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Ambien ER Visits Rise 220 Percent

Karis Rozof4 years ago

There has been a huge spike in the number of emergency-room visits related to sleep medication such as Ambien, says a new study out by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

“Although short-term sleeping medications can help patients, it is exceedingly important that they be carefully used and monitored,” SAMHSA administrator Pamela Hyde said in an agency press release. “Physicians and patients need to be aware of the potential adverse reactions associated with any medication, and work closely together to prevent or quickly address any problems that may arise.”

Researchers found people having adverse reactions to prescription sleep aids were up 220 percent between 2005 and 2010. According to WebMD, these hospital visits are tied to the active ingredient zolpidem, which is in the following list of sleep aids.

  • Ambien
  • Ambien CR
  • Edluar
  • Zolpimist

Common side effects of zolpidem include

  • Day Dizziness
  • Daytime drowsiness
  • Hallucinations
  • Agitation
  • Sleep-walking
  • Drowsiness while driving

SAMHSA Study Findings

  • Researchers analyzed data from a public health surveillance system that monitors drug-related illnesses and death.
  • In 2005 there were about 6,000 E.R. visits related to zolpidem.
  • In 2010 there were more than 19,000 E.R. visits related to zolpidem.
  • They found that in 2010 half of these visits involved a reaction to other drugs.
  • Adverse reactions were worse when taken with other substances such as narcotic pain relievers or anti-anxiety medication.
  • Drugs containing zolpidem should only be used for the short-term treatment of insomnia.
  • Adults ages 45 and older were involved in most cases.
  • Women were more often affected than men, they accounted for 68 percent of all E.R. visits.
FDA Recommendations
  • The FDA is now requiring drug companies to decrease the recommended dose for women in half, as of January 2013.
  • The FDA also recommends that drug manufacturers cut the dosage for men.
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