Here’s some medical information that definitely won’t terrify you:
The feds issued an Ambien alert Thursday, warning millions of sleep-deprived people across the country that the popular sleep aid leaves women too drowsy to drive in the mornings.
The Food and Drug Administration is requiring doctors to cut in half doses of Ambien and similar sleeping pills containing the active ingredient zolpidem.
The new requirements also pertain to Edluar, Zolpimist and Ambien CR.
“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,” said Dr. Ellis Unger, a director in FDA’s Office of Drug Evaluation.
But this doesn’t affect many of us, right? You’re careful about the kind of Ambien you take. You wouldn’t behave irresponsibly when it comes to frequently-prescribed sleep aids. Not you. You’re so busy! And you have so much…trouble sleeping…
An estimated 60 million prescriptions of sleeping pills were written in 2011 in the U.S., according to the health care and technology company I.M.S. About 40 million of those sleep aids contained zolpidem.
Oh. Ah. But we’re – we’re being careful about it, aren’t we? Women are more careful than men about this kind of thing, aren’t we?
Unger said the FDA has received a startling number of reports of car crashes and “sleep driving” linked to zolpidem over the years.
He said the drug appears to stay in the bloodstream of women longer than it does in men.
Laboratory tests showed that eight hours after taking medication containing zolpidem, 10% to 15% of women had enough of the drug in the blood to impair driving. Only 3% of men had driving-impaired levels in their systems after a night’s sleep, research showed.
Good luck out there, everyone!
[Image via Wikimedia Commons]