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Ambien, which is generically called zolpidem, is prescribed for insomnia, or sleeplessness. It is recommended that users go to sleep immediately after taking the drug and sleep for seven to eight hours, as side effects as feeling drugged, or memory loss during the period before sleeping can occur. Interestingly, some people abuse Ambien for its reported side effect of enhancing sex.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Clinically Reported Side Effects of Ambien
The most commonly reported side effects of Ambien include headaches, dizziness and drowsiness. Interestingly, sexual side effects are not clinically reported.
If users do not go to bed immediately after taking Ambien, they can suffer memory loss for everything they do before they go to sleep. Some strange and scary side effects of staying awake on Ambien include eating, driving, making phone calls or having sex when not really desired, and then not remembering it. The makers of Ambien suggest these side effects have a greater chance of happening if Ambien is taken with alcohol.
- The most commonly reported side effects of Ambien include headaches, dizziness and drowsiness.
- Some strange and scary side effects of staying awake on Ambien include eating, driving, making phone calls or having sex when not really desired, and then not remembering it.
Anecdotal Reports of Ambien Sexual Enhancement
Golfer Tiger Woods made recreational use of Ambien for its sexual side effects a hot news topic 2. One of his mistresses, Rachel Uchitel, claimed,"You get into that Ambien haze. We have crazy Ambien sex." Many doctors refute this claim, stating Ambien has no sexual side effects. Most likely all anecdotal reports of enhanced sex on Ambien are due to reduced inhibitions after being in the drugged and sleepy state immediately after taking the drug but not going to sleep.
- Golfer Tiger Woods made recreational use of Ambien for its sexual side effects a hot news topic 2.
Mechanism of Increased Sex Drive
Any drug that decreases inhibitions, such as alcohol, cocaine or marijuana, can lead to increased initiation of sex. Ambien also decreases inhibitions, as seen by accounts of people eating tons of food they would normally avoid. Ambien leads to increased sex drive due to the drugged feeling users get right after taking the pill without going to sleep 2. Users may also feel uninhibited by the knowledge that they may not remember the sexual episode in the morning due to Ambien's side effect of memory loss. Ambien may also lead to more outgoing or aggressive behavior , leading to initiation of sex, or longer or more varied sexual encounters.
- Any drug that decreases inhibitions, such as alcohol, cocaine or marijuana, can lead to increased initiation of sex.
- Ambien also decreases inhibitions, as seen by accounts of people eating tons of food they would normally avoid.
Sexual Side Effects of Ambien
Ambien does not have any direct sexual side effects. Ambien is a hypnotic drug, and its primary purpose is to cause sedation and treat insomnia. Ambien does not increase blood flow to the genitals or change levels of testosterone, two things that are known to increase sex drive. Thus, Ambien's effect of increasing sex drive is purely mental.
- Ambien does not have any direct sexual side effects.
- Ambien is a hypnotic drug, and its primary purpose is to cause sedation and treat insomnia.
Those who use Ambien for its sex-enhancing effects may become dependent on it. Ambien abusers may switch from taking the drug orally to snorting it, leading to worse side effects. Ambien abuse can also lead to relationship problems, as not remembering sexual encounters leads to a lack of intimacy.
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- "Year in naughtiness: Ambien sex, going ‘hiking’"
- "Tiger Woods 'took Ambien to spice up sex'. But did he raid the fridge afterwards?"
- Monti JM, Spence DW, Buttoo K, Pandi-perumal SR. Zolpidem's use for insomnia. Asian J Psychiatr. 2017;25:79-90. doi:10.1016/j.ajp.2016.10.006
- Wisden W, Yu X, Franks NP. GABA Receptors and the Pharmacology of Sleep. Handb Exp Pharmacol. 2019;253:279-304. doi:10.1007/164_2017_56
- Wong CK, Marshall NS, Grunstein RR, et al. Spontaneous Adverse Event Reports Associated with Zolpidem in the United States 2003-2012. J Clin Sleep Med. 2017;13(2):223-234. doi:10.5664/jcsm.6452
- Cooper, D.H. et al. The Washington Manual of Medical Therapeutics. 32nd edition, 2007. 14. Lippencott, Williams & Wilkins. New York.
- Katzung, B.G. Basic & Clinical Pharmacology. 9th edition, 2004. 134-140. The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. New York.
- “Ambien.” Epocrates Rx Pro. Version 16.3, 2016. Epocrates, Inc. San Mateo, California.
Dr. Michele Noonan is author of "Train Your Brain To Get Thin," has published in journals including the "Journal of Neuroscience" and appears as a science expert on TV and radio shows. Noonan is a former Caltech scientist with a Ph.D. in neuroscience from University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and a psychology B.A. from Boston College.