The severity of the withdrawal symptoms is directly related to how long you have taken Ambien and at what dosage. Although some withdrawal symptoms are normal, it is still best to keep your doctor updated so he or she can keep track of the severity and duration of the symptoms.
Prepare for one or two nights of difficulty sleeping after you safely stop taking Ambien. This is normal, but if it continues, consult your doctor.
Change your sleep habits. This can help you sleep better after you stop taking Ambien. Some things that can help are to avoid nicotine, alcohol and caffeine close to bedtime. Get regular exercise. Keep your bedroom dark and comfortable. Develop a pattern: Go to bed and rise at the same times every day. Take a warm bath or shower before bed.