Strange Sleep Behavior Blamed on Sleeping Pills

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A number of recent news stories on the side effects of Ambien. I read an article in our metro newspaper, and listened to a women speak on a national news program, about a variety of strange behaviors that were experienced during sleep.

There were even a large percentage of people arrested in the state of Wisconsin for DUI, who it was later detected had no BAL but were instead under the influence of Ambien.

Another one of the frequently reported behaviors is “sleep-eating”. Sleep researchers at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN first reported such cases in 2002.

Recently a physician who specializes in sleep disorders at the Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorders Center in Minneapolis, MN said he and his colleagues have documented 32 cases of sleep-eating in patients taking Ambien.

Sanofi-Aventis, the maker of Ambien say it’s safe when taken as directed. The warning label does caution it might cause sleepwalking and hallucinations.

According to the National Institute of Health, about a third of all adults say they have insomnia at least sometimes. Last year, there were an estimated 26.5 million prescriptions for Ambien sold in the US, making it the leading sleep medication on the market.

Researchers say that Ambien somehow increases the amount of time in the stage of sleep that promotes sleepwalking in people who have no history of it. It seems to me that if assessing a patient with a sleep disorder such as insomnia, it would be wise to caution them about the findings in persons taking Ambien, and also to provide them with some guidance if it is decided to be the drug of choice.

Some of the suggestions I would make would be to:
1.)try non-drug remedies to solve their insomnia before trying a sleeping pill,
2.)take the lowest dose necessary to fall asleep if it is decided a sleeping pill is necessary,
3.) to try putting chimes or some other type of noise maker on their bedroom door (to wake them if up sleepwalking).

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