Ambien is a prescription sedative that’s used for the short-term treatment of sleep disorders, including insomnia. It works by entering the bloodstream and binding to receptors in the brain that control sleep and wakefulness. It then enhances the activity of a neurotransmitter called GABA, which slows down brain activity and causes sleepiness. Once it reaches the liver, it’s broken down into inactive metabolites that are eliminated through urine.
Many factors influence how long it takes for Ambien to clear from the body, including age, gender, and body weight. Older adults tend to have slower metabolisms, which means that it takes longer for their bodies to process drugs. People who have more body fat may also retain Ambien in their fatty tissues, causing it to stay in the system for longer. Liver and kidney function can also impact how quickly the body metabolizes Ambien and eliminates it from the system.
The frequency and dosage of Ambien use can also affect how long it stays in the system. Regular users and those who take high doses are more likely to have trace amounts of the drug in their bodies than those who only use it on occasion or took a low dose.
It can be detected in blood, saliva, and hair for up to 48 hours after ingesting the drug. It can also be absorbed through the skin, and some traces of it can be found in the urine for up to five weeks after use. However, this method of testing is considered fairly invasive and is only often used when it’s necessary for a legally mandated test such as during a work-related incident or traffic accident.