(WASHINGTON) — The number of patients heading to the emergency room after taking the active ingredient in the sleeping drug Ambien has jumped dramatically, a new report finds.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) says there were 19,487 ER visits in 2010 related to adverse reactions to zolpidem. That’s a near 220 percent increase from the 6,111 visits reported in 2005.
“There are some people who just don’t react well to zolpidem. And some of the common side effects are the next day feeling like they can’t wake up. Maybe they’ve hurt themselves as a result of taking the zolpidem,” explains Dr. Peter Delany, the agency’s director.
He says about two-thirds of the patients who visited the ER were female. “We also found that about one-third of them were 65 or older,” he adds.
Delany says 40 percent of the visits were directly related to the ingredient zolpidem.
“Another 50 percent had taken it in combination with other pharmaceutical such as pain relievers or anti-depressants. Then another 10 percent were there because they had mixed it with alcohol,” he says.
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