Rozerem Vs. Ambien: My Personal Experience with Two Prescription Sleep Aids

When insomnia hits, people often have trouble sleeping at night, but then get tired and need to nap during the day.
When insomnia hits, people often have trouble sleeping at night, but then get tired and need to nap during the day. | Source

My Struggle with Insomnia

Readers of my articles over the years already know that I suffer through bouts of periodic insomnia. When these episodes hit, I find it very difficult to sleep for more than a few hours each night. In fact, my average night's sleep is about 3 hours during these times. Sometimes lasting a few weeks and sometimes extending over a period of months, these episodes of not being able to sleep generally impair my quality of life enough to seek medical intervention.

First I tried Ambien...

For years, my doctor would prescribe Ambien for my insomnia. According to WebMD, Ambien (also known by the generic name zolpidem) is the most popular prescription sleep aid in the world, used safely in millions of people worldwide. Ambien works well for most people, and indeed, for many years it was successful in treating my insomnia.

After several years, however, I started to notice that Ambien didn't work the same for me anymore. Ambien used to put me to sleep within 30 minutes, but now I could take it and still lay awake for hours. My doctor switched my prescription to Ambien CR for awhile, which is the controlled-release version of zolpidem, but this still didn't seem to do the trick. I still wasn't sleeping well.

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Ambien comes in different dosages, and generic versions are also now available.
Ambien comes in different dosages, and generic versions are also now available. | Source

I Needed Something Different, So I Tried Rozerem

After consulting with my doctor about my ongoing sleeping problems, she suggested that I give a newer sleep aid called Rozerem a try. Rozerem is also available only with a doctors prescription, however, according to this Mayo Clinic article, Rozerem works in a completely different way from Ambien. Instead of sedating the brain like Ambien does, the Mayo clinic states that Rozerem works with the body's natural melatonin system to promote sleep.

Because of the unique method of method of action of Rozerem, it is not a controlled substance like Ambien is, and the manufacturer states that Rozerem is unlikely to cause addiction or "rebound insomnia," where a patient's insomnia actually gets worse after stopping the sleep aid. I was personally impressed by Rozerem's safety profile, but would it help me get to sleep?

The Verdict: Rozerem Didn't Work for Me

Unfortunately for me, the answer was a resounding "no." Whereas Ambien would eventually get me to sleep (even if it took some time), the sleep just never came with Rozerem. In my experience, I could feel the Ambien working and making me tired. With Rozerem, that tired feeling just never came and I felt as though I hadn't taken anything to help me sleep.

In my personal experience, Ambien worked much better for me than the prescription sleep aid Rozerem. Rozerem may be a good option for those with very light insomnia, but I don't believe it is a good option for someone with chronic insomnia. Only your doctor can decide which prescription sleep medicine is the right option for you, so be sure to discuss the pros and cons of any medication you may take with your healthcare provider.

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