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ER Visits Due to Sleep Drugs Rise by Over 200%


In January 2013, the F.D.A. changed dosage requirements for many common sleep pharmaceuticals containing zolpidem, such as Ambien, in many cases cutting dosages as much as in half (you can read more about that here).

Now in May, a new report has come out suggesting that the number of emergency room visits after ingestion of a drug containing zolpidem have risen by almost 220%, from 6,111 in 2005 to 19,487 in 2010. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which authored the report, has not yet released data for 2011 and 2012.

Approximately half of the ER visits involved users taking zolpidem along with another pharmaceutical. This can increase the sedative nature of the drug, and substantially increase the likelihood of health complications.


This sharp increase in the number of ER visits adds to growing concern about the effects of drugs containing zolpidem. Consider suggesting your shiftworkers try several less invasive methods to handle poor sleep related to night shifts, before turning to pharmaceutical sleep aids.

"Although short-term sleeping medications can help patients, it is exceedingly important that they be carefully used and monitored. Physicians and patients need to be aware of the potential adverse reactions associated with any medication, and work closely together to prevent or quickly address any problems that may arise," Pamela S. Hyde, SAMHSA Administrator, said in a statement.

Read the complete report at http://www.samhsa.gov/data/2k13/DAWN079/sr079-Zolpidem.htm

 

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