The popular sleeping pill zolpidem was first approved by FDA in 1992 under the brand name Ambien. Last year nearly 40 million prescriptions for this medication were dispensed.
Last week, the FDA announced a change in dose for women. Instead of the usual 10 mg dose, women are instructed to stick to 5 mg of the instant release forms of zolpidem. The FDA has also suggested that women taking the slow release formulation of zolpidem (Ambien CR) not exceed a dose of 6.25 mg.
The reason for this change is a recognition that many women end up with higher blood levels that persist longer in the body. The agency has received more than 700 reports of “impaired ability and/or road traffic accidents” associated with zolpidem. The morning hangover effect may impact judgment and reaction times. Some men may also do better on the lower dose of this medication.
You can read some scary stories from readers about their experiences sleep-driving while taking this drug.