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FDA requires doctors to lower doses of Ambien prescribed to women

Countless medical studies prove the importance of sleep. Individuals who do not get adequate amounts of sleep often suffer physically and mentally. Yet for a variety of reasons, millions of Americans have difficulty both falling and staying asleep at night. Desperate for a good night’s sleep, many of these individuals take prescription sleep medications.

Doctors write an estimated 60 million prescriptions each year for sleeping pills. Nearly 40 million of these prescriptions are for drugs containing the ingredient zolpidem. The most well-known and used prescription sleep drug that contains zolpidem is Ambien. The ingredient is also found in the prescription sleep drugs Edluar, Zolpimist and Ambien CR.

While millions of Americans credit these drugs with allowing them to get a good night’s rest, there is growing concern over possible negative side effects. In fact, in recent years there have been several reports of car accidents caused by drivers who had taken Ambien or another sleep drugs containing zolpidem.

Most recently, the daughter of Robert F. Kennedy was involved in a car accident in which witnesses claimed to observe her driving erratically prior to crashing her vehicle into a semi truck. When police approached arrived on the scene they found Kennedy slumped over and asleep. Toxicology reports indicate she had zolpidem in her bloodstream at the time of the accident.

Concern over the possible negative side effects related to Ambien has prompted officials at the Federal Drug Administration to require doctors to lower cut the dosages of the drug they prescribe in half. So far, the requirement to lower the doses relates only to women as medical research indicates women are disproportionately impacted by the drug’s ill effects.

Individuals, who are currently taking Ambien or another prescription sleep aid containing zolpidem, are encouraged to speak with their health care provider. Women would be wise to reduce the dosage they take of these medications be one-half and men would also be wise to also consider reducing the dosage they take.

Our St. Louis law firm helps individuals who have suffered adverse side effects from taking a prescription drug.

Source: The New York Daily News, “Ambien does is too high, especially for women: FDA,” Bill Hutchinson, Jan. 11, 2013

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