Zolpidem in Ambien Linked to Rise in ER Visits

From 2005 to 2010, the number of emergency room visits tripled for individuals on a popular sleep medication. Recent figures released by the government show an increase of emergency room visits for individuals who took zolpidem, the active ingredient for the drug Ambien.

Zolpidem Involved in More Hospital Visits

The recent data was released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in 2005, found6,111 emergency room trips linked to Ambien usage.By 2010, this number increased to 19,500.

Since the discovery, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a recommendation that sleep aid manufacturers cut the dosages of products containing zolpidem. Although the new recommendation was released for both genders, the FDA found the side effects for women to be particularly disconcerting. In the last few years, women who use zolpidem have had substantially increasing rates of adverse reactions.

Other Drugs?

The SAMHSA looked closer at the report to figure out what was causing the rise in emergency room visits. They found that roughly 50% of the trips to the hospital involved zolpidem as well as another drug. In an effort to warn users, the agency issued a warning. Anti-anxiety medications and pain relievers have been shown to enhance the effects of Ambien. When taken in conjunction, Ambien becomes a dangerously stronger sedative.

Short-term sleeping medications can be valuable sources of relief for patients. Individuals who suffer from insomnia or other sleep disorders can alleviate their condition through the use of drugs containing zolpidem.. The administrator of the SAMHSA, Pamela S. Hyde, further stated that all sleeping medications should be carefully used and monitored. The recent studies indicate the issues and adverse reactions that develop are when multiple medications are used with each other.

Sources:
http://thehill.com/blogs/healthwatch/medical-devices-and-prescription-drug-policy-/297213-report-finds-spike-in-er-visits-tied-to-sleep-med
http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2013/05/01/health-sleep-medications-linked-to-rise-in-emergency-room-visits/
http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/news/20130501/er-visits-tied-to-ambien-on-the-rise