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Understanding Insomnia Medications (cont.)

What prescription sleeping pills are available to treat insomnia?

Sleeping pills (sedative-hypnotic drugs) do not cure insomnia, but they may relieve symptoms. Short-term use (2-3 weeks) of sleeping pills may be warranted for chronic insomnia while other treatments or behavioral therapies are being started.

The choice of sedative-hypnotic depends on the type of sleep problem. If an individual has trouble falling asleep, a quick-acting but short-lasting drug such as zolpidem (Ambien) may be prescribed. Zolpidem tartrate (Intermezzo), a lower dose formulation of Ambien, can be used to treat insomnia characterized by middle-of-the-night waking followed by difficulty returning to sleep. In general, these types of drugs are useful because they may be taken after several hours of trying to fall asleep, yet the effects do not last long enough to cause difficulty waking in the morning.

Drugs that have longer-lasting actions are more useful for individuals who wake up after initially falling asleep. For example

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/26/2016

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The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Insomnia Medications (Names and Side Effects):

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