Following concerns that sleeping pills may stay in the bloodstream longer than thought, the FDA has announced that it will require manufacturers of the popular sleeping pill zolpidem – more commonly known by brand names such as Edluar and Ambien – to slash dosage recommendations. The move comes amid new information that the pills may be causing morning drowsiness that can lead to car crashes and other problems. New research suggests that women in particular can process the drug slowly, which can mean that the effects can linger even in the mornings. Other drugs will not be affected.
Under FDA rules, recommended dosages for zolpidem will drop from 10 milligrams to 5 milligrams and will drop to 6.25 milligrams (from a current 12.5 milligrams) for the extended-release products. Last year, a study published in the British Medical Journal determined that up to 500 000 fatalities in the US in 2010 may have been linked to sleeping pill use. The same study concluded that users of sleeping pills increase their risk of early death by fivefold. The FDA has asked for more research from manufacturers of sleeping pills, asking them to complete driver simulations and other research.
Currently, there are no specific studies examining the sleeping aid-related risks of car and truck accidents in Miami and other Florida communities. However, the study published in the British Medical suggests that a number of traffic and car accidents in Miami and other communities may be caused by sleeping pill use and abuse. To reduce the risk of this type of accident, make sure that you:
1) Keep track of any symptoms related to sleep disorders. If you notice snoring, fatigued, disturbed sleep patterns, or other symptoms, speak with your doctor to find a solution. Untreated sleep disorders can cause you to fall asleep at the wheel and can increase your risk of a traffic accident.
2) Consider alternatives to sleeping pills. Work with your doctor to come up with a treatment plan. In some cases, lifestyle changes or even changing your sleeping conditions can help you get a better night of rest.
3) If you do take any sleeping pills, speak with your doctor and pharmacist. Make sure the medications do not interact with other medication you may be taking and heed any warnings on the labels. Take the smallest dose of sleeping pills you need and be especially careful when taking a new type of sleeping pill or changing your dosage – as your body adjusts, you may be more sleepy in the mornings or may be more groggy than usual.
4) Get into the habit of checking your fitness to drive before you get into the car. Whether your drowsiness is caused by sleeping pills, sleep disorders, or another reason, if you feel very fatigued when driving you may cause a traffic accident in Miami or your community. Avoid driving when you feel too tired.
If you have been in a traffic accident in Miami, speak with a personal injury attorney at the Flaxman Law Group to discuss your options and your rights. Your first consultation is free and comes with no obligation.