Ambien Side Effects
Ambien, a sedative-hypnotic sleep aid, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1992 for treating short-term insomnia. Millions of Ambien prescriptions are filled each year, making it the top-selling sleep aid in the United States. There are several common side effects associated with Ambien, including:
Ambien may also lead to more serious adverse events, including severe allergic reaction, abnormal thinking and behavioral changes, visual and auditory hallucinations, agitation, depersonalization, and parasomnia.
Ambien Sleepwalking and Sleep Driving
Many patients taking Ambien have reported doing complex behaviors, such as driving while sleep, after taking Ambien. Other behaviors, such as preparing and eating food and talking on the phone have also been reported. In some cases, patients do not remember such events when they occur. Serious and fatal accidents can occur if semi-conscious individuals drive a car or operate other heavy machinery.
These behaviors are referred to as parasomnias. Anything that occurs abnormally while people sleep can be categorized as a parasomnia. Parasomnias include:
- Night terrors
- Sleep eating
- Sleep paralysis
- Sleep talking
- Sleep hallucinations
Confusional Arousals and Ambien
Sedative and hypnotic drugs like Ambien have central nervous system depressing effects. Confusional arousals, or acting strangely shortly after waking up, is another serious side effect. In 2013, the FDA approved a label change for zolpidem-containing medications such as Ambien. The FDA changed the dosage recommendations due to the increased risk of next-morning impairment.
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