The Food and Drug Administration announced today that it was requesting drug companies to include new warnings on some sleeping pill bottles about “complex sleep-related behaviors, which may include sleep-driving. Sleep driving is defined as driving while not fully awake after ingestion of a sedative-hypnotic product, with no memory of the event.” (FDA press release here.)

You may have noticed the recent advertising blitz trumpeting the various benefits of certain sleeping pills, all to help you induce or maintain a good night’s sleep.

You probably also remember last year’s news about Congressman Patrick Kennedy’s low speed car accident, where he claimed…

…that he was apparently disoriented at the time of the crash after taking the prescribed amounts of a sleep aid and an anti-nausea drug.

"I am deeply concerned about my reaction to the medication and my lack of knowledge of the accident that evening." he said.

As Anderson Cooper on CNN noted the next day:

Some people are probably skeptical that a popular drug like Ambien can trigger the kind of behavior attributed to Patrick Kennedy.

What behavior was that?

The report said when the officer approached Kennedy he noticed his "eyes were red and watery, speech was slightly slurred, and upon exiting his vehicle, his balance was unsure."

Those are the classic signs of DWI, found in almost every police report.

And now we find out that it’s not just anecdotal. There is so much scientific evidence now that this can and actually does happen that the FDA wants drug manufacturers to provide warnings for consumers to that effect. 

The drugs include Ambien, Halcion, Lunestra, Seconal and Sonata as well as the lesser known Butisol Sodium, Carbrital , Dalmane, Doral, Placidyl, Prosom, Restoril, and Rozerem.

  • Rob LaPlante

    Yet another reason why diet and exercise improvements should be made before taking sleeping pills.

  • TM

    I was involved in three car crashes that I believe was do to me being on the drug ambien on all three occasions. I did not realize this until after this last accident Jan. 2008 liking the two together. I have lost a tremendous amount do to the drug in my life and I am looking for a lawyer to consult with.



  • Corin

    I ordered ambien in for my insomia and it really worked for me.

  • Rampec18

    me too Corin i purchased my ambien at http://www.medsheaven too.and im happy with their service.

  • Carol

    In 2005-2006 I obtained 4 dui’s on Ambien. This all ended in a dui accident in which I am thankful today to have lived through, despite a crushed leg, broken jaw, and respiratory arrest. To me Ambien is the devil incarnate. It robbed me and my children of a peaceful life. My daughter will always remember me showing up in her room to tuck her goodnight and then subsequently passing out after taking Ambien. I will not rest until it is taken off of the market. I predict something very bad is going to happen and this will occur.

  • Pam Smity

    I also was a victim of Ambien and got a DUI which am waiting to go to court. This is a tragic situation and I was scepticasl about the side effects. Unless it happens to you are you convinced that such things happen.

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    Mike Kay

  • Susan Cox

    Help… I took ambien the night before last and got into a serious single car accident. I have absolutely no memory and will probably get a DUI for it. How can this be my fault I had no idea this would happen. Who knows what I did after I took the stuff I have NO idea.

  • Belinda

    I was very lucky because I obviously drove on Ambien too. I took my Ambien at midnight and went right to bed. I then woke up to the police knocking on my door telling me that my car was in the alley with the door wide open and my purse was in it and that it had front damage. My first thought was who the hell took my car, but my car was in the locked garage.

    I have been on regular Ambien for a long time, but that was the first night I started on Ambien CR. I am grateful I didn’t hurt anyone, and on the flip side I’m just glad my life was not ruined by a cop stopping me behind the wheel. I am not sure they can give me a DUI by how things look, but they certainly didn’t treat me nicely.

    I must have looked like a complete idiot to them. Standing there acting like my car was stolen. I don’t know… I knew of the drug warning, but due to the fact that i had already been on the short acting form, I didn’t even consider that the Controlled Release was even going to be a problem. I reported this event to my doctor, and my pharmacist and it’s now listed as a drug allergy. I never want that medication again… PERIOD. I reported the issue on the FDA website too.