Silenor vs Ambien – Comparison of Side Effects & Uses

Silenor

It is the brand name of a drug called doxepin, that belongs to a group of drugs known as tricyclic antidepressants.

Mechanism of Action

It increases the brain’s levels of norepinephrine and serotonin, two chemicals known as neurotransmitters that relay messages in the brain.

Uses

This prescription medication is used to treat insomnia in people who have trouble staying asleep.

Dosage

The usual recommended dose is 6 mg once per day.

Note – it may take 7 to 10 days before your insomnia symptoms improve.

Side Effects and Precautions

Common side effects may include:

  • a sore throat;
  • tired feeling;
  • sneezing;
  • drowsiness;
  • stuffy nose;
  • vision changes;
  • nausea.

Rare side effects may include:

  • unusual weakness;
  • seeing halos around lights;
  • easy bruising or bleeding;
  • eye pain or swelling;
  • little or no urinating;
  • tunnel vision;
  • vomiting;
  • blurred vision;
  • uncontrollable shaking;
  • uneven heart rate;
  • restless muscle movements in your tongue, jaw, eyes, or neck;
  • a feeling like you might pass out;
  • thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself;
  • feeling agitated;
  • trouble sleeping;
  • worsening symptoms of depression;
  • seizure (convulsions);
  • unusual thoughts or behavior.

Contraindications

Before taking this tricyclic antidepressant, tell your healthcare provider if you have:

  • liver disease;
  • sleep apnea (the breathing stops during sleep);
  • diabetes;
  • a history of depression or addiction to drugs;
  • urination problems;
  • if you have ever had glaucoma;
  • kidney disease.

Alcohol

Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages while taking this tricyclic antidepressant since alcohol use can substantially increase the risk of severe side effects.

Drug Interactionsr

It may negatively interact with other medications, especially:

  • Flexeril (cyclobenzaprine);
  • Abilify (aripiprazole);
  • levothyroxine;
  • alprazolam;
  • Lunesta (eszopiclone);
  • Ambien (zolpidem);
  • Lyrica (pregabalin);
  • Ativan (lorazepam);
  • oxycodone;
  • adderall;
  • Belsomra (suvorexant);
  • Prozac (fluoxetine);
  • clonazepam;
  • Synthroid (levothyroxine);
  • Cymbalta (duloxetine);
  • Zoloft (sertraline);
  • gabapentin;
  • Xanax (alprazolam);
  • Klonopin (clonazepam);
  • trazodone;
  • Lexapro (escitalopram);
  • tramadol;
  • melatonin;
  • tracleer;
  • prednisone;
  • metformin.

Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

There are no well-done studies to determine whether this tricyclic antidepressant is safe to use during pregnancy. Tell your healthcare provider that you are pregnant or plan to fall pregnant before using this medication.

It passes into human breast milk and it could negatively affect a breastfed infant. Tell your healthcare provider that you are breastfeeding a baby before using this tricyclic antidepressant.

Ambien

It is the brand name of a drug called zolpidem, which belongs to a class of drugs called sedative-hypnotics.

Mechanism of Action

It acts on the brain to produce a calming effect by increasing the activity of gamma-aminobutyric acid, a chemical in the body that causes sleepiness.

Uses

This prescription medication is used to treat insomnia.

Note – healthcare professionals usually prescribe this medication for 1 to 2 weeks or less since its active ingredient can have some negative side effects.

Dosage

The usual recommended dose is 5 to 10 mg that is taken orally once a day immediately before bedtime.

Drug Interactions

This sedative-hypnotic may negatively interact with other drugs. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you take:

  • sedatives;
  • medications for anxiety;
  • allergy medicines;
  • nexplanon;
  • antidepressants, like sertraline (Zoloft) and imipramine (Tofranil);
  • cold medicines;
  • drugs for mental illness;
  • tranquilizers;
  • Dexmethylphenidate;
  • medicines for seizures;
  • chlorpromazine (Thorazine);
  • pain medicines;
  • rifampin (Rimactane);
  • sleeping pills;
  • antifungal medicines including ketoconazole (Nizoral) and itraconazole (Sporanox);
  • Vyvanse;
  • briviact;
  • miralax;
  • Dulera;
  • elective alpha-2 adrenergic receptor agonists (Lumify).

Side Effects and Precautions

Common side effects may include:

  • headaches;
  • loss of coordination;
  • diarrhea;
  • “drugged” or light-headed feeling;
  • nausea;
  • weakness;
  • dry mouth;
  • tired feeling;
  • stuffy nose;
  • dizziness;
  • nose or throat irritation;
  • daytime drowsiness;
  • constipation;
  • upset stomach;
  • muscle pain.

Rare side effects may include:

  • chest pain;
  • feeling like you might pass out;
  • trouble breathing;
  • fast or irregular heartbeat;
  • problems swallowing;
  • feeling short of breath.

Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

It passes into human breast milk and it could negatively affect a breastfed infant. Tell your healthcare provider that you are breastfeeding a baby before using this sedative-hypnotic.

There are no well-done studies to determine whether this sedative-hypnotic is safe to use during pregnancy. Tell your healthcare provider that you are pregnant or plan to fall pregnant before using this sedative-hypnotic.

Contraindications

To make sure that this sedative-hypnotic is safe for you, tell your healthcare provider if you have:

  • a history of mental illness, depression, or suicidal thoughts;
  • liver disease;
  • a history of drug addiction;
  • sleep apnea (the breathing stops during sleep);
  • a lung disease like – bronchitis, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or emphysema;
  • myasthenia gravis (a long-term autoimmune neuromuscular disease which causes weakness in the skeletal muscles);
  • kidney disease.

Alcohol

Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages while taking this sedative-hypnotic since alcohol use can substantially increase the risk of severe side effects.

Bottom Line – Silenor vs Ambien

Silenor (doxepin) is a prescription medication that is used to treat insomnia (trouble with sleeping), anxiety and depression.

Ambien (active ingredient – zolpidem) is a sedative that affects chemicals in the brain which may be unbalanced in sufferers with insomnia.

In conclusion, both medications are used to treat sleep problems but they have different active ingredients and mechanism of action. Also, they both have plenty of side effects.

Regarding their price, the average retail price for 30 tablets of Silenor 6mg is $445, while the average retail price for 30 tablets of Ambien 5mg is $601.

References

https://www.pbm.va.gov/PBM/clinicalguidance/drugmonographs/Doxepin_Low_
https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/nda/2010/022036Orig1s000MedR.pdf
https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20080415005702/en/Somaxon-

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