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A Sleeping Pill for Those who Wake Up in the Middle of the Night

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There are millions of people who have trouble with a good night's rest. Some people have trouble falling asleep and yet others wake up early in the morning. Now there is a new formula of the Ambien that has just been approved by the FDA to help people who wake up in the middle of the night and can't fall back to sleep.

The new formula of Ambien is called Intermezzo. The dose of Intermezzo is 1.75 mg for women and 3.5 mg for men. The reason for the different doses is due to the slower clearance rate in women. The standard dose of Ambien for sleep is 5-10 mg each night. (1)

Dr. Temple, Deputy Director of Clinical Science in the FDA’s center for Drug Evaluation and Research says that this formula will be of great benefit for people who wake up in the middle of the night and have difficulty returning to sleep.

Unlike the original Ambien this novel formula is much safer. With the lower dose there is also a less risk of lingering side effects like drowsiness and dizziness.
This new formula has been evaluated in two clinical trials and found to be very effective. The most common side effect reported included nausea, headache and fatigue. (2)

As with all other sleep medications, Intermezzo should not be combined with other similar drugs or alcohol. However, just like Ambien the drug can lead to development of physical dependence and tolerance.

Intermezzo does require a prescription and is now available in the United States. However, the pill is expensive and the cost may vary from $2-$3 per pill.


1. Roth et al. Low dose sublingual zolpidem. Sleep. 2008 Sep;31(9):1277-84.

2. Staner et al. Sublingual zolpidem is more effective. Sleep Med. 2009 Jun;10(6):616-20. Epub 2008 Nov 8.

Reviewed November 25, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



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