Ambien’s lingering effects may pose driving dangers
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is requiring manufacturers to lower current recommended doses of the popular sleep aid Ambien and its generic versions. The FDA says that zolpidem, the active ingredient in Ambien, can remain in the bloodstream the morning after taking the pills in high enough levels to impair driving.
The FDA’s new research shows that women are at a higher risk than men to be adversely affected. The dose of zolpidem for women should be lowered from 10 mg to 5 mg, the FDA said.
“To decrease the potential risk of impairment with all insomnia drugs, health care professionals should prescribe, and patients should take, the lowest dose capable of treating the patient’s insomnia,” said Dr. Ellis Unger, director of the FDA’s Office of Drug Evaluation in a statement. “Patients who must drive in the morning or perform some other activity requiring full alertness should talk to their health care professional about whether their sleep medicine is appropriate.”
Health care experts say people should be extremely cautious when using any sleep drugs and allow enough time for the effects of the drug to wear off before driving. Those who suffer from insomnia should see their physician who may refer them to a sleep center for evaluation and treatment.
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