Snorting Ambien: Side Effects and Dangers

If you’re having temporary problems with sleep, your doctor might prescribe Ambien (generic name: zolpidem tartrate) to help you get better rest on a short-term basis. Ambien is not considered to be as addictive as other sedatives, like benzodiazepines or barbiturates. However, taking the drug against the manufacturer’s instructions or taking too much of the medication may cause tolerance and dependence.

If you take Ambien for more than two weeks, you may have trouble falling asleep without the drug.

You will also be exposed to some of the dangerous side effects of zolpidem tartrate, such as an irregular heartbeat, breathing problems, dizziness, fainting or weakness. In some users, snorting Ambien can cause a life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis, warns the Mayo Clinic.

What Are the Side Effects of Ambien Insufflation?

Insufflation, or snorting, is a popular way to take illegal drugs or prescription medications recreationally.

Ambien is available in immediate-release or extended-release tablets (Ambien CR), which should be taken by mouth. The manufacturer, Sanofi-Aventis, cautions that Ambien CR should be swallowed whole, not chewed or crushed. Ambien is a fast-acting drug, and when it’s taken for legitimate medical reasons, the medication is usually taken right before bed to prevent daytime drowsiness. Snorting zolpidem accelerates its actions in the body and could cause severe sleepiness, impaired motor function, heart problems and respiratory depression, especially when it’s taken with alcohol.

Snorting Ambien and other drugs can harm the tissues of the nasal cavity. These drugs contain active ingredients and additives that can irritate the delicate mucosal linings of the nose and damage the sinuses. Damage to these areas can cause bleeding, irritation and inflammation. Because these tissues help block germs and debris, damage can also increase your risk of a respiratory infection.

According to the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, snorting drugs creates a risk of transmitting blood-borne diseases like hepatitis C. If you share drug paraphernalia with someone who has a contagious condition, you are in danger of catching the disease if you have open areas in your own nasal linings.

What Are the Negative Consequences of Ambien Abuse?

Ambien is intended to be taken for a short period of time, generally 7 to 10 days, to assist with sleep. When it’s used improperly for longer periods, the medication can have a number of side effects, ranging from uncomfortable to life-threatening. As a central nervous system depressant, Ambien can have a negative impact on the brain and nerves, causing effects such as:

  • Grand mal seizures when taken in large doses
  • Loss of motor coordination
  • Temporary amnesia
  • Excessive sedation
  • Delusional thinking
  • Agitation
  • Nightmares

Some users have reported doing things under the influence of Ambien that they couldn’t remember later, such as driving or sleepwalking. When you snort Ambien, you increase the risk of accidental injury or death while you’re under the influence of the drug.

Signs of an Ambien Overdose

When taken as directed under a doctor’s care, Ambien is generally considered to be a safe sleep aid. But when Ambien is snorted, especially in large doses, the risk of an overdose is much greater. If you notice these signs of an Ambien overdose, seek medical help immediately:

  • Sudden sleepiness
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Slow or erratic breathing
  • Loss of consciousness

How Do You Get Over Ambien Addiction?

Recovering from an addiction to any sedative medication is never easy. If you have undiagnosed anxiety, insomnia or depression that prompts you to abuse zolpidem, these serious conditions will need to be addressed as part of your rehabilitation. If you’re abusing other drugs, like alcohol, prescription pain relievers, marijuana or heroin, you’ll need treatment for multi-drug abuse in order to get your life back in balance.

We can answer your questions about the dangers of Ambien abuse and help you find the help you need to start a healthy new life.

Call our private helpline to talk with one of our counselors about locating a comprehensive addiction treatment program near you.