Stilnox Side Effects

Updated May 10, 2017

Stilnox is classified as a sedative/hypnotic drug used to treat sleep disorders. Over 30 million Americans are affected by insomnia, 51 per cent lose sleep due to stress and or anxiety and approximately 10 million Americans use prescription sleep medications to cope with insomnia. Stilnox is a drug used to aid with these problems. Stilnox is a short term prescription drug that affects chemicals in the brain that may become unbalanced and cause insomnia.


According to "Stilnox has a different chemical structure to other sleeping tablets. Stilnox works by binding to special sites in the brain which produce sleep." The active ingredient in Stilnox is zolpidem tartate. It is effective in aiding sleep disorders such as difficulty falling asleep, waking up in the middle of the night, waking up too early in the morning and not going back to sleep. It is available in tablet form and is normally prescribed for seven to ten days.

Less Serious Side Effects

Side effects may include nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea or constipation. In addition there may be headache and drowsiness with dizziness or clumsiness. Other symptoms may include aches and pains in the muscles, abnormal dreams or loss of memory (after a dose of the medication) or depression. Contact your doctor for advice for any of these symptoms.

Serious Side Effects

These side effects are serious in relation to your safety and the safety of others. They include sleep walking, driving while apparently asleep and doing other dangerous activities while apparently asleep such as, making phone calls, preparing and eating food and having sexual intercourse. Usually there is no memory of these occurrences. The use of alcohol can increase the risk of these behaviours. Contact your doctor for advice.

Allergic Reaction

An allergic reaction is a serious medical emergency. The symptoms may include a rash, hives with itching and swelling of the face, mouth and tongue or throat. In addition there may be shortness of breath and difficulty breathing along with hallucinations, severe confusion or abnormal behaviour. Seek immediate emergency medical care for any of these problems.


Rebound insomnia occurs after a sleeping medication is discontinued and may cause difficulty falling asleep for the first few nights. This should be resolved in one or two nights by itself. Stilnox is a habit forming drug and if used for a long period and stopped suddenly symptoms of withdrawal may develop. These symptoms may include vomiting, sweating and abdominal cramps. Contact your doctor for advice.


Discuss with your doctor any other medications you may be taking including herbal products or over the counter drugs. Drugs like pain relievers, muscle relaxant and other medication may interact with Stilnox. Do not drink alcohol while taking Stilnox Do not take Stilnox for more than four weeks. Stilnox will cause drowsiness and may cause dizziness. See how it will affect your alertness before driving or operating machinery.

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About the Author

Norma Chew is a retired registered nurse who has been a freelance writer since 1978. Chew's articles have appeared in the "Journal of the Association of Operating Room Nurses" (AORN), "Point of View Magazine" and "Today's OR Nurse." Chew has a master's degree in health care administration from Nova Southeastern University.