RENO, NV - The Food and Drug Administration is requiring the manufacturer of Ambien to reduce dosage levels for women. The change is based on studies that suggest patients taking the medication face a higher risk of injury because of morning drowsiness. Experts say women are most at risk because the drug metabolizes slowly. They may wake up in the morning feeling alert, but in fact the drug is still active. That puts them at risk for drowsy driving or other dangerous accidents.
Larry Pinson with the Nevada Board of Pharmacy says if you currently have a prescription, don't throw it out. He says it's unlikely the actual pills will change, but your doctor may instruct you to take fewer of them. "The real take home message of all of this is that if you are on any sort of sleeping medication, you should be taking the lowest dose that you possible can," says Pinson. He adds that the "CR" or Controlled Release version of the drugs tend to reate the most problems with morning drowsiness because they're designed to stay in your blood system longer.
The FDA is recommending lower dosing levels for all insomnia drugs containing Zolpidem, which includes the brands Ambien Edular and Zolpimist.