The Food and Drug Administration has stepped in after reports of vehicle accidents among several drivers who had taken a sleep aid the night before. In a recent announcement, the FDA stated that it will now require pharmaceutical companies to lower the recommended dose of sleep medications, to reduce the risk of drowsiness the next morning.
Users of the popular sleep drugs, Ambien and Ambien CR (the generic form is zolpidem may be waking up with more of the drug still circulating in their bloodstream than drug manufacturers first realized would be possible. The FDA reports users continue to be drowsy and unfit to drive the next day. The drug can still have a measured effect on people as they head off through morning rush hour, placing themselves and others at risk of a drowsy driving accident and a DUI charge, which recently occurred with a female member of the Kennedy family.
DUI attorneys have seen a spike in DUI charges with clients who had taken sleep aids the night before. Even more disturbing is the increase in the number of accidents involving sleep aid after effects. The Food and Drug Administration wants to ensure that people who take these meds do not retain such high quantities of the ingredient in their bloodstream by requiring manufacturers of the medications to reduce the recommended dose.
For women, the FDA wants the dosage cut by 50 percent; from 10 mg to 5 mg. The dosage for extended release drugs should be reduced from 12.5 mg to 6.25 mg.
The Food and Drug Administration has not made any specifications in the case of men, but has said that manufacturers need to make similar cuts. The Food and Drug Administration is also requiring that these manufacturers make very clear the numerous side effects of using these medications in their product warning labels.