admin / June 7, 2018
In America alone, the most common sleep problem faced by adults is insomnia, according to the review of the “Medical Clinics of North America” in the year 2010. To address this problem, sleeping pills are prescribed and maintained. As for medications, patients would either be given benzodiazepines or nonbenzodiazepines. These are two different kinds of sleep aid medications- although they have the same function, they work in different ways. Among all the medications belonging to benzodiazepines, Xanax is the most prescribed. On the other hand, its nonbenzodiazepine counterpart, Ambien shares the same spot. Read on and compare two medications, and decide which one is more effective in addressing sleep problems like insomnia.
Xanax, or alprazolam was patented in the year 1976 by the drug company Upjohn/Pfizer. It works as a sedative, anti-convulsant and an anti-anxiety medication. It has been approved by the US FDA to treat anxiety and its related disorders. However, it is widely used to treat sleeping disorders, rather than anxiety-related problems, such as depression.
Ambien, on the other hand is known in its generic name as zolpidem. It was patented in the year 1983 by another drug company Synthelabo/Sanofi-Aventi. It has similar function with Xanax, but is only approved in treating sleep disorders.
Xanax and Ambien belongs to the Top 200 most commonly used medications worldwide. As of 2010 April, Xanax became the most purchased and used medication in the entire globe, while Ambien is at the 96th spot.
Xanax is one of the drug brands belonging to the benzodiazepine group. Other famous medication belonging to this group are: Valium, Librium, and many others.
Ambien, on the other hand, is a nonbenzodiazepine. It is used with the same purpose as Xanax- to induce sleep, although Ambien is slightly different in terms of composition. Other famous medication belonging to this group are: Sonata, Lunesta and many others. Nowadays, both Ambien and Xanax could be purchased in its generic versions.
Both Ambien and Xanax induce sleep by targeting the GABA receptor situated in the human brain. It is one of the neurotransmitters located in the CNS, or the central nervous system. Ambien and Xanax are safer compared other medications, as they are taken orally. Unlike other medications which should pass by the spine, these medications do not have a major effect in the coordination of the patient.
When it comes to inducing sleep, Benzodiazepine and nonbenzodiazepine medications have the same effects. Both of these reduce the brain activity, making patients fall asleep faster than the usual. However, Ambien is more reliable than Xanax in terms of maintaining a deep sleep. Xanax can induce sleep, but it does not guarantee a continuous 7-8 hour sleep after intake.
Another thing common to both medications is that, they possess similar side effects and withdrawal symptoms. To add, both of them are always linked when it comes to substance abuse, or suicidal tendencies. The top concern of medical experts regarding the use of nonbenzodiazepines is its link to acquiring cancer. A report from the “Journal of Sleep Research” states that patients relying on sleep aid medications are exposed to an increased risk for cancer. Both nonbenzodiazepines and benzodiazepines are carcinogenic when tested on rodents. Thus, any unnecessary use should be avoided, and treatment should not take for a very long time.
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