What is the Cost of Ambien Without Insurance?

According to a 2005 poll by the National Sleep Foundation, more than half of adults in the United States reported experiencing at least one symptom of insomnia several times a week over the course of the previous year.

As the boundaries between home and work are increasingly disappearing, it’s no surprise that busy schedules often amount to not enough sleep. An estimated 63 percent of women and 54 percent of men experience insomnia on a regular basis, and for many years, the only medical options were less than ideal.

Then, Ambien was released to the market in 1992, offering the first viable insomnia medication since Halcion, which often faced legal challenges. Zolpidem tartrate, the generic form of Ambien, has since become available, allowing millions of people to experience a good night’s sleep for the first time in years. But how much does Zolpidem tartrate cost? 

Ambien (Zolpidem Tartrate)

Ambien is a prescription medicine that is used for the short-term treatment of insomnia in adults. It is primarily used to help people with insomnia fall asleep faster; it does not have any substantial effect on the duration of maintenance of sleep.

Zolpidem tartrate is the generic version of Ambien. The average retail price of Ambien can be up more than $729.33 for 30, 10MG Tablets or more depending on the quantity and dosage prescribed.

Zolpidem tartrate is a sedative or hypnotic non-benzodiazepine GABA-A that is FDA approved for the treatment of insomnia. Zolpidem tartrate was first approved by the FDA in 1992 under the brand name Ambien, and today it is manufactured in both a generic form and under numerous brand names, including Ambien, Ambien CR, Intermezzo, Edluar, and Zolpimist.

Zolpidem tartrate can be prescribed in the form of immediate-release tablets, extended-release tablets, sublingual tablets, and an oral spray. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency classifies zolpidem tartrate as a controlled substance due to its potential for abuse and dependence, and it is recommended for short-term use only.

What is zolpidem tartrate used to treat?

Zolpidem tartrate is one of several different prescription drugs that are intended to treat insomnia, or trouble sleeping. The medication is a central nervous system depressant (CNS depressant) and is most commonly prescribed to people who have tried improving their sleep hygiene through behavior changes or who have already tried counseling. Zolpidem tartrate is helpful for people who have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or both. 


According to the National Sleep Foundation, insomnia is a common sleep disorder that affects about 10 percent of the population, while an estimated 30 percent of people suffer from disrupted sleep.

People with insomnia commonly experience symptoms that include trouble falling asleep,  waking up too early,  waking up frequently and being unable to fall back asleep, and waking up feeling tired. In order to be diagnosed with insomnia, a patient must experience these symptoms at least a few nights per week over the course of a year.

Some people experience acute insomnia, which is short-term insomnia that lasts anywhere from one night to several weeks, while other people have a chronic form of the condition, which is defined as experiencing symptoms on three or more nights per week for three months or more. 

When insomnia cannot be linked to any other medical condition or problem, it is called primary insomnia. Insomnia is considered secondary insomnia when it is linked to a health condition or substance abuse.

There are many different factors that can contribute to insomnia, including both environmental factors and health issues. Significant life events, stress, the noise level, lighting, and temperature in the room where you’re trying to sleep can all contribute to insomnia, as can changes to your sleep schedule and jet lag.

Consuming alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, or a heavy meal can also cause a disruption in sleep, and it’s also possible that some people are biologically predisposed to the condition.

How does zolpidem tartrate work to treat insomnia?

Zolpidem tartrate affects the chemicals in the brain that impact sleep; these chemicals are often unbalanced in people who suffer from insomnia. The medication works by binding to the neurotransmitter, GABA, and triggering additional activity.

This extra activity works by counteracting the neuron activity that is associated with insomnia. Put more simply, zolpidem tartrate slows down the brain without disturbing psychomotor activity, allowing people to fall asleep more quickly.

The immediate-release form of the medication is designed to help people fall asleep quickly, while the extended-release version uses two layers: one to help you fall asleep quickly and a second that dissolves slowly to help you stay asleep.

How much does zolpidem tartrate cost?

Zolpidem tartrate is a generic medication, which helps keep costs low. When purchased in its brand name form, Ambien, the cost of the medication is significantly higher. The costs of Ambien and zolpidem tartrate are compared below for reference.

Zolpidem tartrate is available in an immediate-release oral tablet, a sublingual tablet, an extended-release oral tablet, and an oral spray. Most commercial insurance plans, as well as Medicare and Medicaid, cover the generic form of the medication, but regardless of your insured status, pharmacy discount cards can offer savings as well.

Manufacturers’ coupons and patient assistance programs may be available for the brand-name version of the drug through the manufacturer’s website.

What are the benefits of using zolpidem tartrate?

People who struggle to fall asleep or sleep through the night may benefit from the use of zolpidem tartrate. The medication was first introduced in 1992 under the brand name Ambien, and it has been carefully studied and tested in clinical trials to see how it helps people overcome insomnia. The benefits of zolpidem tartrate include:

  • Zolpidem tartrate works to initiate the sleep process
  • The medication begins to take effect within 30 minutes 
  • Many patients see their sleep problems improve in just seven to ten days when taking the medication.

What are the side effects of Ambien?

The most common side effects of Ambien are drowsiness, dizziness, and diarrhea. Other possible side effects include memory problems, nausea, headache, abnormal dreams, rash, constipation, and lightheadedness. Consult your healthcare provider if side effects persist or worsen.

Do not take Ambien if you are allergic to any active ingredients in the medication. Allergic reactions have been reported with Ambien. Seek medical attention if you experience signs or symptoms of an allergic reaction, including swelling of the tongue or throat and trouble breathing.

The use of Ambien may cause abnormal thought patterns and behavioral changes, such as agitation and depersonalization. Ambien may also worsen or increase the risk of depression in some people. Contact your healthcare provider if you experience mood changes while taking Ambien.

Tell your healthcare professional if you have liver problems before taking Ambien. 

You may also experience other side effects not listed here. Consult your healthcare provider for medical advice on other possible side effects, warnings, and precautions before taking Ambien.

Zolpidem tartrate is a commonly used medication, but it is associated with many side effects, some of which can be serious and may require you seek medical help. Common side effects of zolpidem tartrate use include:

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

Serious but rare adverse effects associated with zolpidem tartrate include:

  • Symptoms of depression, such as:
    • Lack of energy or general sleepiness
    • Weight loss or weight gain
    • Suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming yourself
    • Loss of interest in activities you enjoy
    • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
    • Trouble concentrating or thinking
  • Doing activities while asleep in the middle of the night that you have no memory of the next morning or next day, including:
    • Sleep-Driving
    • Having sex
    • Eating or preparing food
    • Making phone calls
    • Sleep walking
  • Abnormal thoughts or behaviors, as indicated by:
    • Increased agitation
    • Being more outgoing than normal
    • Hallucinations
  • Trouble breathing/breathing problems, as demonstrated by:
    • Tiredness
    • Shallow breathing
    • Slowed breathing
    • Decreased oxygen in your blood
  • Amnesia
  • Allergic reactions, as evidenced by:
    • Swelling of the tongue or face
    • Trouble breathing

Are there any warnings associated with zolpidem tartrate use?

There are several warnings associated with the use of zolpidem tartrate, particularly as people are first getting used to how the medication affects them. Zolpidem tartrate comes with the following warnings for use:

  • Make sure to get a full night of sleep (7-8 hrs minimum) any time that you take zolpidem tartrate. People who do not get enough sleep while taking the medication can experience possible side effects such as somnolence, slower reaction times, and decreased awareness, which can be particularly dangerous when driving. 
  • The medication has been known to cause abnormal behaviors, including hallucinations,  increased agitation, and an “out of body” feeling. If you experience any of these side effects, you should talk to your healthcare provider about your experiences. 
  • When use of zolpidem tartrate is stopped abruptly, it can cause withdrawal symptoms. It’s recommended that patients gradually taper down their usage of the drug under a doctor’s supervision. Withdrawal symptoms associated with zolpidem tartrate can include sweating, reddening or warming of the skin,  muscle cramps, vomiting, and emotional changes. Rebound insomnia is also possible. 
  • Make sure to take zolpidem tartrate on an empty stomach to maximize the effectiveness of the medication.
  • Drinking alcohol when taking zolpidem tartrate can dangerously increase your risk of sedation and drowsiness. Do not drink alcohol while taking zolpidem tartrate. 
  • Patients who have had an allergic reaction to any of the ingredients in zolpidem tartrate should not take the medication, as it can trigger a severe allergic reaction. A second allergic reaction to the medication or its ingredients could be fatal.
  • People under the age of 18 should not take zolpidem tartrate, as no studies have been done to determine the effects of the medication on children. Keep the medication out of the reach of children at all times. 
  • People with liver problems or liver disease should take a lower dose of the medication in order to reduce their risk of side effects, as they may have difficulty processing zolpidem tartrate.
  • Zolpidem tartrate should not be taken by women who are pregnant or nursing as it may pass to the baby or to breast milk
  • Zolpidem tartrate tablets should only be used for the short term treatment of insomnia, as the sedative-hypnotic medication can be habit-forming.
  • Drug interactions according to zolpidem tartrate’s medication guide include ketoconazole (a potent CYP3A4 inhibitor and anticonvulsant) and St. john’s Wort (a CYP3A4 inducer)–the dose of zolpidem may need to be altered because of these metabolization changers. 
  • Patients with myasthenia gravis, sleep apnea, or mental illness should consult a healthcare professional for medical advice to see if this drug would be appropriate or if the risk for adverse events may be too high. 

Ambien FAQs

How much does Ambien cost without insurance?

Without insurance, you could pay as much as $729.33 for 30, 10MG Tablet on an Ambien prescription at local pharmacies. The average cost of Ambien without insurance will depend on the quantity and dosage prescribed.

Using a discount card could help reduce the cost of Ambien without insurance. Ask the pharmacist at your local pharmacy to run your savings card and see if you could pay as little as $5.23 for 30, 10MG tablets of generic Ambien.

How much does Ambien cost with insurance?

Check with your pharmacy or insurance company to determine your copay with insurance coverage, as these costs usually vary based on your insurance plan.

With a card, you could pay as little as $5.23 for 30, 10MG tablets of generic Ambien. The cost could be cheaper than the copay with your insurance. 

Does Medicare cover Ambien and how much does it cost?

Medicare plans do not usually cover Ambien. However, Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare Part D plans may cover the generic version of Ambien, zolpidem tartrate.

The cost of Ambien with Medicare varies based on the plan. Some people may find they save more with an Ambien card than with Medicare coverage. Check with your pharmacist to find the lowest cash prices available for your Ambien prescription.

How to save on Ambien

Currently, there are no manufacturer coupons or patient assistance options available for Ambien from Sanofi Aventis. There may be third-party patient assistance programs available to help eligible patients purchase Ambien at a discount or for free.

You can contact organizations like Rx Outreach for more information on discount programs and to see if you’re eligible for patient assistance.

If you want to save money on your Ambien prescription, you may be able to use an Ambien coupon Usually, the average retail cost of Ambien is around $729.33 for a 30, 10MG Tablet, but with an Ambien coupon card, you could owe as little as $5.23 for 30, 10MG Tablet of generic Ambien.

Is there a generic of Ambien?

Ambien is a brand-name prescription drug that is manufactured by Sanofi Aventis. The generic version of Ambien is zolpidem tartrate.

What is Ambien?

Ambien is a prescription medication that is used as a temporary treatment for insomnia in adults. Zolpidem tartrate is the active ingredient in Ambien. It is classified as a nonbarbiturate hypnotic drug that works by interacting with GABA receptors in the brain. The effects on GABA receptors lead to decreased nerve activity in the brain and sedation. 

Ambien should only be taken as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Consult your healthcare provider if insomnia does not resolve within 7 to 10 days of using Ambien.

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