The drug Ambien, also known as zolpidem, is sedative used to help individuals who have a hard time sleeping by way of altering certain chemical in your brain that causes insomnia and has been on the market for two decades now. There are different functions of the product, one layer that helps the person fall asleep, another layer that helps the user stay asleep through an extended-release (the second layer is found in the Ambien CR version of the product). While many individuals are rather keen on using this drug for their nightly dosage of sleep, the Food and Drug Administration has now determined that there are too many individuals complaining that the drug is having too long of an effect, making people drowsy even in the morning. The FDA states that these complaints are not minor either, as a result of the medicine many of the Ambien consumers are stating that they have been involved in car accidents as a result of their severe drowsiness.
As a result of these complaints and subsequent car accidents, the FDA has decided to take action and call all users of the drug to lower the prescription, particularly in woman. Prior to making the definite decision to require a dosage alteration, the FDA conducted numerous tests and have in fact confirmed that those who took Ambien the night before are less safe when behind the wheel of a car the following morning. The dosage has now been significantly reduced to half the originally prescribed amount. The FDA also requires any other drugs containing the zolpidem ingredient (the most common in sleep medications) must decrease the dosages as well. What are the effects of reducing the dosage, then? The FDA states that as the users lower their intact by half prior to going to sleep, in the morning there will be less of a trace remaining in their blood stream, therefore allowing them to have more awareness when driving their vehicle.
According to recent studies, there were over 60 million total medical prescriptions given out in America just in 2011, an alleged increase of 20% since 2006. What is most shocking is that out of the 60 million, 40 million of them were for sleep aid medications with the zolpidem ingredient used. Why are there so many people dependent on sleep aids today? Studies assume that is because every generation we continue to become more and more of a fast paced society, seeking to accomplish more and therefore giving up sleep to do so. Eventually because of our many years of sleep deprivation, we are then unable to well in the future. Perhaps it is our diets or our genetics? Though no one knows for certain the true cause.
The FDA shares that the reason women are the primary focus in this study is due to the fact that the drug actually takes longer for their bodies to metabolize the drug than it does for men, making it last longer in their blood stream after their nights rest. In their findings, according to Dr. Robert Temple with the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, they discovered that there are between 10-15% of woman who would have enough of the zolpidem in their blood stream the following morning to impair their driving, whereas the statistic is a mere 3% for men. Despite the “recent findings” of the FDA, many medical professionals are saying that this is not shocking as they have heard complaints from their patients already. Hopefully this will help patients realize how important it is to be honest with their doctors about prescriptions and side effects, and to raise concerns when things similar to this occur.
So then, why hasn’t action been taken previously? As a result of the over dosage of this drug, many individuals are having their lives placed at risks of a car accident, both the drivers themselves as well as others on the road. The FDA openly acknowledged that over the past few years with people on the drug, there have been an estimated 700 reports of car accidents as a result of the severe drowsiness. In the event that you have experienced these dangerous side effects from the drug, or were recently in an accident with someone on the drug, contact an experienced Montgomery personal injury lawyer today! At Morris, Andrews, Talmadge & Driggers, LLC we are committed to doing whatever we can to help you fight for compensation after an injury or a pharmaceutical error. Call us today for more information!