LEGAL GUIDE
Written by Avvo Staff | Jul 21, 2010

Dangerous Drug: Ambien Risks & Lawsuit Information

Ambien, also known as Zolpidem, is used by many people as a sleeping aid. Ambien works by making the consumer feel relaxed, thus causing them to fall asleep. Ambien is classified as a sedative, and can be useful for people who have insomnia. However, there are many adverse effects of Ambien that should be noted.

Adverse Risks of Ambien

Ambien usage has been associated with several adverse risks including:

Dependency: If Ambien is taken for a long time, addiction and dependency may occur. Ambien users have been known to build a tolerance to the drug over time. They will start needing more and more of the drug in order to have the same effects. This is known as building a tolerance. Users may even become dependent on the drug, making it necessary for them to take it in order to sleep. Ambien may also cause the person to have reoccurring insomnia after they stop taking the drug. If one becomes addicted to the drug the appropriate treatment includes reducing the dosage over the course of many months to reduce the chance of them occurring withdrawal symptoms.

Sleepwalking / Half Awake-Half Asleep State: Some users of the drug have even reported increased sleepwalking, as well as doing other tasks while still sleeping such as driving, eating, talking. While taking the drug, it can sometimes be impossible to tell if the person is sleeping or awake. Many are still able to complete tasks just as they would awake, and function accordingly.

Additionally, Ambien may have even led to the 2007 death of an Australian man, in which under the influence of Ambien, he fell thirty feet while sleepwalking. Another case has been reported that a woman was found frozen to death in her yard as a result of sleepwalking after taking Ambien.

Common side effects if taken at the prescribed levels, Ambien has very few associated risks. However the following can occur at any level of consumption:

  • Amnesia
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Increased appetite
  • Impaired judgment and reasoning
  • Continued insomnia after stopping
  • Short term memory loss
  • Altered thought patterns
  • Poor motor coordination

Ambien Claims & Lawsuits

In March 2006, a class-action lawsuit was against the makers of Ambien, Sanofi-Aventis,. The lawsuit was based on the unexplained actions of people taking Ambien and the hypnotic (half asleep, half awake) state that it put them in. The purpose of the lawsuit was to force Ambien to put warning labels and make information available to both patients and doctors over the dangers one could face while taking Ambien. The lawsuit resulted in the 2007 ruling by the Food and Drug Administration that all prescription sleep-aid drugs must have stronger labels warning of the side effects.

Getting Legal Help

If you believe that you or someone you may know has been a victim of the side effects of Ambien, you may consider taking legal action. Many lawyers will offer a free consultation as to whether they will take your case or not. Some key tips when filling a lawsuit include; keep records of doctor visits, what was discussed, dates, times and witnesses. Also include proof that you were prescribed the drug and how much you were prescribed. Document any cases of side effects and the dates and time. Also document when the pill was taken in correlation to the side effect.

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