FDA Issues Warning About Effects Of Sleep Aids
The Food and Drug Administration issued new guidelines regarding many popular sleep aids, like Ambien, that have the active ingredient Zolpidem.
The agency now demands that the recommended dosage from women be reduced by half from 10 milligrams to five milligrams and have recommended to doctors that men have the same cut. According to the latest studies, the drug is metabolized differently in women, which causes the medication to stay longer in their body. This carries an inherent risk of morning drowsiness, which increases their likelihood of injury.
About 40 million Americans use prescription sleep aids on a regular basis.
According to Dr. Carol Ash, Meridian Health’s medical director of Sleep Medicine in New Jersey, said routine activities such as driving to work or using machinery could be impaired in the morning after patients take the pill.
She equated the experience to drinking and driving. Ash said the medicine stays in the system much longer than was previously thought, impairing one’s thinking ability and can impact the brain much like driving while intoxicated.
Ash said people don’t recognize how important sleep is with many folks insisting that sleep is for wimps. For folks who need help getting to and staying asleep, there are alternatives to getting the rest.
She said sleep medications are addicting. Ash said they should only be used for no more than six weeks. If people are still having problems, they should seek a specialist’s help.
Ash said any person who takes sleep aids should look at the alternatives such as sleep hygiene and cognitive behavioral therapy. She noted it would take some time to work but it could be done.
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