To combat insomnia, there are a variety of treatments out there, including the use of sleep aids such as the popular drug, Ambien. Over 16 million Americans currently take Ambien per year. This popular drug is also known as zolpidem, a hypnotic sedative that helps consumers fall asleep and stay asleep for more restful sleep.
The Dangers Associated With Ambien (zolpidem)
Ambien has become quite the controversial drug. Ambien sleep aids have been linked to a variety of strange parasomnia sleep activities. These strange behaviors have led both consumers and federal regulators such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to question whether dosages should be changed to prevent these complications.
The FDA recently published recommendations that women should lower their dosages of Ambien (zolpidem) by half. This recommendation is intended to account for a slower absorption rate than their male counterparts. Their studies concluded that women who had taken Ambien the night before could still have the drug active in their system 8 hours later and be a risk to others.
Ambien has been identified as a risk factor for the following:
- sleep driving, including 700 reported driving accidents while "asleep" on Ambien
- sleep eating
- sleep walking
A group of researchers at Scripps Health in San Diego identified that in 2010, hypnotic sleep aids like Ambien were the cause for nearly a half a million "excess deaths". These researchers found that sleep aid users were three times more likely to die than people who did not use sleep aids.
This evidence echoes a similar study in Sweden where researchers in 2009 found that frequent users of sleep aids were between 2 and 4.5 times more likely to die early depending upon their gender.
If You Have Been Injured
Over 70 million Americans take prescription sleep aids every year. According to a growing body of evidence, Ambien (zolpidem) may be responsible for a host of alleged risky behaviors. If you have been injured as a result of taking Ambien, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. You should consult an experienced product liability attorney to determine whether or not you have a case. When people are injured by products available on the market, it can be beneficial to report these injuries and to consult an attorney to determine the best course of action.