A little addendum to the previous post. We’ve all heard the reports that Ambien causes people to sleepwalk, sleep drive (!), and sleep eat. Someone was reported to be chowing down while enveloped in a full body cast. This is hard to imagine but apparently true. This is a potentially dangerous drug, not only to the person who takes it, but to anyone near them. Remember when Halcyon was thought to be totally safe — until the day they discovered that it caused rage attacks?

After two articles and an editorial in the NY Times, Aventis responded with a full-page ad. In addition to telling us how safe it is, they repeated these “key safety tips”:

  1. Always take the drug right before going to bed.
  2. Only take it when you will be able to get a full night’s sleep.
  3. Do not take for extended periods.

Does this make sense? Obviously, everybody is going to take this stuff after they’ve been tossing and turning for a while. And they’ll almost never be able to get a full night’s sleep afterward. In fact, if you don’t take it reactively, as a response to the fact that you can’t sleep and thus breaking rule number two, you’ll have to take it chronically, figuring that you’re a lousy sleeper and you should always take it just in case–thereby breaking rule number three!

This is a drug that cannot be taken according to package directions. No wonder there are problems.

Explore posts in the same categories: Quality of Life

2 Comments on “Ambien”

  1. Yike! Sounds like a scary drug. So much for a good night’s sleep.

  2. Steve Says:

    Here’s a web site about sleep aids I ran across that surveyed the experiences of people on several message boards. Out of 365 respondents, 80 listed sleepwalking as a side effect. Admittedly there is some bias in these results, insofar as people on the boards are “self-selecting” and may have more problems than average users. Still, it’s sobering.

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