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Sleep Disorders

15 March 2006

Drug linked to sleepwalking

A leading prescription sleep medication may be linked to incidents of sleepwalking and cases of people doing other strange and potentially dangerous things while they're asleep.

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Ambien, a leading prescription sleep medication, may be linked to incidents of sleepwalking and cases of people doing other strange and potentially dangerous things while they're asleep, including eating, talking on the phone, shoplifting, and driving, the Washington Post reports.

When they wake up, people have no memory of doing these activities.

Inconclusive number of reports
There are a growing, though still inconclusive, number of reports that associate Ambien with such incidents, sleep experts and researchers say. A number of cases have been included in articles published in medical journals.

Patient and doctor reports to the US Food and Drug Administration indicate that Ambien is associated with more sleepwalking incidents than all other sleep aids combined, the Post reports.

Mayo Clinic Sleep Disorders Centre researcher Timothy Morgenthaler said he's seen many cases of people sleepwalking and sleep-eating after taking Ambien.

"I feel pretty comfortable that this is a real phenomenon," he told the Post.

Ambien is made by French company Sanofi-Aventis, which issued a statement saying that sleepwalking and related incidents are a known but rare side effect that's fully disclosed on the drug's labelling. – (HealthDayNews)

Read more: Tips to get you sleeping

March 2006

 

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Dr Alison Bentley is a general practitioner who has consulted in sleep medicine and sleep disorders, in both adults and children of all ages, for almost 30 years. She also researches and publishes on a number of sleep-related topics both in formal research journals and lay publications including as editor of Sleep Matters, an educational newsletter on sleep disorders for doctors.

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