FDA: Sleeps Aids and Driving Don’t Mix

by Carmen Dellutri on January 28, 2013

FDA warning sleep aidsAs Fort Myers injury attorneys, we have seen firsthand that prescription drugs can be just as dangerous when it comes to impaired driving. However, they often don’t get the same attention as alcohol or illegal drugs like marijuana.

However, that could be changing. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently announced that it will require a lower recommended dose on several prescription sleep aids containing zolpidem, the main ingredient in Ambien, Ambien CR, Edluar and Zolpimis. It also issued a warning to patients about the risks of driving after taking these drugs.

The FDA action was prompted by new data that shows that remains in the blood for longer than first thought. In fact, zolpidem blood levels in some patients may be high enough the morning after use to impair activities that require alertness, including driving.

“Over the years FDA has received spontaneous adverse event reports of driving impairment and motor vehicle accidents associated with zolpidem, but these reports lacked the information necessary to fully understand whether and how zolpidem affected people’s mental alertness and ability to drive,” Dr. Ellis Unger, a director in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research said in a statement. “Recently, data from clinical trials and other types of studies have become available, which allowed FDA to better characterize the risk of next-morning impairment.”

The FDA also reminded the public that morning impairment is not limited to zolpidem. In addition to prescription sleep aids, other common medicines have also been shown to impair driving. They include:

  • Prescription drugs for anxiety
  • Some antidepressants
  • Products containing codeine
  • Some cold remedies and allergy products
  • Tranquilizers
  • Over the counter sleeping pills; Pain relievers; and
  • Diet pills, "stay awake" drugs, and other medications with stimulants (e.g. caffeine, ephedrine, pseudoephedrine)

The Dellutri Law Group is focused on making bad situations better and putting lives back together. If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Fort Myers accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation.

To learn more about your legal options, contact our experienced Fort Myers injury attorneys for a free consultation.

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