The sedative-hypnotic sleep aid Ambien, also known as Zolpidem tartrate, has enjoyed a recent rise in popularity as a result of a well-publicized advertising campaign from the drug’s manufacturer, Sanofi-Aventis. Ambien has been on the United States market for nearly two decades, first being introduced in 1993. While many people suffering from insomnia and other sleep disorders enjoy the benefits of Ambien, many others are experiencing increases in dangerous and sometimes deadly side effects that can accompany the prescription drug. Ambien has been associated with the following serious side effects:
While all of these side effects can cause major problems, perhaps the most alarming side effect of Ambien is parasomnia. Parasomnia occurs when a person is semi-consciousness and performs waking activities while being in a semi-conscious state. Sleepwalking is the most common type of parasomnia, although people may perform other activities while suffering from parasomnia, which can range from eating to driving to having sex.
Ambien doesn’t just increase parasomnia on the road: other Ambien users report binge eating, eating dangerous substances, cooking and having sex — all while asleep. People in a parasomniac state may seem oblivious to other people, may drive on the wrong side of the street or may run into large, immobile objects. They have often been described as “Ambien zombies” due to their inability to acknowledge their actions or the presence of other people.
Medical professionals have noted that the best way to deal with a sleepwalker or someone suffering from parasomnia is to try to carefully guide them to safety. Doctors recommend not attempting to wake the person, because it is typically very difficult to wake someone up from a parasomniac state, as well as dangerous as they can easily become agitated or bewildered.
Sanofi-Aventis has been the target of several recent lawsuits that alleged the company failed to properly inform patients of the potentially hazardous side effects of Ambien. Those who feel they have been wrongly affected by Ambien may be entitled to compensation for damages incurred. Individuals and their families are encouraged to contact an attorney experienced in pharmaceutical litigation in order to determine if they are eligible to file a legal claim against Sanofi-Aventis.