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Stilnox (zolpidem tartrate, sedative-hypnotic)

Written by Stephanie Nera, RPh, PharmD · Pharmacology

Updated Jun 06, 2021

Stilnox is the brand name of the drug zolpidem tartrate. Zolpidem induces sleep and is indicated for insomnia or trouble sleeping.

A special prescription is necessary to purchase zolpidem because it is a regulated drug.



What is Stilnox used for?

Solpidem is commonly used for people who feel difficulty sleeping, called insomnia. It helps patients to initiate and maintain sleep and not recommended for use for more than 4 weeks at a time.

Zolpidem works by binding to certain receptors or sites in the brain which induce sleep.

How should I take Stilnox?

  • Stilnox should only be taken when you are able to get a full night’s sleep (7 to 8 hours) before you need to be active again. It should be taken in one dose and not be re-administered during the same night.
  • Swallow the tablet whole with a full glass of water, unless your doctor has told you to take half a tablet.
  • Generally, Stilnox or any other sleep aids should only be used for short periods (e.g., 2 to 4 weeks). Long-term use is not recommended unless advised by your doctor.
  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure how long to take the medicine.

How do I store Stilnox?

This product is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store it in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of zolpidem that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush this product down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Additionally, it is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Precautions & warnings

What should I know before using Stilnox?

Some people using this medicine have engaged in activity such as driving, eating, walking, making phone calls or having sex and later having no memory of the activity. If this happens to you, stop taking this medication and talk with your doctor about another treatment for your sleep disorder.

Do not take this drug if you are/have:

  • Allergic to any of the active or inactive ingredients of this product
  • Consumed alcohol or taken any medications that contain alcohol
  • Sleep apnea (a condition where you temporarily stop breathing while you sleep)
  • Myasthenia gravis (a condition in which the muscles become weak and tire easily)
  • Severe liver problems
  • Acute and/or severe lung problems

Some symptoms of an allergic reaction include skin rash, itching, shortness of breath or swelling of the face, lips or tongue, which may cause difficulty in swallowing or breathing.

Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using this medication during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. However, if a mother takes zolpidem during late pregnancy or before delivery, the baby may experience side effects of the drug including dependency. Additionally, this drug can pass into breastmilk and affect a nursing baby.

Therefore, always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking this medication. This medication is pregnancy risk category C, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:

  • A=No risk;
  • B=No risk in some studies;
  • C=There may be some risk;
  • D=Positive evidence of risk;
  • X=Contraindicated;
  • N=Unknown.

Side effects

What side effects can occur from Stilnox?

The most common side effects of this medicine:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Worsened insomnia
  • Nightmares
  • Hallucinations
  • Agitation
  • Diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Infections of the nose, throat and chest

Less common adverse effects include:

  • Unexpected changes in behavior. These have included rage reactions, confusion, and others.
  • Dependency
  • Sleep walking, other unusual, and some dangerous behaviors whilst apparently asleep. These have included preparing and eating food, making phone calls or having sexual intercourse. People experiencing these effects have had no memory of the events.
  • Interactions

    What drugs may interact with Stilnox?

    This drug may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.

    Some medicines may interfere with this drug, including:

    • Medicines to treat depression, anxiety and mental illness
    • Medicines to treat epilepsy
    • Pain relievers
    • Muscle relaxants
    • Antihistamines
    • Antibiotics, such as rifampicin or ciprofloxacin
    • Antifungals (e.g. ketoconazole)

    Does food or alcohol interact with Stilnox?

    Stilnox may interact with food by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

    What health conditions may interact with Stilnox?

    Stilnox may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.

    Tell your doctor if you are/have:

    • Problems with your breathing or you often snore while you are asleep
    • Been addicted to alcohol, drug or medicine
    • Been diagnosed with a mental illness
    • Other medical conditions such as:
  • Plan to have surgery
  • Dosage

    The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. Therefore, you should always consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using any medication.

    What is the dose for an adult?

    • Take 1 tablet before bedtime. 
    • For geriatric patients and those with liver impairment, a reduced dose (half a tablet) is recommended.

    What is the dose for a child?

    This drug is not recommended for use in children. Talk to your child’s pediatrician for more information and alternatives.

    How is Stilnox available?

    Stilnox is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

    • Tablet 10mg

    What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

    In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to the nearest emergency room.

    Signs and symptoms of overdose include: drowsiness, loss of consciousness, or coma.

    What should I do if I miss a dose?

    If you forget to take the tablet before you go to bed, and you wake up late in the night or very early in the morning, do not take it if you cannot sleep for at least 8 hours.

    For example, you only have 5 hours before you need to go to work or school. In this situation, do not take Stilnox as it may cause you to oversleep.

    For more information about this medication or other medications you are taking, talk to your doctor.


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Written by

    Stephanie Nera, RPh, PharmD


    Updated Jun 06, 2021

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