Do you take a medication such as Ambien or Restoril to treat sleep difficulties?
If your answer is “yes,” you may be placing yourself and other
motorists at risk. On June 11, 2015,
NBC NEWS reported that certain sleeping pills, such as Ambien, may double a person’s
risk of a car crash – even after the effects of the drug have worn off.
According to researchers, sleeping pills may increase the risk of a crash
as much as
driving under the influence of alcohol.
A recent study looked at the medical and driving records of drivers who
took one of the three popular sleeping pills: Ambien, Restoril, and Desyrel.
The study found that people who were on any of these sleeping aids were
between 25 percent and three times more likely to be involved in an accident
We found that each of the medications were associated with an increased
risk of motor vehicle crashes, said Ryan Hansen of the University of Washington’s
school of pharmacy. The findings were published in the
American Journal of Public Health.
For Ambien Users
Ambien (zolpidem) is a sedative and a hypnotic, which affects chemicals
in the brain that cause insomnia. The makers of Ambien warn that the drug
can impair thinking and reactions.
Users are warned that the drug can make people groggy the morning after
taking the drug, especially if they take the extended release tablet,
or are female.
Users are warned to wait at least 4 hours until they are fully awake before
doing anything that requires them to be alert. If a person woke up at
7:00 a.m., that means they should wait at least until 11 a.m. before driving.
Patients are warned NOT to take Ambien if they have consumed alcohol “during
the day” or just before bed. Ambien is not for people with a history
of drug or alcohol addiction.
In 2013, the FDA told manufacturers of the popular sleeping pills to cut
the recommended dose.
Sleeping Pills Increase Risk of Crash, DUI
The study, led by Hansen, found people who took Restoril were 27 percent
more likely to be involved in a crash. Those who took Desyrel had nearly
double the risk. The highest risk went to Ambien users, who were more
than twice as likely as non-users to be involved in a crash.
These three drugs stay in the blood for a long time, research shows. They
not only increase the risk of a crash, but they increase the risk of a
The medications increase the risk of waking in the middle of the night
and driving without knowing it, and waking up in the morning and being
impaired by the medication as they drive to work.
Were you arrested for a DUI involving sleep medications? If so, don’t
hesitate to contact Orange County DUI Attorney, Virginia L. Landry to
discuss your case for free!