FDA: Insomnia Drugs and Traffic Accident Concerns
Michael RobertsJanuary 30, 2013 4:55 PM
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Last July, late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy’s daughter, Kerry, was cited for hit-and-run after colliding with a tractor-trailer and leaving the scene of the accident.
"A subsequent investigation found Kennedy to be operating the motor vehicle while her ability was impaired by drugs," police told the media.
That drug was Ambien. Those who suffer from insomnia are well-familiar with the sedative or its brand name and generic counterparts. According to ABC News last year, that number amounts to more than 60 million Americans.
“But,” as ABC News also stated, “for a drug that's supposed to help you sleep, it's amazing how active you can be and not know it.”
Drugs.com warned that Ambien users have been known to drive, eat, or make phone calls and not remember doing so later.
“Kerry Kennedy's cousin, former Rhode Island Rep. Patrick Kennedy crashed into a barrier near Capitol Hill, saying he had been disoriented after taking Ambien,” ABC News reported.
To minimize the number of Ambien-related traffic accidents, the FDA has now ordered drug companies to halve their dosages of zolpidem-containing medications. For women, who take longer to cycle the drug out of their bloodstream, that means 5 mg of immediate-release Ambien and 6.25 mg of extended release Ambien, per Consumer Reports.
The FDA’s decision stems from “700 reports of people whose driving ability was impaired or who were in an automobile accident after taking the medication,” Consumer Reports stated.
Drugs.com suggested waiting at least four hours after waking before driving, and Consumer Reports recommended speaking with your doctor about lowering your dosage.