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short term memory loss from long term Ambien use?
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short term memory loss from long term Ambien use?

My husband and I are in some trouble.  He is a physician, (53 years old)  and was just given 2 weeks "medical leave" because people were noticing he was forgetting things.  His short term memory is impaired.  We have already seen the neurologist, then we see the psychiatrist Tuesday.  He has been taking 10 mg of Ambien nightly for maybe 8 YEARS, has been down to taking 5 mg for about a year.  He has been taken off the Ambien, but what are the long term effects?  I find alot of info on short term effects, but could his memory issues be due to AMBIEN?
Please help.  
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685562_tn?1236818480
WOW, Im really surprised that your Husband does not know the direct effects of Ambien
I say direct  effects, because the term "side effects" is a bunch of nonsence that was made up to make people less afraid to take a medicine.

Ambein is like a "cousin" to the Benzodiazapine group, that effects to the CNS, Cognitive functioning, and behavior are close to eachother. Its called a "Zdrug"

Ambein is addictive just like Benzos, and if your Husbands been on it for 8 years, then tapered down to 5mgs, now just quit, he is probably going through some sort of withdraw.

Did his memory loss come after he was taken off of it? or did it start happening while he was still taking it?
How long has his memory been going for? Has it been gradually decreasing or did it just "go"?
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Avatar_f_tn
He's only been off for 2 days.  We think the memory loss goes back years, but didn't become an 'issue' until we did a lifestyle change (moving to a new area).  He has developed anxiety which we think is secondary to the short-term memory loss.  We think the memory loss has increased, but it's kind of mixed up with the anxiety.  We HOPE the memory loss is directly related to the Ambien, and being off of it will he return to 'normal'?  We can deal with the anxiety, but not the memory loss.  
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685562_tn?1236818480
You say "we can deal with it" and Im happy to hear that your there for him.
But, when it comes down to it.....can he deal with it?
Its hard sometimes, depending on the severity of the anxiety,

The memory loss could be caused by the anxiety as well, but Im sure the Ambein has a "role" in it mainly.
It can take a long time for a persons "mind" to return to normal, and heal, sense it is the most complex organ in the body, it can effect everything in you body "as Im sure you know"
The memory loss should return in time, but with the anxiety state that your husband is in, it might take a little longer then "normal"
What else does your husband go through. I assume trouble sleeping, but does he ever tremble, have a weird feeling of being detatched or in a "dream state", stomach or muscle pain, headaches, drymouth, etc?
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585414_tn?1288944902
If he took it every day then he will definitely get some withdrawal symptoms. Ambien is generally not meant for every day long term use as a sleep aide. It can be addictive. Rozerem is a much safer option which is non addictive and works exactly like melatonin to adjust the sleep cycle. You can't determine long term side effects from a medication after two days. The body takes a while to adjust. They are always rebound symptoms as well. I think the best way to find out the side effect potential of Ambien is to go to the medication website. Every side effect that occured, even if just in one person must be reported to the FDA and listed there. Don't assume he has long term side effects listed under "rare or infrequent" but do ask the neurologist if they are listed and he is experiencing them. And you could ask about Rozerem if he still has insomnia.
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Avatar_n_tn
HI Im not sure how I came to find this site today. Your post is directly related in some case to my own. I was taking ambien last year and did a number of things in my sleep which I dont care to mention, and not remmeber the next day. In short, I tapered myself off ambien, and experience a daily dose of confusion, and memory loss. Its so embarrassing. My fiance constantly looks at me like I am crazy, for not being able to recall something from the day before, and etc. I really hope someone does something to remove this drug from our shelfs. I was fine before this. I am always scared of doing someting that I may not recover from. I forget very important tasks lately, and its causing a strain on my relationship. Good luck to you.

Lost in OK.  
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Avatar_n_tn
I took ambien for about 5 days a week for 6 months. I have been off it for over 2 months and I still have short-term memory loss. It's not terrible but it affects my daily life and has become a problem with school. After taking the drug I forgot entire conversations with people and said and did things that were not like me.. for ex. give my number out to my boyfriends friends. I am really hoping that eventually my short term memory will go back to what it used to be. Going on my experience and from what I have read online if your husband was on it for 8 years he may have this problem for a few months. Hopefully since he it is off it now he will see improvements.
-Jackie
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Avatar_m_tn
well it sounds like everyone has said pretty much everything that needs to be said. i knew ambien was not intended to be used on a regular basis...but i had no idea so many people have short term memory loss from it....and just in this forum alone. that's a scary thought when you look at how many scripts are written for it and how many people actually do take it every night.

i hope your husband gets better...but just out of curiosity, didn't he know the risks since he is a physician? i guess it doesn't matter whether he did or not, though. i know the risks of all the meds i take...but i take them anyway, so i can't assume doctors are much different.
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Avatar_n_tn
I'm coming to this thread pretty late, but figured I'd describe my experience here, as it sounds like it's similar to others', so might be helpful in helping other people sort out what's going on with their own memory loss issues.

I've been on Ambien for about 8-9 months now, and have been having some significant memory issues: Longer-term, not just the "I took Ambien and didn't remember what I did last night." I've had one incident of that sort, but what's had me more concerned is that I've had trouble remembering things that took place further in the past, anywhere from weeks to years; going back well before I ever had Ambien.

The thing is, it's not clear to me whether it's Ambien that's causing the memory issues, or a chronic lack of sleep, prolonged high stress, or all three. I know from a prior experience that high stress can wipe out my memory, and I've also read a lot about chronic short sleep causing significant memory problems as well. I've been under a lot of  job-related stress this year as a result of the economic downturn, and have also been averaging perhaps 6 hours of sleep/night. Either of these factors could explain memory problems, and I have a friend with similar issues (he said he's averaging maybe 5 - 5 1/2 hours/night of sleep), and he doesn't take Ambien.

Ambien is the one drug I've found that lets me get to sleep when I'm stressed (believe me, I've tried about everything out there), so I don't know how I'd be able to give it up.

The obvious solution to sort this out is for me to make a concerted effort to get more sleep, and also try to reduce the job-related stress. I'm working on both fronts, but haven't made enough progress on either to be able to draw any conclusions yet.

I don't mean to be an apologist for Ambien, as I do have strong misgivings about it. That said, though, I think it could well be the case that some of the very stress factors that lead people to take Ambien could in and of themselves account for some level of memory loss.
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Avatar_m_tn
I have been experiencing severe memory loss and I am uncertain if it is the ambien causing it.  Aftre reading these replies I'm pretty comfortable for assuming it is the cause (though I'm not a DR).  I having memory loss even if I am not taking at that moment but I have taken the day before.  Anywhere from a phone call I had made, mowing the lawn or even hosting my 7yr olds birthday party (50people) and I only have a small recollection the next day.  I see pictures I'm posing for and I look perfectly fine.  I never thought it could be the ambien because again, I was not taking it the moment I was performing these actions.  

  Very scary and deppressing..so I would suggest to anyone having these issues to consult with your doctor if having similar issues as I'm going to do the same.
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Avatar_m_tn
I have been experiencing severe memory loss and I am uncertain if it is the ambien causing it.  Aftre reading these replies I'm pretty comfortable for assuming it is the cause (though I'm not a DR).  I having memory loss even if I am not taking at that moment but I have taken the day before.  Anywhere from a phone call I had made, mowing the lawn or even hosting my 7yr olds birthday party (50people) and I only have a small recollection the next day.  I see pictures I'm posing for and I look perfectly fine.  I never thought it could be the ambien because again, I was not taking it the moment I was performing these actions.  

  Very scary and deppressing..so I would suggest to anyone having these issues to consult with your doctor if having similar issues as I'm going to do the same.
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Avatar_m_tn
I have been taking Ambien as well as I work the graveyard shift and have found it works very well for me BUT I have some short term memory problems that are a bit different.  I forget people's names at times (including my co-workers sometimes!), forget how to do certain tasks for a moment or two and have trouble sometimes putting my ideas into cohesive explanations, especially under stressful conditions.  Like if my boss is in a bad mood, he wants answers NOW, and I draw a complete blank and need at least a minute or so to formulate my thoughts into a sentence.  I suppose some of this is obvious stress but it appears to be much worse lately, even when I have a great night's sleep.  I honestly believe it is the Ambien because it was never like this before I started on this medication.
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Avatar_n_tn
I came to this blog after browsing the Internet for Ambien memory loss. I have experienced all: forgetting names, conversations, etc, and it is getting worse. I actually have been trying to reduce the dose, so I never take a full ambien pill. I cut it in pieces, so at night I get a third of a 10 mg pill, then I get awake 2 or 3 hours later and then take another small piece. Either way I am having trouble not only with the memory loss but also getting my thoughts together. Any recommendation on how to get ride of it without going to another sleeping pill?
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Avatar_n_tn
I was on ambien CR, 10mg 7 days a week. While ambien had that "I just took it, now I'm talking to my wall about the meaning of life" effect, or the "I just drove to a girl's house, had sex with her and I don't remember" effect, or even the "Oh my gosh I sent a picture of my penis via text message to my friend last night?" effect, I am still having issues with short term memory loss. Now that I am in college, it is really starting to put a strain on me, where as before I just was waiting for my brain to return to 'normal' memory function. I have been off of ambien for quite some time now, I think 10 months now, and I STILL have issues with short term memory. Please, class action lawsuit. The Dr. told me this was non addictive, which is why I went on it instead of the zanax he thought about giving me (I said no because kids did that crap in my school for fun). Another instance in college now, I will leave my dorm ready to go to class, and be looking for something, and return to my room. I will return to my room about 3 times before I get it right as to what I was forgetting, and why I'm there. The other day, I went to go pee, and my room mate said to me "dude, you just went, don't you remember?"- to which I respond, "that must make sense, because I don't feel like I have to pee any more". I'd get into fights with mom about things she told me ten minutes before to which I would SWEAR that she had never told me. Overall, I'm rambling, and my point is- someone sue the hell out of the maker in a class action lawsuit, because I used to be able to memorize even the most complex of tasks, and now I can't even form a cohesive strategy to solve a multi step issue, or put my thoughts together on the spot when dealing with a difficult question from an angry boss (and I used to speak publicly on the spot).
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Avatar_n_tn
Things I can't remember, or have difficulty with; insight onto my issue that others may relate to:

-Conversations and details within them even minutes after
-Appointments, after being told about the appointment that day
-Issues with Cohesive thought
-Learning, due to memory issues
-Cognitive thought
-People's names (still don't know who that guy is that talks to me every day in class for 3 weeks now, and whom I have meals with, and I'm aware I've asked him multiple times [he is aware of my issues])
-Important events (EX: I don't remember meeting my girlfriend's grand parents, even though I was with them for 2 whole days, and have apparently "re-met" them a couple of times)

-Insignificant events ("we hung out?", "when did we get lunch?", "we've already met??")
-Schedules (in my case, class schedules- which day which class, what time and where)

-Repitition of conversation (I often ask the same detail-oriented questions to the same people, or find myself telling the same stories to the same people, when I have told them within 24 hrs).
-Memorizational skills of basic information

+that's all I can put togetehr that troubles me- it feels as though I have alzheimer's at 18 (sad way to live). Personally, I used to have the best memory and could tell you what you were wearing, what song was playing in the room, the exact layout of your room, and exactly what we talked about in chronological order. I feel that the ambien has affected my short term memory capabilites from the prescription initiation for future events more severely than it has on my previously held memories- although I do notice a very detrimental erosion of past events before my ambien dosages began.

Sue Ambien, they do NOT tell you about this sort of effect, and neither will your doctor. You will NOT find this sort of information on any write up about ambien- only from us who have been so unlucky as to have began taking it- and can speak from personal experience on forums or to friends and family (although we probably won't remember telling you).
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Avatar_m_tn
I've been on Ambien for 5 years and have been experiencing the exact problems you are experiencing.  I also have what my neurologist says is sudo-dimentia.  I'll go to brush my teeth and forget what goes on the toothbrush, brushing my teeth with soap a couple of times was not pleasant.  Also, not being able to remember things that I do everyday.  I don't remember even the names of my children when I am having a conversation about them.  I've had insomnia since I was a child, coupled with severe anxiety.  I take an antidepressant and Ativan for anxiety and depression.  None of the psychiatrists or doctors I have seen have ever told me to go off Ambien.  
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Avatar_m_tn
I have taken Ambien, 10 mg, nightly for probably around two years.  (Was unable to sleep due to chronic pain.)  Ambien has been fantastic from a sleep perspective, but I too have had substantial memory loss and retention problems since I've been taking it.  I am an ultrasound tech, have been for more than 6 yrs., and have been noticing difficulty in remembering daily terminology, retrieving the right word for something I need to share with one of our doctors, etc.  Similar issues at home, unable to remember discussions with my husband, etc.  I have decided to stop the Ambien completely.  I can tell that I do "feel" I need it, so I am sure there is some level of chemical as well as emotional dependency.  The fear of not doing what I can to stop and hopefully reverse these memory issues has become a strong motivator.  Thanks to all who have shared their stories as they have been very helpful.
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Avatar_f_tn
I started taking Zolpidem(Generic form of Ambien) almost 2 years ago as the Trazadone I had taken prior to that had stopped working, I knew what the side affects were for me (even now as I write, I can't remember what words I am supposed to use) while I was under the influence of the pill(30 minutes after taking it). But as another person mentioned on here, NO WHERE, or NO ONE states that it has a long-term affect on your memory to the point that I have cried and cried because I feel like I have early stages of Alzheimer's, and I am only 46. I think we (I) need to speak to a Personal Injury Attorney, because this meds need to be removed from the shelf. They are dangerous. I have forgotten how to say sentences, spell, I can't retain anything. I have forgotten what things are called, or their definition. By the time I have been in a conversation for 20 minutes I have forgotten what was said and have to ask what we were talking about. I have to write EVERYTHING down, grocery list, Dr.s appointments, pic up precriptions..etc.. It's frustrating, I was considering a neurologist until I came across this forum, and I think I know what is wrong with me..
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Avatar_n_tn
I have been off and on Ambian for years.  Have just left my job of 16 years because of the stress of not being able to remember anything. I really thought something was happening to me. Today I could not even remember my social security number and I just sat and cried. I came home and decided to google Ambian and memory loss and what a shock! I don't know if my memory is going to get any better but I can tell you one thing. I am going to flush down the toilet the remainder of my pills. If my doctor would of told me Ambian would effect my memory, I would never and I do repeat never taken a one. I would rather be sleepless in seattle than can't remember s--- in Georgia
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Avatar_f_tn
I have been off of the Ambien for a month now, I got me some Choline(by Solaray) time released from Amazon that had good reviews for helping with the memory, been on those for about a week now, also talked to my therapist who put me on 80mg of straterra, and I have to say THEY ARE WORKING.. Slowly but surely each day is a BETTER DAY for me. I hope this helps anyone looking for a solution
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480448_tn?1383222375
Ambien absolutely can cause memory loss, more commonly short-term issues, but also some people have reported problems with their long term memory as well.  The good news is...if other causes have been ruled out, and Ambien seems to be the culprit, the memory issues will resolve most times after the Ambien is safely tapered.  

This is why a med like this should be reserved for short-term use only, like a few weeks at a time and if more long term treatment for insomnia is needed, then other options should be explored.
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Avatar_m_tn
I took an Ambien, my first one ever, the other night and slept like a newborn baby.  However, when I woke up, I felt like I could have slept another 8 hours.  I am also suffering from some memory loss.  I forgot the pin number to my debit card, something that I have used for years with the same number.  This is troubling.  I'd rather suffer from insomnia than forget basic information.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have been on ambien for 11 years now. I do not sleep much even taking the pill but if I do not take it I do not sleep at all. I do have some memory loss I have to write things down to remember. I did not know it caused memory loss I was researching it because I heard after long term use it can cause liver or kidney damage, but I am not sure if that is true. It is 1:32 am and I took my pill at 12:00 and I am still awake I also take xanax 1/2 hour before my ambien and I do not sleep through the night I am up at least 6 times. I was thinking about stopping it if it does do damage to your body. but after 11 years it may be hard to do.
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Avatar_m_tn
I agree with most of you all. My doc put me on it like 3 yrs ago but I always took one fourth of 10 mg pill and that too not everyday. I started feeling memory loss a while back and stopped it completely. Still have those moments of feeling lost when  you need to remember something. It ***** when you are in a meeting and forget the name of the person or forget to what to say. I started making notes before hand and started organizing things to help me out....Good luck to all...
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Avatar_n_tn
I've been taking Ambien for about 4 yrs now and always about 1/4 of a 10mg pill.  If I don't take it I'll get only a few hours of sleep a night.  My boss actually advised me to start taking sleeping pills b/c I was always a tired wreck at work.  The first few times I took it, I remember my head feeling a little foggy or a bit spacey.  I also would get what I called my "Ambien headaches" if I took it more than a few times a week.  Within the last year, I have started taking it 4 - 6 times a week.  

A few months ago I started working at a new high stress, high profile job at a crazy start-up.  I feel like a complete idiot b/c I can't retain any info, can't comprehend processes, and can't remember anything from meetings, unless I write it down so I can go back to it later.  The time it takes for me to put together any business communications has become an issue for me.  I was never at a loss for words in my career before and was always commended for being a great and thorough communicator.  I've had a fairly successful career and was always well respected.  Because of the above mentioned issues of lack of memory and comprehension, I no longer feel I'm qualified for this position and I just quit my job last week.  Thought I'd do it before I get fired, even in this economy, but it is just humiliating to be in a job that I know that I could have performed with no problems before.  But now I will need to take 2 steps backwards in my career to work in positions that are less stressful and don't require as much brainpower as this job.  

I was never told that Ambien might cause memory loss.  I just happen to pick up a pamplet given by the pharmacist and decided to read it thoroughly.  My bad for not taking the owness in doing more research prior to taking Ambien, but physicians and pharmacists should perhaps be more forthcoming before dispensing.
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Avatar_m_tn
oh my goodness....i have been taking ambien now for 3 years...along with cymbalta, and seroquel. i was going through a horrible divorce and my dr. perscribed it for sleep.  i cannot tell you how many conversations i have had and not remembered. even my kids call me out as to how bad my memory is...after i have taken my meds, withen 15 minutes i often eat crazy foods that i would not have ordinarily eaten...lately i have noticed that i cannot remember simple things related to my job. i am a photographer for a group of dr.s, i can perform my daily tasks but cannot even remember the pt.s names even seconds after putting there info into the computer. i have often attributed this problem to getting older but am only 36 and cannot imagine that i am already suffering from memory loss. i have actually been in conversations with family members and have forgotten there names...i have tried to stop using ambien, however only can sleep 2 to 3 hours per night...i have tried over the counter drugs for sleep but they don't even work!  i am afraid to stop taking it because i feel like crap on days i don't get enough sleep. for now i will continue taking it, until i feel like i can sleep without it....i do wonder why is it i am forgetting everything else, why is it i don't forget to take my ambien...
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Avatar_f_tn
I've been taking ambien for about 5 days now, i was on it once before a few years back. but this time I've noticed my short term memory is going. I forget what words say or struggle with reading or even writing things. my brain feels like its in a fog. my eyes are blurry and they feel like they are moving back and forth making it harder to read. guess im better off staying up all night than i am on this stuff.
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Avatar_n_tn
Let me begin by saying I don't use illegal drugs, never have, and rarely drink. When I do, it's maybe one glass of champagne at a wedding. I am not a psychiatric patient.

I have, however, had severe migraines since childhood, and chronic insomnia for the last five. I saw eleven different doctors, and NONE of them would prescribe anything. One told me to drink warm milk, and another nitwit actually suggested that I try buying a boring book and reading it at bedtime!  One suggested Benadryl, but antihistamines have opposite effect on me that they do on other people - they keep me AWAKE instead.

Finally a doc gave me some Ambien. I sleep well, but now have short-term memory problems. Not to brag, but my IQ is above average and I used to read at a speed most people couldn't believe, with perfect recall. Now I can barely finish a page, and don't remember what I read a few hours later.

Does Ambien do this to anyone else? I tried switching to Rozarem, but it did nothing for me.
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Wow..., I'm on 5ml of Ambien a night as of a month ago. After reading all your comments, I'm nervous to be on this medication now. Because I take Lexapro, it interrupts my sleep and they put me on Ambien. Sounds like I need to explore other medications for sleep. Has anyone tried Tylenol PM or other over the counter meds instead of Ambien? Are those any better than prescription drugs? I'm tempted to switch now.
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480448_tn?1383222375
Do you take your Lexapro in the morning or night?
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Avatar_n_tn
I have been on Ambien since 9/11.  I was at ground zero.  Currently 72 years of age 10mg all this time.  Memory has declined a lot.  Not sure how much is age related.  I still think my abstract thinking is as good.  I noticed not many of the responses mentioned age.  For me I would love to know if any of you think its also may be age related.  Have tried a few times getting off but the fear of not sleeping is enough to get me back on.  
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Avatar_m_tn
My wife has been taking Zolpidem (generic Ambien) for a good 20 yrs. She is 50 and recently had a health exam for a new job is another country and was told the ultrasound shows 'fatty infiltration of the liver'. I believe it could be a side-effect of her long-term sleeping pill use. Does anyone have an opinion or know where i can find info/research?


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Avatar_f_tn
So I have been joking that I have a brain tumor, because I can not remember ANYTHING!  I do not remember a lot of childhood, I do not remember my son's first years, I just had a problem remembering if I had taken the stairs or the elevator, just ten minutes ago... So I called the doctor... Ambien!  I stoppeed taking Ambien after 6 years of taking it everynight, I quit cold turkey... after reading everthing I know why I can not remember anything.  It is so hard to deal with, I had to task my mom what by son's first word was, when he first crawled... what his favorite toy was.. when that happened... I thought for sure I was loosing my mind.  If this side effect is known.. then why in the hell did my doc keep me on it for so long, even through my pregnancy?!  I pray that it comes back.. I am going to start doing some memory exercises every day to help get my brain going again.. !  I take melatonin and 2 tylenol PM's every night now, and although I am not sleeping as good as I did on the Ambien, it does help.
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I agree with those that say we need a class action lawsuit in regards to Ambien and memory loss.  My husband and I are under a great deal of stress due to the fact that he is awaiting a heart transplant and have been taking the Ambien for almost two years.  When i was younger (almost 60 yrs old now), people would ask me if I had a "photographic memory"; now it is feeling like I have dementia.  I work as an administrator and have to remember a lot of information.  I have to resort to writing down everything and still feel like that is not sufficient as I notice at times that just a simple conversation can be difficult.  I had no issues prior to using the Ambien and I have just stopped taking last night.  I took 10mg of Valium and slept like a baby...I am done with Ambien and hopefully with some vitamin supplements and brain exercises, I can get half of my brain back :)
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I have been off of Zolpidem(Generic Ambien) for more than 6 months(don't remember), and my memory is bad, I can't remember like another poster said much of MY childhood, much of my children's growing up, I am STRUGGLING majorly in college because I cannot retain anything. I have to write everything down. Conversations are terrible because before we are even finished with the conversation I have forgotten what was said, same thing with class lectures, if I do not record them, I do not remember what the instructor said.. I am going to do some RESEARCH about filing CLASS ACTION LAWSUITS to see what OUR options are.
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Avatar_m_tn
i am so glad that i happened to come into these posts. I have been on ambien for 5 years and i thought that i was slowly going crazy. Forgetting co-workers names and trying to figure out what words to use in a sentence are common for me now. I did not know what was causing these problems until i read all of these posts and realized that all of you are having the exact same issues as i am. I mean the exact same problems. I have to write everything down to remember them later. It has affected every aspect of my life. I cant explain how happy i am now to know why this is happening and that i have a starting point to getting this fixed. I see a lot of people talking about a law suit and hopefully some day the makers of this drug will get what they deserve but for now i just want to get this fixed. I hope everyone here realizes that we all suffer from the same problems and need to share any new info we get that can help each other. good luck
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I've taken Ambien for years, but I didn't take it nightly until I ruptured a disc in my neck requiring surgery.  The sort term problems after surgery increased my inability to sleep.  I've taken it nightly for a year.  Memory loss is not the only problem.  It seems that if I'm upset, angry or hurt when I've taken it on an empty stomach, it causes me to become "another person" and act out in a manner that causes others hurt and pain.  I become aggressive, mean spirited and nasty to those around me, and I have no recollection of any of the events the next day.  As an example of my memory issues, I realized I was having a serious problem when my father called me to tell me he would have a doctor's appointment this week and he'd let me know when so he could pick me up.  You see, my father has lung cancer for the second time in 2 years and we're seeing a surgeon to discuss the possibilities of surgery to remove this new section.  I had no idea what he was talking about or why we would be seeing a doctor.  I didn't remember that he had cancer.  That really opened my eyes since my father and I are very close and I've worried and cried for weeks over this return/new form of cancer in the other lung.  I'm weaning myself off of it and will live with insomnia.  I don't want to live life not remembering the very important things in life.

Lisa
Birmingham, AL
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Please someone help me! I am a 23 year old female who over the past 8 years has taken Ambien on and off. About 70% to 85% of those 8 years I was regularly taking it nightly. I would take it every night for like 18 months then get off it for 4 and then start taking it all over again, and these odds cycles would continue. About 3 years ago I guess, (being that I cant remember) I started noticing having memory problems. Even after being Ambien free for 6 months I was still having problems with retaining any new information. Its not like I just had a problem remembering what I did when I was on it, or what I did the next day, this was months and months later that I couldn't fully remember my daily doings. I was a very smart student in High School and now I feel like my head is in a cloud. I feel so dumb! I took a CPR class about 6 weeks ago. If you where in need of CPR right now with only me around, you would be S.O.L. I cant even remember what I am supposed to do! I have searched all over the internet looking for help. The only information I find is on short term anterograde amnesia that occurs right after taking the pill and the day after. What about people like me who are still suffering from long term anterograde amnesia. Does anyone have any information on this? Has it happened to anyone else? Should I be looking for another reason to why I have felt like a space case for the past 3 years?
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I have been on ambien for 3 years now...i am not having memory issues at this time..but i have found i have gained a tolerance and it no longer helps me sleep anymore. i am thinking about going off it....but i guess i might have to do it slowly over time with all the horror stories i am hearing.
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I too was on ambien for 5 years, went off it in 2006 after I lost my job for being out on disability due to memory loss.  Took me 3-4 months to wean myself off it and 6 years later I am still a space shot, writing everything down, it is like my thought process is out of wack.  Still looking for medical info on being on ambien for a long time.

Good luck!
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I've been taking ambien daily for about 8 years as well. I think some have misunderstood the to OP question and comments. This is about memory loss not associated with the temporary nightly side effects. But memory loss in general. I use to have one of the best memories.. But over the last year I have had an extremely difficult time remembering names. I simply can not recall movie titles or names of actors anymore, one of the things I was best at. I would like to think that this would return in time if I were to stop taking ambien. But something tells me that my brain could be permanently damaged.
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Bad news: you wont get your memory back. I took ambien for two years, and have been off it for 4 years now. My memory is as bad as in the beggining. This has changed my whole life. I used to be super curious, always was investigating about subjects i enjoyed, had an intelectual personality, and now as i cant remember stuff all thas is gone. I cant remember what i read, i cant recall information in conversations. I used to be interesting, now im just a regular tv culture person with really not much interesting topics to talk about. My self steem is in the ground. The worst is i still have insomnia. Im hanging out, but im still cant get used to the new silly person i have becomed. I used to be bright. Just the thought of it kills me everyday. No, it doesnt get better.
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Just an FYI, this is an old thread.  It is doubtful that the OP is even still around.  If you're new to the site, you can differentiate the older threads (over 6 months old) with the small hourglass icon next to the thread.

Most times, the older threads get less activity.
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I'm sorry you are having these problems.  I have been on 10mg of ambien for over 10 years.  This has been the only thing to help me stay in a deeper sleep pattern.  Without it I would not be able to function or work.  I hope you find some answers.  
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Just an FYI, this is an old thread.  It is doubtful that the OP is even still around.  If you're new to the site, you can differentiate the older threads (over 6 months old) with the small hourglass icon next to the thread.

Most times, the older threads get less activity. .
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Your story seems very similar to mine. Im even having problems typing this because now i have problems with my vocabulary which i never had before. I started taking Ambien after it was prescribed to me by my doctor to help me sleep after the sudden death of my father along with Lexapro. During this time i was still working as a director of financial aid and managing a stressful schedule and work load. I started having issues with my memory and coping with my father's death and decided to resign in August 2011. I couldn't handle the stress and my memory was just getting worst and I honestly just blamed it on the emotional trauma that i had gone through. I didn't go to my doctor because i didn't want to go on disability because i felt guilty that here i was leaving my 70,000 a year job while others are unemployed and willing to work. Now that i am a stay at home mom i notice that my memory loss is so bad that i can't hold a normal conversation without having to google half of the words. I forget what the hell I'm supposed to be doing when i walk into a room and easily become intimidated when talking to anyone because i know i will draw a blank. I am only 30 years old and feel completely helpless!
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Your story seems very similar to mine. Im even having problems typing this because now i have problems with my vocabulary which i never had before. I started taking Ambien after it was prescribed to me by my doctor to help me sleep after the sudden death of my father along with Lexapro. During this time i was still working as a director of financial aid and managing a stressful schedule and work load. I started having issues with my memory and coping with my father's death and decided to resign in August 2011. I couldn't handle the stress and my memory was just getting worst and I honestly just blamed it on the emotional trauma that i had gone through. I didn't go to my doctor because i didn't want to go on disability because i felt guilty that here i was leaving my 70,000 a year job while others are unemployed and willing to work. Now that i am a stay at home mom i notice that my memory loss is so bad that i can't hold a normal conversation without having to google half of the words. I forget what the hell I'm supposed to be doing when i walk into a room and easily become intimidated when talking to anyone because i know i will draw a blank. I am only 30 years old and feel completely helpless!
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Wow. I am glad I am not alone. My memory has been seriously affected by Ambien. Two days ago we had a manager's meeting. Apparently we discussed plans for a group in detail and I was involved int he conversation. The next day I cannot event remember what we talked about.  I am going to wean myself off this very bad drug. Before it is too late. I am only 45 and feel like I am 80 sometimes. No good.
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Hey, yes this drug has many side effects so I've been told by my Dr. Not only does it cause memory loss but it causes depression (the main reason he wouldn't put me on it since I already have clinical depression) He also told me if you take it long term it can cause you to get narcolepsy like symptoms and possibly pass out at random while you are driving and what not. No good! So my mom is on it and she is now also trying to taper herself off of it. She is suffering more and more with depression and certain things she does or doesn't do shows it all. =/ Wish you all the best with getting off of it.
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If she is having troubles sleeping she may want to try Melatonin. You don't want to take it every night because then your body may stop producing its own, but it is a good sleep aid, cheap, and non addictive. And since melatonin is a substance already in the body I don't think (not a doctor) it would interact with prescriptions.
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I have been on generic Ambien (zolpidem tartrate 10 mg) to treat chronic isomnia - for two years.  The past several months, in addition to night ambien fog walks, hallucinations in conversations that I don't recall, eating foods straight from the refrig in the middle of the night, putting a full face of make-up on several times during the middle of the night, which I can't recall doing but my daughter video'd it on her Iphone, I can't recall short term & long term memories & have trouble with time sequences.  I blank out mid-conversation & it got so bad last week with me "losing" things & not being able to recall or retrace my steps, that I thought I had early onset Alzheimers......until I read all these posts.   No doctor ever told me about the memory problems and I pray to God they are not permanent.  I used to be a bright, sharp as a tack, and functional person...now I feel like I have fallen into a pit of depression, anxiety and dimentia (dementia) at times.  Ambien is the only common thread with all of us - I was not like this before taking it even though it has allowed me to sleep for at least 6 hours a night, it's not worth the amnesiac effects & hazzards.  I dread going through withdrawal as I have tried before and couldnt sleep for two weeks while going thru mood swings, bad temper, hysteria & tremors.
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On Zolpiderm for 3 years. First 2 years 5 mg daily, then in last year 2.5 mg daily.  No question it assisted my poor sleep, but not entirely as it is interupted sleep because of frequent urnination even with the Zolpiderm.  Have been having memory loss issues over the past year and after researching decided to go off Zolpiderm altogether.  It's only been a few days and the withdrawal has not been severe, but I am not sleeping as well. The doctor believes my memory loss may be due to insufficient sleep so it's a catch 22.  Will be looking for a sleep remedy that will not cause memory loss and has low side affects.
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I am a 48 year old male taking Ambien on and off for insomnia. I've been having memory problems that are quite disturbing. I spoke to my doctor who told me that Ambien has been known to cause memory issues. Xanax and other psychiatric medications for depression and anxiety can also cause cognitive impairment. Not to sound paranoid, but i find it strange that many people i speak to, even people younger than me, are complaing of memory problems. Perhaps these medications were designed to make us forget. Scary thought since it seems that Alzheimer's is on the rise.
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Found these side effects listed on Wki. You can easily find them by doing a Google search. Note that memory loss is listed:

Adverse effects

Various zolpidem pills
Side effects at any dose may include:
Nausea
Vomiting
Anterograde amnesia
Hallucinations, through all physical senses, of varying intensity[citation needed]
Delusions[citation needed]
Altered thought patterns
Ataxia or poor motor coordination, difficulty maintaining balance[17]
Euphoria and/or dysphoria
Increased appetite
Increased or decreased libido
Amnesia
Impaired judgment and reasoning
Uninhibited extroversion in social or interpersonal settings
Increased impulsivity
When stopped, rebound insomnia may occur
Headaches
Short-term memory loss
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I have been off the Zolpidem for 1 1/2 years now and still suffer from memory loss, I am seeing a neurologist now and he's testing me for dementia because of the Ambien(Zolpidem). I think these pills need to be removed from the shelves.. I missed my appointment I had with him last week because I FORGOT I had it.
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They should add impaired cognitive skills, permanent memory loss(long/short term),  
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I too have raided the refrigerator, watched a movie, only to wake up to an empty bag of chips on the floor, an open bottle of wine on the counter, and none of it within immediate recall after being confronted by my wife.  Usually I can remember bits and pieces of the night before.  The adverse effects wear off.  I typically can wake up within 4 hours and not feel any lingering effects, which is useful if I'm trying to nap before starting a night shift.  Then I take a half tab before going to bed in the morning.

I've been on Ambien most nights for the past 6 years, mostly because of shift work, flipping between night and day shifts, living in like a perpetual jet lag without any of the benefits such as collecting fond memories and exotic passport stamps...  The first night I took Ambien I was amazed at what a good night's sleep I had.  Since then, it hasn't been as profoundly restorative, but mostly better than the alternative.  It ***** not sleeping.  I'm aware that Ambien is only recommended for 7-10 days, and the clinical trials were in numbers of weeks, not years.  Not much is really known about the long term effects, and it needs to be scrutinized.  Unfortunately, I think it can be difficult to remove factors that contribute to cognitive impairment that exist alongside Ambien use, such as depression, anxiety, caffeine use, diet, lack of exercise, and sleep deprivation itself.

I have periodically gone Ambien-free, but only for 2-3 nights at a time, which is only possible when I am caffeine free, and not subjected to the erratic schedule, and when I can exercise regularly.  I had to re-learn how to sleep, and then only when completely off stimulants, and on a lighter work schedule.  The longest I was off Ambien in the past 6 years, was maybe a week.  Then there is coffee.  There is nothing like it for energy and mood elevation when sleep deprived, or not wanting to be at work,  or craving sleep, or staving off depression.  Wake at 7am, go to work at 4 or 6pm, and don't get home and in bed until 3 or 5 am.  Or maybe go to work at 11pm, get to sleep at 10am, then get up for work at 5:30am a couple of mornings later.   I do that for a week, and my mind starts going to muck, so I'm back on the mud.  My mantra has been, "there is only one thing worse than no coffee, that's not enough of it".   That in part has fueled my Ambien use, or maybe I should say addiction, and/or dependence.

But recently, my concentration has been off, I'm having decreased fluency of speech, and it feels like there is something interfering with my thought process.  My depression has been worse.  Holy ****, have I screwed myself for all these years taking Ambien?  How much is it all the other stress in my life?

An earlier post brought up a valid point, one which is confounding.  The causes of insomnia, varied as they may be, can contribute to memory loss.  In my case, it's a stressful job, caffeine use, occasional alcohol, chocolate, crazy work hours, lack of exercise, marital discord, parenting, it's is a no-brainer.  Remove all that crap and I'll sleep like a baby, right? Still, it seems like a chicken or the egg.  I can't think clearly, it bugs the **** out of me, and I'm depressed about it.  

What causes what?  Is it just a prolonged case of caffeine withdrawal?  Is it early dementia?  Is it the Ambien?  My mother had Alzheimer's.  My dad was a brilliant engineer, test pilot, CEO, entrepreneur, public speaker and has never taken Ambien in his life, yet he is now cognitively impaired.

If depression can cause memory loss and cognitive impairment, wouldn't the combination of sleep deprivation, anxiety, and depression do the same?  And what if sleep deprivation can cause or exacerbate anxiety and depression?  None of us need a pharmaceutical brain f*&k on top of that.  I feel for those who left or lost their jobs.  This past week I felt like resigning, but I can't afford to retire or take a cut in pay.  And I'm up at 4 am blogging instead of sleeping in on father's day.  I should mention, watching TV or surfing the web won't help me get to sleep.  God help us all if Ambien turns out to be the dementing poltergeist we fear it might be.  All I can do is stop taking it, deal with insomnia by optimizing sleep hygeine and hope for the best.
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For those that have intolerable side effects, I would say wean off. However, I don't think a lawsuit is in order because there are people like myself and others that are taking this medication long term with few to no side effects and the benefits are greater than the risk.

I only wish Ambien had been invented decades ago when I was younger. At age 28 I had my first panic attack and dealt with generalized anxietythat I struggled with through beyond middle age. Doctors did tons of medical work ups. A number precribed Valium (before the days of Xanax), and the various anti depressants. The valuim help some but made me groggy and it was short lived. ALL anti depressants that were tried (and there were many) all made me feel like I could jump out of my skin and sleep was impossible. So for all this precious time my anxiety and insomnia was so bad I went through divorces, broken relationships, dropped out of college, went through tons of jobs that I couldn't handle, and felt miserable and exhausted.

By the time I reached my mid 40's a doctor who finally saw that anti depressants were not working on a non depressed but very high strung person, prescribed very low dose Xanax. 0.25 the lowest dose as needed and I have never taken more than 2 per day and more likely only one a day and sometimes none. Not a perfect fix but takes the edge off and I function better.

I was prescribed 10 mg Ambein on occasion for travel, long flights or long and early bus tours.

Then 6 months ago I went to an endocrinologist to be tested and treated for high blood sugar (pre diabetic type 2). He asked me about sleep and I told him I usually got 8 hours  providing I did not go to bed until I was able to sleep which usually meant going to bed at 4 a.m. and waking up at noon. He prescribed Ambien and said that when my biological clock was set properly I would have less anxiety and also less blood sugar problems. So my blood sugar just got re tested and we are in normal range and I go to bed and wake up with the rest of the world.

No drug including the two I am taking are the ideal. But my life with out them was miserable and I wasted some of the best years of my life dealing with anxiety and insomnia.

I have no memory loss. In fact my memory is perhaps to sharp (which could account for some of the anxiety). In any event If my Doctor allows me to live the rest of my life on Ambien (I'm close to 65 now) then perhaps when I'm in my mid eighties I will be a little drifty and forgetful.  And if something comes up between now and that time, we will go on to more modern choices.

Hey if what works for some of us takes the edge off, it beats some alternatives like cigarette smoking that has far more negative effects than Xanax or Ambien. I would much prefer to have to write a few things down to remember, rather than winding up in a stroke, heart attack or lung cancer. I have many smoker friends that have already died from such diseases and they wer younger than me. So should we file a class action against tobacco? As adults we should all have the right to weigh out the risks and benefits and choose. It's a free country and we should all be willing to be responsible for our choices.

In closing I will add one side effect (or I may be a side effect of Ambien). A few nights ago I was feeling tired and so just went to bed and forgot to take the Ambien. And after drifting off to sleep I had one heck of a vivid nightmare, (like right out of a realistic Steven King novel). So after waking up and gathering my wits I took the Ambien and drifted off to dreamless sleep and felt refreshed in the morning.

I wish everyone well in your choices to feel better.

      
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I also have been taking 10 mg of Ambien for 10 years. I got off of it for 40 days and it was 40 days without sleep I am back on it 5 mg and can sleep again and feel great. Everyone is different but it is so good to hear that there are others that have no side effects and would be miserable without it.
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the problem I am having is that I have been taking Ambien only once a week for two years and now I am beginning to feel depressed and my head is foggy and I can't remember things like I use to. I am wondering if I am getting dimentia (dementia) or alzheimers.  Do you think that taking Ambien only once a week for two years can cause me this grief??
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I have Chronic Fatigue syndrome, Epstein Barr, and insomnia. I must get my sleep, or I trigger the virus.  I've been on ambien for about 15 years. I had a very good administrative's position with a very busy  engineering firm.  I had to have surgery in 2009 and I think it triggered the shingles.   I now have post herpetic neuralgia, damaged nerves as a result of the shingles.  It's horrible.  I am seeing a neuroligist and he has me on lyrica 3 x's a day and tegretol 2 x's a day, plus the ambien, which helps me sleep and keep the pain down. I left my position in April of 2010.  Since I have been on these 2 drugs (about 6 months) I notice my memory is not as good as it was.I believe no working and vegitating my brain doesn't help.   My ability to speak my thoughts is hindered.  The words are there sometimes, but I can't get them out of my mouth. It may come to me 10 minutes later!   I fall asleep sitting up sometimes.  I'm in a fog. Concentration is very hard to do.  I try to remember things my hubby tells me, and I forget.  It's frustrating, but the pain is redused.  If I forget to take my lunchtime lyrica, 2 hours later I'll remember, because the pain sets in from the shingles and I panic.   Everyone is blaming the ambien.  Could it be the combination of meds that we're taking as well?  I too have had the black outs.  Really embarrassing to not remember an intimate night with your hubby.  We have laughed about it, but it's no laughing matter. That was before the shingles. I had weight gain but that's because I like to eat.  I have been dieting and watching what I eat, and I lost 30 lbs since january.  Also my cholesterol has gone down substantially, and my good went up 3 points.  My triglicerides (triglycerides) went down from over 500 to 99.  So I don't think the ambien causes weight gain.  I wish everyone the very best and hope my post helps somewhat.  As for me, after reading all.......  I think I'm going to try to reduce the ambien.  Last night I cut the tip of the pill so it would amount to about 7.5 mg.  I slept well and dreamed about Tom Cruise!   Probably cause he's in the news lately.....   So we'll see.  I will keep posting my progress...........  
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I was on zolpidem er 12.5 mg for two years.  My neurologist prescribed it because my sleeping problems were triggering migraines.  The zolpidem really worked for me, with no real side affects, but after reading all these and other posts, I decided to stop taking it.  I called my neurologist with my decision and she supported it. I stopped cold turkey and was one of the lucky ones with only a few rough nights of withdrawal symptoms.  Now I am back to not sleeping well, but no longer have to worry about the possibility of permanent damage due to extended use.  I don't regret the decision, but it is not for everyone.  Good luck to those that choose to stop taking this scary drug.
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This is my first time in a chat room hope I am doing this right. My sister has completely lost her short-term memory after taking ambien for a few months. She has had all kinds of test, CT-scan, MRI, lots of blood work and they are about to do an EEG on her. She has been devasted by this and is unable to work. Have any of you experienced memory loss to this degree? I am searching for answers can anyone help us?
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Hello,
I'm very sorry to hear about your sister. I feel quite disheartened after reading this whole thread. I took zolpidem for over 3 years 10mg every night. I came off it a couple of months ago, but my short term memory is absolutely shot and has been for a long time. I can't remember new things, and select things from the past. Often times the wrong word comes out out of mouth.
Please if anyone reads this and has a positive story to share : ie memory came back after a while, please post. I feel terrible to think this is permanent damage. Most ppl posting are like me and have just discovered this phenomena, and are still taking ambien or only recently gone off. Only a couple of people posted after the fact and they said their memories never improved! This is horrific.

Iusedtobesmart are you still posting? Has anything improved? I have been complaining to my dr (the same one prescribing be zolpidom for years straight that my memory was going and i felt like i was losing my cognitive ability. THey had a neurologist give me the WAIS exam and they said I was fine, but given they really had no benchmark how can they tell?). THIS IS A REAL PROBLEM.
IS this a form of dementia? If anyone has any answers from the medical community I would love to know.
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Hey hon, I also am sorry to hear about your sister.

You have posted on a very old thread, often times they get less attention.  I think you would get more replies if you started a new thread.  It's very easy.  Go back to the Anxiety Forum (or any forum you choose).  

Click on "Post a Question" (Or "Ask a Question", forget exactly how it's worded)...you will be then able to post your own thread and get answers.

We're here to help, and will try the best we can!  Best to you and your sister!
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I am so glad you answered me. Have you had any other changes besides the loss of short-term memory? My sister Sherry has also lost her appetite and we are not sure if she is just forgetting to eat or what. Her personality has seemed to change to she is so much sweeter than before but this may be due to the devastation she is experiencing. It is like this has broken her spirit. She is also having no sleeping issues now and we are wondering if this could be due to the fact that she can't really worry about events during the day because she can''t remember any of them. She is having spinal fluid drawn next week and an eeg performed so we are hopeful they will find something. We still think the ambien could be the cause.
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Thank you so much for the advice like I said I am new at this.
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Sure thing!  I know it's tough navigating a new site!  Let me know if you have any questions!
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Hello trh60
I can't say I have any other problems similar to your sisters. I just can't retain new information or even draw on information that I previously knew. I hope the drs can find out the cause of your sisters problem. Please continue to post updates as i would very much like to know what the dr's find to be your sisters problem. I hope that we can somehow recover from this because it's a horrible way to live and I am very scared that the damage is permanent.
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I agree with this comment 100%. I have been on Ambien (or Zolpidem) for about 5 years now. I cannot for the life of me figure out HOW I would ever fall asleep without it. I was staying awake until 2am prior to Ambien and my brain just would not shut off. When I finally did fall asleep, it would last a few hours wnd I would be up again with my mind spinning on stuff, over and over. Now, atleast I know that I FALL asleep and get atleast 5-6 hours a night. I have never done anything at night that I wasn't in control of, no driving, no activities... I just sleep, however, I am starting to notice what I call "stupid memory loss"...things like names of people that I know or simple functions like finding "my documents" on my computer. I am concerned if it is Ambien related or the simple fact that I am fatigued and 5-6 hours is still not enough sleep. I imagine it would be even worse if I got less sleep per night.
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I am SO glad I came across this thread. Reading all of the comments exactly reflects the problems I have been having lately especially (Huri999). I have just turned 50 and have been on 10mg Zolpidem every night for about 8 years because of chronic pain. Like others on here I WAS once considered of above average intelligence and very bright with an excellent memory and good social skills. One of my fortes was solving technical issues. That ability including learning, remembering and the ability to hold simple conversations has now completely vanished. I get angry and frustrated trying to do the most simplest of tasks now, and was convinced I had early onset of Dementia or Alzheimers but was too scared to go to the doctors. In the last few years I have lost my job as an avionics engineer, my long term relationship, my friends, and my confidence. I mainly stay in my apartment 24/7 and do not socialize or even pick up the phone now. My mind is a constant fog. I cannot remember anyone's name, what I did yesterday or even the DOB of my own children.
I have now been referred to a Psychologist for depression and anxiety.
Recently I came into my front room after a poor nights sleep to discover loads of food wrappings and toast crusts and various other food items on the floor of my living room but I had no idea or any memory of eating them the night before, it was quite worrying and it wasn't the first time either. Yesterday I was driving along a road that I used to drive every day of my life and suddenly could not remember where the heck I was. I constantly argue with people about conversations they say I'd had with them but have no memory of those conversations. I feel like I have the mind of an old man of 90. I am starting to think I am stupid as I cant even add simple numbers up or talk to anyone without stammering and forgetting what I started to say. I am very worried now especially as many folks on here have are reporting that the symptoms remain even after not taking the meds. I must say though to all those thinking about law suites that this medicine has been a life saver for me as I simply could not get to sleep without it and having NO sleep at all would be like a living hell.
The trouble is! now where do I go from here?
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Please Help about AMBIEN
Has anyone on or in the past experienced any type of allergic reactions or breathing problems while taking Ambien or Zolpidiem? I am so grateful to have found this blog. I have been having a so far untraceable reaction that includes hives, rashes and  throat closing. Having moved to a new area, taken every allergy med on the planet and been out on a ship for a week, the only thing that has followed me everywhere for the last year is Zolpidiem/Ambien. When I have tried to stop taking it I get excruciating migraines in bed or alien nightmares. Please help.
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I do get itchy skin but I think that is from the Dihydrocodeine and .??....(FORGOT) ..It'll come in a minute__________ oh yes... Amitriptyline! I did have strange episodes when yawning and it felt like my throat froze for a second or two but again I don't know if this was the Zolpidem or not.  I don't get breathing problems even with all the other meds I take at the same time which include the above and Propranolol ..and smoking (tut)  However I have been advised by my pharmacist  not take  antihistamines with Zolpidem or my Dihydrocodeine as it can cause it to double or tipple the effects.
-Something I forgot to mention in my earlier post (above) that I feel is very important, is that when I have taken a bigger dose (20mg) of Zolpidem (Ambien in the USA)  I have found myself talking to people in my room that aren't there (then very shortly after realized there is no one there) I would like to know if anybody else has experienced  this. This doesn't happen on lower doses or when I don't take the drug.
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BTW  vnfi Your not taking venlafaxineare are you? (just noticed your user name) It's caused me severe issues.
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Very interesting reading.  I've been on Ambien for about a year and a half, usually taking just 1/2 a 10mg dose.  It started out just as needed or if I was under extra job related stress.  Half a pill works wonders, but unfortunately I now have to take it every night if there is any hope of sleep.  The reason for my search was I feel dizzy all most all of the time recently so was curious if there were long term side effects related to that.  I have not experienced memory loss at all.  Reading all this however, will make me try and gradually reduce my dependance and look for a better way to sleep throughg the night.  I didn't read every single post, but does anyone experience dizziness on a continual basis?
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GOOD NEWS Im so happy i can post something possitive. I want to tell you i found sometring that really helped me with memory loss! I started taking omega 3 from fish source, 1500mg a day for 4 months now, and it has done some much improvement im shocked my self im so happy!!! i feel much more my self again!!! :) Please do your own investigation and try it, its totaly worth it !!
I still have chronic insomnia, but im taking allergy medicine and natural slepp pills....no more zolpidem. Not 100% happy about it but still looking for a solution, my goal is not having to take anything that isnt natural to sleep...
Please be carefull...leave zolpidem, antidepressents ( i had lexapro, effexor, lamictal, name it!) they help for a while but it leaves severe damage in your brain. At least fish omega 3 helped me to recover lots of it. Hope it helps you too!
pd: i made such a negative post on april 12 2012, i cant describe how happy i am to share positive experience that hopefully helps someone else. Shoud change my nick to "smarter!!!!"
Good luck!!!
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Please read the post i made today. Bye! i found that omega 3 made dramatical improvement to my memory and intelligence issues!! Im not on zolpidem anymore thought, but who knows it may help you too.
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ps: my english is not perfect cause its not my 1st language...
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Yes! i just did, good luck :)
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me too  and to all the above comments too !!!  last night woke up and thought I called a woman a 9:30 pm etc etc   then really WOKE up and checked my phone to see if I called this person,   NO I did not !!   OMG  --
and lots of what I though was dementia  ( I'm 70 )   all this started with Ambien.  Now going off tonight .   Going  to be a bumpy ride I suspect  I never even slept more than 4 hours with Ambien anyway--Yikkes
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I saw your post regarding Ambien and memory loss from years ago. My husband only took Ambien for 2 days and decided not to continue on it, and he has been having trouble for the last week with memory lost and not being himself. How long did it take you to feel better and is your memory better today?

Thanks so much!
***@****  
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Almost 20 years on this drug due to Fibromyalgia. I'm 64 and feel like I have a clogged up brain. Can't remember conversations ,names, and just pray I won't get up and raid the frig. Has anyone tried Matram?  I have taken 5 mg  zolpiden a night and sometimes a little more. Never more that 10 for fear of being stuck there forever.  It does work but now I fear I will never be back to normal. I would say get off or don't start if you are young. It has really left me in a fog.
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I noticed all of these things...quit and started taking Nyquil..It works and it now has a just the sleep kind.
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I'm 17 and have been taking ambien for going on 3 years. I really don't have short term memory loss unless I'm under the influence of the drug. In my opinion, this might be age related. I could be wrong. The worst of the side effects, for me at least, are the horrible migraines. The only withdrawl (withdrawal) symptom I get is rebound insomnia, which is absolute hell.
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I am experiencing the same problem. I took it for two years straight. Even while pregnant as the Dr said it was safe. I suffered from insomnia so this was heaven to get me to sleep. However, I also did things while I was on ambien that I dont recall....sometimes cleaning my house and then waking up to find a beautifully clean home! Sometimes my ambien episodes were good ones! However, now that I have been off of it for a while....4 years I now have short term memory loss. I will literally forget where I put something 5 min before. It is quite scary. And the memory loss is affecting my daily tasks. I am scared that this is now permanent.
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I have had problems with short-term memory from Ambien use as well. I use it only occasionally now, or while I'm traveling. It also makes me feel more depressed, so I avoid it. For memory improvement, I take gingko biloba, a common OTC herb. It works fantastically. I also supplement with iodine and fish oil. My brain functioning is better than ever. I'm in my mid 50s, and was worried about my loss of memory. With these supplements, it's no longer a problem. I feel mentally very sharp.
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I have been on Ambien 10 mg since I had a car accident in 1995 started taken it in 1996 and 17 years later here I am. I do believe I do have some of the memory loss an I know its true because I have one of the best memories in the world and I am forgetful. My doc has just now changed me to Halcion from the Ambien and I told him I hope this works. I dd all the crazy things they say you do with Ambien when I first started takin it many years ago but now it does not do that anymore. I also have depression and anxiety disorders as well which does not help. I really wish it did not take all these meds to feel right. I just want to feel normal again if I even know what that is anymore?
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Have been on Ambien for almost 6 years. I was briefly (for about 2 mo) put on a low dose of seroquel after my daughter was born. I was having post pardom along with anxiety. I couldn't function on this medication & when taken off I could not sleep. Dr. put me on Ambien. A couple years later, we were really wanting to have another baby. I didn't want to be taking medication while trying to get pregnant, Dr. told me that my body would adjust & wouldn't take long & I would be sleeping again. WRONG! I went a year with at the very most sleeping 3 hours in the am typically 2 hours (between 6:30-8:30), often not at all. Went to a sleep Dr. & had a sleep study- told me what I already knew, I slept for 3 hours in the AM. Was told I have chronic insomnia-duh! Even though I had not been on Ambien for some time my previous dosage of 10 mg did not work well. In order to get a decent night sleep I am now taking 12.5 mg CR & 5 mg regular ( that's 17.5 mg a night). Typically I wouldn't have waited an entire year this way but am quite strong willed & was really wanting to get pregnant, to no succcess. I think lack of sleep could have been a contributing factor because we had numerous tests done & there was no reason for not getting pregnant. As for all those with memory & brain functioning problems- believe me I know. I used to be a very high functioning person & now there is NO possible way that I could do the job I used to do before marrying my husband. I had been at that job for 13 years, a busy fast paced office. I worked full time & had a part-time assistant. When I left, the part-time person went to full time, & they hired another full time person & another part-time person. They would probably fire me now, it's a good thing I can work from home ( I do books for my husband's business & homeschool my daughter). Everything takes me MUCH longer then it used to. Reading comprehension is horrible- I have to reread same sentence to understand & then by the end of the page I have forgotten the whole thing anyway. I feel stupid, I didn't used to be this way. I don't have any answers though because honestly I function even worse when I don't sleep. All I can say is if you don't absolutely initially have to start taking this medication- don't. And for those who like me can't see any other way around it-hang in there & hang on to God. HE will hold onto you!
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I have been taking 10mg of Ambien once a day for 11 years now.  As with everything else in life t your body becomes immune to it.  I now take My Ambien, (1) 1mg Xanax and 2 Benadryl's every night before bed.  Seems like a HUGE amt to take at once but that is the only way I can get to sleep anymore.  My memory is failing so bad that it's affecting my job performance I had my yearly review on Friday and the exact criticism was "Brandie needs to work on her memory by taking memory training classes"  I was taken aback by that b/c I truly know this drug is NOT helping me; it's costing me my job. IDK what to do or where to go from here.
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Brandie, I'm sorry, I know it's a horrible feeling to not be able to do what was previously not a problem at all. All you can do is your best, pray & ask God to help you & ask Him to direct your path. He will do this, I have found in my own life that He doesn't always answer in the way we would like & it doesn't always seem like the easy way but He doesn't promise easy but He does ALWAYS promise to be with us through everything. We can't see the big picture but He can. "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him" Roman 8:28 .My prayers are with you!
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Well said!  Thank you for taking the time to record and report in detail your experience.  I have been in the middle of a sentence and can not remember a common word or place!  Very embarrassing.  I have introduced myself to the same person 3 times as well.  I thought I was losing my mind and I never knew Ambien had anything to do with it.  There must be many people on this drug.  Every one I know is complaining about severe memory loss.
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Jake, I have been taking 10mg zolpidem nightly for 10+ years.
During that time I successfully delivered series of very complex software system that were delivered bug free, I learned 5 foreign languages including Arabic, Russian, and Korean, and surpassed experts in memory testing.
I think there is more to the assertion that zolpidem causes memory loss and cognitive deterioration. Perhaps and in some people who may have pre-existing memory/cognition skills deficiencies. I am skeptical as there may other influencing factors that may be attributed to zolpidem cognitive deficiency. Bottom line: to keep your memory and cognitive skills in top form you need to practice, practice, practice as they are a skill that deteriorates over time especially as we age. I am 68.  A lot age-related memory issues can cured by learning some easy-to-learn memory tools. Read Harry Lorayne for a start.
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My friend, I can tell you that you are not alone. Nor are the many people on this thread.

I took ambien for three years, virtually every night, and I can tell you that it severely impacted my memory and my cognitive ability. I have zero doubt about it, and if you are experiencing the symptoms described here, you should definitely stop taking it. It does get better when you quit.

Like many of you, I lived in terror of a sleepless night, and I became dependent on ambien. But soon I grew more afraid of the impact it was having on my ability to function mentally. To remember. To think clearly.

It has been more than a year now since I quit, and I am happy to report that things have improved dramatically. I wouldn't say it's 100 percent yet, but it's close. It took a long time for me to get to that low point, so I figure it is going to take a long time to get back to where I was when I first started taking it. In particular, I believe there are certain memories, mostly memories from that hazy three-year period when I was taking ambien (10 mg Zolpidem/night), that  will remain fuzzy —  just be gone forever.

But I honestly feel like I'm returning to normal. It feels so good to be able to think clearly again.

Get off of it.

Do it.


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I've been taking Ambien for 5 years with very little side effects.  The benefits of sleeping far outweigh the tragedy of not sleeping.  I haven't had any problems.  They run like clockwork for me and I wouldn't be able to function in my life if I didn't take them.

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Yes. I have the same problem as your wife. My liver is sick because of Ambien. How is your wife? Did she recover after stopping the Ambien?
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