SingleCare savings are now available at Costco! Search for your Rx now.

Skip to main content

Belsomra vs Ambien: Main Differences and Similarities

Belsomra and Ambien are two brand name drugs indicated to treat insomnia. While both drugs are able to treat the disorder, they are chemically different with different mechanisms of action. Belsomra works by interacting with orexin receptors while Ambien exerts its effects on GABA A receptors. Both drugs are metabolized similarly and dosed at bedtime. However, there are some differences to note between the two.

Belsomra

Belsomra is also known by its chemical or generic name, suvorexant. There is no generic drug available which means Belsomra may be pricier than other insomnia medications. It works by blocking orexin receptors, which are believed to play a role in wakefulness.

Belsomra is available as an oral tablet with strengths of 5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg, and 20 mg. It is usually dosed as 10 mg taken within 30 minutes of bedtime and with at least 7 hours allowed before waking up. This dose can be increased to a maximum of 20 mg once per day.

Belsomra is primarily metabolized in the liver. It is not recommended for anyone with liver impairment.

Ambien

Ambien is also known by its generic name, zolpidem tartrate. Unlike Belsomra, a generic for Ambien is available on the market. Ambien works by interacting with GABA A receptors to increase inhibitory effects in the brain and ultimately, induce sleep.

Ambien is available as a 5 mg or 10 mg oral tablet. A 5 mg dose is recommended in women and a 5 mg or 10 mg dose is recommended in men. It can be taken immediately before bedtime with 7 to 8 hours of sleep allowed before waking up. Like Belsomra, food can delay effects with Ambien.

Because Ambien is primarily metabolized in the liver, dose adjustments are required for those with liver impairment.

Unlike Belsomra, Ambien is also available in an extended release form. Ambien CR oral tablets come in strengths of 6.25 mg or 12.5 mg.

Belsomra vs Ambien Side by Side Comparison

Belsomra and Ambien are two medications with similar indications. However, they both have some differences. Both of these drugs can be compared in the table below.
 

Belsomra Ambien
Prescribed For
  • Insomnia
  • Insomnia
Drug Classification
  • Nonbarbiturate hypnotic
  • Nonbarbiturate hypnotic
Manufacturer
Common Side Effects
  • Somnolence
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Grogginess
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhea
  • Grogginess
Is there a generic?
  • No generic available
Is it covered by insurance?
  • Varies according to your provider
  • Varies according to your provider
Dosage Forms
  • Oral tablet
  • Oral tablet
  • Oral tablet, extended release
Average Cash Price
  • $380 (per 30 tablets)
  • $561 (per 30 tablets)
SingleCare Discount Price
Drug Interactions
  • CNS depressants
  • Muscle relaxants
  • CYP3A4 inhibitors
  • Medications that may cause drowsiness
  • Digoxin
  • CNS
  • depressants
  • Muscle relaxants
  • CYP3A4 inhibitors
  • Sodium oxybate
  • Medications that may cause drowsiness
Can I use while planning pregnancy, pregnant, or breastfeeding?
  • Belsomra is in Pregnancy Category C. Consult a physician regarding taking Belsomra while pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Ambien is in Pregnancy Category C. Consult a physician regarding taking Ambien while pregnant or breastfeeding.

Summary

Belsomra and Ambien are two medications that can treat insomnia. Both drugs work on different receptors in the brain to induce their sleep effects. They have similar dosing before bedtime with similar effectiveness. However, Ambien is also available as a controlled release form which may benefit those who wake up in the middle of the night even with medication therapy.

Both medications have similar drug interactions with other medications that can cause drowsiness. They also need to be monitored in individuals with liver impairment. Belsomra is not recommended at all in anyone with liver impairment while Ambien can be adjusted to a lower dose.

Because both drugs are classified as Schedule IV by the DEA, their use must be supervised under a physician. This is due to their high potential for abuse and dependence. In addition, they should not be taken while operating machinery or driving.

Overall, it is recommended to be aware of potential side effects and precautions when taking either drug. Use this information as a supplement to discuss with your doctor what medication may be right for you.