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Ambien Sedative-Hypnotic Sleep Dangers

BREAKING NEWS- January 10, 2013: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning doctors and patients about the risk of next-morning impairment after use of sleep aids. The FDA is now requiring lower recommended doses for certain insomnia drugs containing zolpidem (Ambien, Ambien CR, Edluar, and Zolpimist).

“FDA recommends that the bedtime dose be lowered because new data show that blood levels in some patients may be high enough the morning after use to impair activities that require alertness, including driving,” FDA.


Ambien (zolpidem tartrate) is a sedative-hypnotic sleep aid approved by the FDA in 1993 for the short-term treatment of insomnia. It is currently the top selling sleep aid in the United States, with millions of prescriptions filled every year. Unfortunately, as the drug has become more popular, there have been more and more instances of dangerous and potentially deadly side-effects reported.


One of the most serious side-effects associated with Ambien is referred to as Parasomnia. Parasomnia is a condition of semi-consciousness which occurs when a person is half asleep and half awake. Ambien received national attention when several states reported spikes in the number of Ambien-users involved in Parasomnia-induced sleep-driving.

  • In 2006, the New York Times reported that Ambien was among the top 10 drugs found in the system of impaired drivers and officials from the state of Wisconsin identified Ambien in the bloodstreams of 187 arrested drivers from 1999 to 2004.
  • In 2007, the FDA mandated that the makers of sedative-hypnotic drug products update their labels to warn against the dangers of “complex sleep-related behaviors, which may include sleep-driving.”

Parasomnia has led many people to act out other sleep behaviors like making phone calls, binge eating, and having sex. Other behaviors which led to injury and became bases for Ambien lawsuits include:

  • Sleepwalking
  • Memory loss or amnesia
  • Falling asleep while operating heavy machinery
  • Daytime sleepiness or feeling of being drugged, resulting in an accident or fall
  • Hallucinations
  • Depression
  • Dissociation
  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviors
  • Addiction
  • Temporary insomnia


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