Ambien vs. Melatonin

Are Ambien and Melatonin the Same Thing?

Ambien (zolpidem) and melatonin are used to treat insomnia.

Melatonin is primarily used to treat depression.

Ambien and melatonin belong to different drug classes. Ambien is a sedative/hypnotic and melatonin is an antidepressant.

Side effects of Ambien and melatonin that are similar include drowsiness, dizziness, tiredness, stuffy nose, dry mouth, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, headache, muscle ache/pain, and visual changes/blurred vision.

Side effects of Ambien that are different from melatonin include weakness, lightheadedness, "drugged" feeling, loss of coordination, nasal irritation, sore throat, stomach upset, confusion, sleep problems (insomnia), euphoria, and balance problems.

Side effects of melatonin that are different from Ambien include vomiting, changes in weight, bad taste in the mouth, or change in sexual interest/ability.

Both Ambien and melatonin may interact with alcohol, antifungal medications, seizure medicines, anxiety medications, and antidepressants.

Ambien may also interact with other medicines that make you sleepy or slow your breathing (such as cold medicines, pain medications, muscle relaxants), chlorpromazine, and rifampin.

Melatonin may also interact with HIV medicines, digoxin, blood thinners, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), MAO inhibitors, St. John's wort, tramadol, diuretics (water pills), medicines to treat mental illness, and migraine headache medicines.

Do not stop using Ambien suddenly after long-term use, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Insomnia symptoms may also return after you stop taking Ambien. These symptoms may seem to be worse than before you started taking Ambien.

What Are Possible Side Effects of Ambien?

Common side effects of Ambien include:

  • Daytime drowsiness,
  • Dizziness,
  • Weakness,
  • Lightheadedness,
  • "Drugged" feeling,
  • Tiredness,
  • Loss of coordination,
  • Stuffy nose,
  • Nasal irritation,
  • Dry mouth,
  • Sore throat,
  • Nausea,
  • Constipation,
  • Diarrhea,
  • Stomach upset,
  • Headache,
  • Muscle pain,
  • Confusion,
  • Insomnia,
  • Euphoria,
  • Ataxia (balance problems), and
  • Visual changes.

Tell your doctor if you have unlikely but serious side effects of Ambien including:

  • memory loss,
  • mental/mood/behavior changes (such as new or worsening depression, abnormal thoughts, thoughts of suicide, hallucinations, confusion, agitation, aggressive behavior, or anxiety).

What Are Possible Side Effects of Melatonin?

Common side effects of Melatonin include:

  • abdominal cramps
  • alertness decreased
  • circadian rhythm disruption
  • daytime fatigue
  • depression (temporary)
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • unease or dissatisfaction (dysphoria) in depressed patients
  • headache
  • irritability


What is insomnia? See Answer

What Is Ambien?

Ambien (zolpidem) is a sedative/hypnotic used for treating insomnia.

What Is Melatonin?

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland, which regulates the sleep cycle.

Melatonin can be used in treatment for Alzheimer's disease, benzodiazepine or nicotine withdrawal, cancer (adjunctive treatment), headache (prevention), insomnia, jet lag, shift-work disorder, sleep disorders, shortage of blood platelets (thrombocytopenia) (chemo-induced), winter depression, and involuntary muscle movements (tardive dyskinesia).

Melatonin is effective in circadian rhythm sleep disorders and helpful for sleep-wake cycle disorders. Research is continuing.

Melatonin is available under the following different brand names: N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine, pineal hormone melatonin.

What Drugs Interact With Ambien?

Ambien may interact with other medicines that make you sleepy or slow your breathing (such as cold medicines, pain medications, muscle relaxants, and medicines for depression, anxiety, or seizures) or antidepressants.

Ambien may also interact with alcohol, chlorpromazine, itraconazole, ketoconazole, or rifampin.

Insomnia symptoms may also return after you stop taking Ambien. These symptoms may seem to be worse than before you started taking Ambien.

What Drugs Interact With Melatonin?

If your doctor has directed you to use this medication, your doctor or pharmacist may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for them. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with your doctor, health care provider or pharmacist first.

Serious Interactions of melatonin include:

Melatonin has moderate interactions with at least 221 different drugs.

Mild interactions of melatonin include:

This information does not contain all possible interactions or adverse effects. Therefore, before using this product, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the products you use. Keep a list of all your medications with you, and share this information with your doctor and pharmacist. Check with your health care professional or doctor for additional medical advice, or if you have health questions, concerns or for more information about this medicine.


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How Should Ambien Be Taken?

The recommended adult dose of Ambien is 10 mg as conventional tablets or spray or 12.5 mg as extended-release tablets.

How Should Melatonin Be Taken?

Dosage of Melatonin:

  • 0.125 mg
  • 0.3 mg
  • 0.5 mg
  • 2 mg controlled release
  • 3 mg
  • 5 mg
  • 10-50 mg

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You may also report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA by visiting the FDA MedWatch website or calling 1-800-FDA-1088.

FDA. Ambien Drug Information.

Medscape. Melatonin.

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