Dr Oz: Ambien Side Effects
Are you one of the many Americans who has a prescription for the sleeping pill Ambien? Dr Oz had some alarming news for those who take the popular sleep aid. Learn about dangerous Ambien side effects and why the Ambien Defense is becoming more prevalent in modern times.
Dr Oz: Is Ambien Safe?
Though it was initially hailed as a miracle sleep drug with few side effects, over the years we have learned that there was a lot no one seemed to know about Ambien. It has been implicated in stories about sleepwalking, night eating, and even driving while in an unconscious state.
Ambien is believed to be responsible for increased emergency room visits in recent years, with over half the patients being female. Ambien user Amber came on Dr Oz’s show to share her own surprising story.
Dr Oz: Ambien Manufacturer Warning
For about a decade, she used Ambien during travel or to cope with jet lag symptoms, and she never had any side effects that she knew of. But one night after she took Ambien and went to bed, she woke up in the back of a police car.
Amber told Dr Oz that she does not remember much about the night in question, and what she does know about the accident came from the police report, which explained that she drove her car while on Ambien and hit another vehicle.
There is a manufacturer’s warning for Ambien, which Dr Oz shared in part:
May cause serious side effects including: getting out of bed while not being fully awake and doing an activity that you do not know you are doing. Symptoms include more outgoing or aggressive behavior than normal, confusion, agitation, hallucinations….
Dr Oz: Ambien Defense & Zombie State
The so-called Ambien Defense is being used in legal proceedings when people are charged with crimes that were committed under the influence of the drug. Do you think that this is different than when someone is knowingly driving under the influence? Amber is far from the only patient who has had some close calls and real life nightmares while taking the drug.
Dr Oz said that experts think Ambien puts the brain into a “zombie state," with some parts awake and functioning while other parts are completely asleep. These behaviors may seem to be more common in women than men, because male hormones metabolize the drug much more quickly.
Dr Oz: Ambien Dosage for Women
Dr Michael Breus explained that all of us should wake up feeling refreshed within a couple minutes. If you have a fog when you awake, that is a sign you could still be experiencing the drug’s effects, and it may be dangerous for you to drive.
According to Dr Breus, Ambien is safe and works well when taken according to the proper directions. You should not mix alcohol with this medication. Also, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reduced the maximum Ambien dose for women to 5 mg, so be sure you are not taking too much.
When you do take Ambien, make sure to follow your prescription directions, and stay in bed. The effects can last seven to eight hours. Dr Breus told Dr Oz that patients should not rely on the drug for more than three or four weeks, and if you still have trouble sleeping after that period of time, consult a sleep specialist for long-term solutions.