Taking Ambien Doubles Your Chance You Will Visit An Emergency Room

Insomnia Drug Ambien Linked to Doubling of Emergency Room Visits

New analysis from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) shows that over-medicating with the insomnia drug zolpidem (Ambien, Ambien CR, Intermezzo, Stilnox, Stilnoct, Sublinox, Hypnogen, Zonadin, Sanval and Zolsana) led to a near DOUBLING of emergency department (ED) visits in the United States during the periods 2005-2006 and 2009-2010.    Ambien Kills

The new Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) report from SAMHSA shows that there were 21,824 ED visits in the earlier time range vs 42,274 visits in the latter.

68% of all zolpidem (Ambien, et. al) drug overdose visits in 2010 were from women.

“Sleep aid medications…must be carefully used and monitored,” said SAMSHA administrator Pamela S. Hyde in a release.

“Physicians and patients need to discuss the… adverse reactions associated with any medication and work together to prevent problems or quickly resolve any that may arise,” she added.

In reality, there have been exciting advancements in the treatment of insomnia that doesn’t require taking these deadly drugs.

FDA Warnings About Ambien Family Of Drugs

Zolpidem (Ambien, et. al) is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) only for short-term treatment of insomnia. It is also the active ingredient in several brand name sleep aids, including Ambien (sanofi-aventis), Edluar (Meda Pharmaceuticals, Inc), and Zolpimist (NovaDel Pharma, Inc).

Last year, because of numerous reports of adverse reactions from the ingredient, the FDA required companies manufacturing zolpidem-containing medications to lower the recommended dose by 50% for women. Although not a requirement, it also recommended that the dose be lowered for men.

Plus, “when zolpidem (Ambien, et. al) is combined with other substances, the sedative effects of the drug can become dangerous,” writes SAMHSA in a release.

Another SAMHSA report released last week showed that 96% of emergency room visits in 2011 due to drug-related suicide attempts where in those people between the ages of 45 and 64 years. Of these, 48% involved anti-anxiety and insomnia medications such as Ambien.

There were 4,916,328 drug-related Emergency Room Visits in 2010, of which 20,793 were caused by zolpidem (Ambien, et. al) prescription drug overdose.

A total of 57% of the 2010 zolpidem drug overdose-related visits involved other prescription drugs. Of these, 26% involved benzodiazepines, 25% involved narcotic pain relievers, 19% involved antidepressants, and 14% involved antipsychotics. A total of 14% of these ED visits were from a combination of zolpidem and alcohol.

Of all 2010 medical drug overdose-related visits using zolpidem, 47% resulted in being admitted to a hospital or being transferred to another medical facility. A total of 26% of these resulted in admission to a critical care or intensive care unit.

The age range with the largest proportion of zolpidem-related ED visits in 2010 was between 45 and 54 years (31%). This was followed by those younger than 35 years (23%), those between the ages of 35 and 44 years (21%), those between the ages of 55 and 64 years (14%), and those older than 64 years (11%).

Finally, the number of these types of ED visits increased for men from 6607 in the 2005-2006 date range to 16,523 in 2009-2010 vs an increase for women from 15,216 to 25,749!

Preventing Drug Overdose Because Of Ambien

“Adults of all ages can help prevent prescription drug overdose by closely following the instructions for when and how to take all medications,” the report notes.

“If symptoms persist when the recommended amount of zolpidem is taken, patients should consult their prescribing physician,” they add. Better yet, they should look to natural, drug free cures for their insomnia.

SAMHSA notes that several major efforts are under way to promote prevention of prescription drug–overdose.

These include the organization’s Strategic Prevention Framework Partnerships for Success II and the “Not Worth the Risk – Even If It’s Legal” campaign, jointly created by SAMHSA and the National Council on Patient Information and Education.

“Enhancing drug safety is an important step toward improving public health and reducing health care costs,” writes SAMHSA.

The new DAWN Report is posted on the SAMHSA Web site.