View Full Version : Zolpidem Linked to Sharp Increase in ED Visits

Mon 6th May '13, 12:36pm
Emergency department (ED) visits for adverse reactions related to the sleep drug zolpidem increased by almost 220% in a recent 5-year period, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Women and the elderly appear to be most prone to adverse reactions linked to zolpidem, a widely prescribed medication approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for short-term treatment of insomnia. Zolpidem is the active ingredient in Ambien, Ambien CR, Edluar, and Zolpimist.

The information was contained in a report from the SAMHSA's Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), a public health surveillance system that monitors drug-related ED visits across the United States.

"It's really important that doctors query their patients about what other medications they're on," said Peter Delany, PhD, director, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, SAMHSA. "I don't want to tell doctors not to prescribe this drug, but they should also look at alternative strategies for treating insomnia such as sleep hygiene," which can include avoiding caffeine, exercising regularly, and sleeping in quiet darkened surroundings.

As well, doctors should work with their patients to ensure that all prescribing goes through 1 pharmacy. That way, pharmacists can act as a "second level" to flag potential drug interactions, said Dr. Delany.

According to the report, in 2010 there were 64,175 ED visits involving zolpidem, about 30% of which were attributed to adverse reactions. The number of these visits increased nearly 220%, from 6111 in 2005 to 19,487 in 2010.

For the full article please read at http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/803495?src=smo_neuro