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difference between ambien CR and ambien

What is the difference between Ambien CR and Ambien?

Ambien is a hypnotic drug that is used for people who are suffering from sleep disorders. It has a great reputation for curing insomnia in many people. Containing the active ingredient zolpidem it cures sleep problems by manipulating the brain’s chemicals in a good way. People who have trouble falling asleep at night will have their brain chemicals in a disturbed state and not in the levels they are supposed to be. So, the ingredient in this pill balances the chemicals associated with the sleep centers of the brain and as a result promotes sound sleep throughout the night.

Ambien CR vs Ambien

Now that we have learned how Ambien works, this pill comes in two different formulations which are Ambien and Ambien controlled release (CR). The former is the original version whereas the latter controlled release Ambien is the modified extended release version. The normal tablet works by making people fall asleep faster. The extended release version, however, has two mechanisms of action. Not only does it make people fall asleep faster but it also helps them in maintaining undisturbed sleep throughout the night. This is because the CR version is basically made of two layers. The first layer dissolved quickly which is what helps the person to sleep quickly and the second layer dissolves slowly over the night which provides continuous protection from sleep disorders.

Is Ambien CR more expensive?

Yes, given the advanced mechanism of this version it is more expensive than the normal one. The price variation of CR can range from 2 to 4 times the normal one. But people will not hesitate to purchase this version because of the great results it produces. Of late, the normal version of this pill is mostly available only as a generic formulation due to the expiration of the patent of the trademark company. The generic formulations are sold under different brand names but have the same active ingredient which is zolpidem. The extended-release version is known to stay in the blood for more than 3 hours upon administration. So, many doctors also tend to prescribe this version because it has a longer duration of action.

Do both the versions come in same dosage strengths?

The original formulation comes in the dosage strengths of 5 mg and 10 mg whereas the CR version comes in the dosage strengths of 6.25 mg and 12.5 mg. The dose is usually started with a lower quantity and then increased to the higher one based on a patient’s condition. Both the versions must be taken right before going to bed. Make sure to have a dedicated sleeping time of at least 7-8 hours while using the medicine. Using higher dosage strength can sometimes lead to impairment of activities the following morning hence avoid activities like driving that require complete focus.

Does one result in more side effects than the other?

No, both these versions display similar side effects that occur with all the medicines of the benzodiazepine class, which are drowsiness, impaired thinking, headache, dizziness and temporary forgetfulness. Addiction is the main threat contained in this medicine. So it should only be used for a period that is specified by a physician and not longer than that. Being addicted to this pill might cause withdrawal symptoms when the medicine is stopped. Hence take all the measures and make sure to not increase the dosage of the medicine or take it for a longer period. Any other medicines that you might be taking to treat insomnia must also be approved by your health care professional so as to avoid drug contraindications.

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