jensteveuk, actually there is a new study out that links use of prescription sleep aids such as Ambien and Lunesta to increased cancer rates. The study showed that taking as few as 18 per year increased risk by 4%.. but... people who take them every night increase their risk as much as 32%.... that is about the same as smoking a pack of cigarettes per day!
I took ambien for about two years after my stroke. I quit under my doctors supervision and it still sucked. I urge you not to quit "cold turkey". Talk to your doctor about quitting if you are a regular user.
What I find the most unsettling about the drug is the possibility I'll never sleep again without it. Even back in the "good old days" when I consumed alcohol and caffeinated beverages almost as frequently as inhaling and exhaling I could still sleep. Now, even my sleep is not free anymore.
there are many unknowns in taking newer prescription drugs. one of the side effects of taking ambien is a physical dependence. another is a mental dependence. both have been described above. it has also been related to a large amount of overdoses. originally observed as respiratory failure or even pneumonia it is later found that due to an increased tolerance in the medication. more was taken and even in conjuncture with a small dose opiate and in a couple of cases simple cough medicine combined with ambien causes the lungs to fail. keep tabs on your dose and never overdo it or mix it and you should be okay on that end. to control the physical dependence. whenever possible try to do without it. a dependence on oneself can always overcome any mental dependency to an addictive substance. mind over matter as they say.