Drug Interaction Between Zyrtec And Ambien

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses the potential drug interaction between Zyrtec and Ambien.


Do cetirizine and zolpidem share the same pill description? My cetirizine pill has APO on the front and 10mg on the other side. When I looked up the pill description, it says it's zolpidem. They almost look alike but one is more oval. Also, can they both be taken together in the same day.

Asked by Bre On Jun 22, 2018

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By PharmacistAnswers Staff

On Jun 22, 2018

There is a moderate interaction between Zyrtec (cetirizine) and Ambien (zolpidem), and they generally should not be taken at the same time. Both drugs cause CNS (central nervous system) depression) and additive drowsiness/sedation may occur if used together.

The interaction isn't considered major however as there are no reports of serious adverse effects, such as respiratory depression, when both drugs have been used together. In addition, both can generally be taken in the same day if Zyrtec is taken in the morning and Ambien at night. Nevertheless, these medications should only be taken together under the recommendation and supervision of a medical professional.

In regard to the similarities in tablet appearance between Ambien and Zyrtec, many different tablets may have the same or very similar markings on them. They may only vary in color, size, shape or scoring on the tablet. If you are ever not sure what a medication is, consult your pharmacist before taking it.

In this specific case, Apotex is a generic manufacturer of both cetirizine and zolpidem, and they do imprint their tablets with "APO" on one side and the mg strength on the other side. Since zolpidem and cetirizine are both 10mg, they will look very similar. Check with your local pharmacist to confirm the pills.

About the Pharmacist

Dr. Adam DeRue Pharm.D

Dr. Adam DeRue is a Doctor Of Pharmacy and registered pharmacist. He graduated from the Albany College of Pharmacy in 2008.

About Zyrtec (Cetirizine)

Zyrtec (cetirizine) is a "second-generation" antihistamine, indicated for the treatment and prevention of perennial allergies, seasonal allergies and hives. At indicated doses (5mg and 10mg), it generally has a higher incidence of sedation than other second-generation antihistamines, such as Allegra (fexofenadine) and Claritin (loratadine). Nevertheless, it still causes less sedation than older, first-generation antihistamines such as Benadryl. Zyrtec is taken once daily, with an onset of action around one hour.

About Ambien (Zolpidem)

Ambien (Zolpidem) is a sedative-hypnotic for the short-term treatment of insomnia, similar to benzodiazepine drugs but is chemically unrelated. It does however, share a similar mechanism of action to benzodiazepines. After taking by mouth, Ambien has a rapid onset of action, with effects occurring 15-20 minutes. It should be taken immediately before going to bed and you should intend to sleep for at least 7 to 8 hours to prevent next day sedation. Zolpidem is available in a variety of different dosage forms including an extended-release formulation (Ambien CR), an oral spray (Zolpimist) and a sublingual tablet (Intermezzo).

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