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Adventures in Sleep

Can Ambien Be Linked to Murder?

Published May 8, 2014 9:42 AM by Penny Mehaffey

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?

 

 

1 comments

I have chronic insomnia. I know it is Taboo to state that but it shouldn't be. I was at one time given Ambien to help. I took it 1 night and ended up in the Emergency Room. My legs would not stop moving. I couldn't sleep, I couldn't get comfortable and was driving my husband crazy that night, due to the restlessness. The only thing I felt the need to do was walk, walk, and walk some more. I circled my cul de sac from 2200-0300, because I didn't know what else to do. It was so bad that I wanted to commit suicide. That is also Taboo to say, but it happened. I had my husband take me to the Emergency Room, where they made me aware of the possible side effects (and the list is extensive), and that I was having an adverse reaction. It only took one time of taking it to know it wasn't for me. I now list it on my "Allergies" to prevent another episode. I will never forget the feelings I had that night, and never want to feel that way again. Do we ever feel that the "Warnings" are for us? Or do we always think that is what happens to other people. I am now one of those "other people".

Angie May 13, 2014 5:16 PM
CA

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    Adventures in Sleep
    Occupation: Sleep technicians
    Setting: Various sleep facilities
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