Can Ambien Be Linked to Murder?
I read with some horror an article, Murder: Another Ambien Side Effect?, by John Gever in MedPage Today.
Oh my goodness. I was aware of the bizarre behaviors reported with Ambien use: cooking while sleeping, having sex and not remembering... and driving while asleep. Still, I must admit this article shocked me.
It also generated a lot of questions, like: Isn't Ambien supposed to be a short-term drug, meaning you take it for a couple of weeks and then investigate other treatments? Aren't Ambien users supposed to be followed closely by medical professionals? If you take a medication differently than how it was prescribed, aren't you asking for trouble?
And given all the press surrounding Ambien since it hit the market in the 1990s, shouldn't we be better at eliminating those who are not good candidates for this drug?
I have spoken with people who self-report they have been taking Ambien "for years." They usually don't report any strange behaviors though, they probably save those for the MD or may not be aware of any. I believe the drug and many drugs can cause us to do and say things we normally would not. Yet I have a hard time leaping to the conclusion that certain actions (murder, automobile accidents, violence) are not one's fault because of it. And even if you know you are taking a drug that can potentially cause you to drive while asleep, what are you to do? Would placing the car keys in a hard to get to place be enough to prevent a sleeper from driving?
This was a very interesting article; it also offered CME credit. Take a look, it's a quick read and I would be interested to hear your opinion. Has anyone had any experience with Ambien either personally or through patients, family or friends?