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The Danger of Sleep Medication and Driving

According to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of every 24 adults has fallen asleep while driving. Some experts contend that the number is even higher because people often don’t realize when they nod off at the wheel for just a couple of seconds.

One startling cause of falling asleep at the wheel is the use of sleep medication at bedtime the night before the incident. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently called for lower bedtime doses of certain popular sleep medications. The FDA contends that the new dosage recommendations will help prevent drowsiness for drivers driving the next morning.

The FDA has received 700 reports of impaired ability and traffic accidents that they believe were caused by the effects of sleeping pills like Ambien and other forms of Zolpidem, the active ingredient in sleeping pills.

The FDA made the following recommendations:

  • Dosage should be cut in half ― from 10 mg to 5 mg for immediate release pills and from 12.5 mg to 6.25 mg in extended release pills.
  • Women are most at risk due to their typically lower body weight, so women should consider cutting the dosage even more.
  • Doctors should prescribe the lowest possible dose capable of treating the patient’s insomnia, and that is the dosage the patient should take.

If you are taking sleep medication, be sure to follow the FDA’s new recommendations to ensure safety behind the wheel.  However, if you’ve been injured in a car crash, caused by sleep medication or otherwise, reach out to an attorney to discuss your accident and see if you have a lawsuit.

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