Ambien: Before You Count Sheep, Count Your Milligrams

When it is time to turn in, many Americans turn to a bottle. In the wrong dosage, drugs containing zolpidem, like Ambien, Ambien CR and Zolpimist are popular sleep-aids that may offer more than a good night of sleep.

For years, anecdotal and other reports of so-called sleep driving have dogged the manufacturers of Ambien. While, Sanofi, the manufacturer of Ambien stands by the safety of the drug, the drug label warns: Abnormal thinking, behavioral changes and complex behaviors: May include “sleep-driving” and hallucinations. Immediately evaluate any new onset behavioral changes.

Part of the danger of zolpidem is that its effects are not limited to night-time. Given the varying body size and physiologic function of men and women, zolpidem can remain in the body for the morning rush hour drive.

The use of any drug that causes impairment day and night is questionable. In the case of Ambien, impaired driving, assault, manslaughter and other charges have been leveled against those who claim defense by Ambien.

In January of this year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended lowering the standard dosage of drugs containing zolpidem. In its announcement, the FDA noted the following:

  • Drugs taken for insomnia may impair driving at night and during the morning
  • Higher morning blood level concentrations of zolpidem are found in patients taking the extended release form of the drug, Ambien CR
  • To lower morning blood levels of zolpidem, the FDA recommends prescribing the lowest possible dose of zolpidem that will effectively address insomnia in each patient

If you take a product containing zolpidem, talk to your doctor about the dose. If injured by someone taking zolpidem, talk to us.

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