FDA Says Sleep Meds Are Dangerously Strong

01/21/2013

Sleeping pills imageThe FDA is changing the doses for Ambien, Ambien CR, Edluar and Zolpimist, as well as generic versions. The fear is that these drugs stay in the body much longer than we initially thought causing impaired driving and an inability to pay attention the next day after taking the drug. 

This isn’t the first time the FDA has looked at these drugs. They have already noticed that they can make people do just about anything while asleep including cook, drive, and even have sex, according to NPR.

This study focused on how long the drugs stay in the body’s system, finding that the length of time is greater for women. The same is true with alcohol; women metabolize alcohol slower than men.

According to NPR:

Regulators are ordering drug manufacturers to cut the dose of the medications in half for women, who process the drug more slowly. Doses will be lowered from 10 milligrams to 5 milligrams for regular products, and 12.5 milligrams to 6.25 milligrams for extended-release formulations.

The FDA is recommending that manufacturers apply these lower doses to men as well, though it is not making them a requirement.

Lunesta and Sonata will be the next drugs to be tested to see if they do are too strong. 

Such sleeping pills have long gotten a bad wrap. One study found that those who take them are four times more likely to die prematurely. The study didn't claim that sleeping pills actually cause death, but rather, they are linked to early death, though they have been proven to cause depression and decreased driving skills.

It's all the more reason to take a closer look at your use of such sleep aids, realizing that these strong medications may have side effects. 

Photo: Thinkstock

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Sara Novak writes about health and wellness for Discovery Health. Her work is also regularly featured in Breathe Magazine and on SereneKitchen.com. She has written extensively on food policy, food politics, and food safety.


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