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The dark underbelly of the world’s leading sleep aid

On Behalf of | Dec 5, 2017 | Medication Errors

Since its release into the market over a decade ago, Ambien has become a ubiquitous name in the medical industry. It has been shown to induce sleep in about 20 minutes, and people all over the world have sworn by its efficacy. It has quickly become the number one prescription sleep aid as well as one of the top-selling prescription drugs in the United States—more widely consumed that Percocet or prescription-strength Ibuprofin. Its generic version—Zolpidem—sells for just $2 per pill, making it affordable to most consumers.

If you’re one of the millions of people worldwide who have found a restful night’s sleep with Ambien, the following may be unwelcome news.

Ambien belongs to the hypnotic class of medications, meaning it facilitates sleep by slowing down the brain. Ambien’s warning label includes a laundry list of potential side effects in fine print, ranging from “common” to “extremely rare”. Under this latter category, it warns that this hypnotic class of medications can lead to “strange behavior” and “abnormal thinking”. It warns:

After taking AMBIEN, you may get up out of bed while not being fully awake and do an activity that you do not know you are doing. The next morning, you may not remember that you did anything during the night. […] Reported activities include:

  • Driving a car (“sleep-driving”)
  • Making and eating food
  • Talking on the phone
  • Having sex
  • Sleep-walking

The above “Ambien blackout” effect has led to devastating consequences for many consumers and other innocent victims. There are numerous reports of people who, under the influence of Ambien, unwittingly committed heinous crimes, including:

  • Going on a shooting massacre
  • Sleep driving and killing innocent bystanders
  • Molesting other people

These perpetrators did not act consciously, and they had no memory of the events. When they regained consciousness, they awoke to the reality of a nightmare they had unintentionally caused.

In addition to the horrific actions you could be at risk of taking while under the influence of Ambien, the drug also puts you at risk of victimization. Increasingly, Ambien has been used as a date rape drug, because it removes inhibitions and causes amnesia.


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